Notes: As long as catastrophic engine failure at under 60,000 miles is the top owner complaint, it'll be pretty hard to recommend the 2012 Sorento.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,401 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Kia Sorento drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #30

Dec 302016


  • 95,000 miles


I noticed that upon starting, my Kia let out blue smoke. I saw no warning lights, no oil on the ground, no indication of a serious problem other than the smoke. I have a little over 95,000 miles on the car and a 100,000 mile warranty I made an appointment to service the car and have it looked at. Everything was running fine and driving fine. Three days later, the check engine light came on. No other indicators were present. I drove the car a short distance and it seized up while I was traveling at about 45 mph. I changed the oil on a regular basis & did the normal service work. The car was towed to the dealer. The dealer inspected the car and said it needed a new engine and rear end. The rear end would be covered under warranty but the engine would not. I did not have my receipts for oil changes. I am trying to get Kia to honor the warranty. They will cover the rear end but not the engine at this point.

- Sugar Grove, IL, USA

problem #29

Mar 092013


  • 6,000 miles
The vehicle grossly lost power and came to a near stop which almost caused collision with vehicles traveling at speed limit behind me. While traveling normally at the posted 55 mph speed the vehicle slowed immediately to nearly moving. This happened multiple times which I reported to the Kia dealer each time. The dealer did not correctly diagnose the problem until after the third report.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #28

May 132016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that there was a random progressing failure in which the vehicle randomly stalled. The vehicle would not restart and was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the PCM may need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that there was no manufacturer recall repair. The contact was advised to take the vehicle to the dealer for diagnostic testing and repair. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V626000 (power train). The vehicle was unable to be safely driven. The failure mileage was not available. Parts distribution disconnect.

- North Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #27

Aug 232015


  • 26,000 miles


On August 23, 2015, a 2012 Kia Sorento was parked on the side of the highway and stationary after being involved in a minor accident. Without the driver's knowledge and without the driver taking any intentional action, the vehicle shifted out of park and into nuetral or reverse, causing the vehicle to move backwards. As it moved backwards, it knocked over and dragged the owner of the vehicle, who at the time was standing next to the vehicle. The vehicle then struck a person standing behind the vehicle, pinning that person between the vehicle and another vehicle, resulting in serious injuries. The cause of this incident appears to be related to NHTSA recall number 15V626 for 2011-2013 Kia Sorento vehicles involving widespread failure of the brake-shift interlock mechanism.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #26

Dec 012015


  • miles
Letter from senator fischer on behalf of constituent asking for assistance with his 2012 Kia sorrento recall issues and class action settlement as described in the attached email; attn: Brandi mccaslin direct respond to constituent services. The consumer stated the nearest dealer was three hours away. The consumer requested compensation for time and fuel expenses to get to the dealer. Recall # 15V626000.

- Culbertson, NE, USA

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problem #25

Dec 062015


  • 106,927 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while exiting the vehicle, the vehicle rolled away independently causing the vehicle to crash into a front gate. The contact entered the vehicle and depressed the brake pedal to stop the vehicle from continuing to accelerate. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact sustained leg and knee injuries that needed medical attention. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V626000 (power train). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure was 106,927.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #24

Oct 052015


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. The contact stated when driving at various speeds, the vehicle jerked. The failure occurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. The VIN was not available...updated 02/01/16

- Riviera Beach, FL, USA

problem #23

Nov 072014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
Vehicle began leaking oil, oil light came on. Refilled with oil to try and find the leak without success. Mechanic found a bad oil pressure switch. The oil pooled up in a valley in the engine. This valley had a manufactured hole in the top of it and that's were the oil was dumping out onto the ground. Made it appear that it was a rear main seal leak.

- Salisbury, VT, USA

problem #22

Aug 032014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
My 10-year old son, without my knowledge, was playing in our 2012 Kia Sorento one Sunday afternoon. It's the pushbutton start type and he didn't have the key fob. That was in the house. Regardless, without the car started and without his foot on the brake, he was able to shift the vehicle out of park and into neutral. Because the Sorento was parked on an incline, it began to coast backward down the driveway. Our son tried to put the SUV back into park. Because it was moving, he was unable to do this. So, in a panic, he jumped out of the truck and tried to stop it by getting behind it and trying to slow it down. He was unsuccessful and ended up being crushed between the Sorento and a tree in the yard. This resulted in a huge laceration in his knee, serious bruising to his lungs, 4 cracked ribs and a cracked pelvis. He spent nearly 3 weeks in the hospital including 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit at children"S hospital. After the incident, I tried to recreate what happened. I was able to shift in and out of park without much force at all. This is without a key fob in the car, without the car being on, without my foot on the brake, and with the driver"S side door open. Our son was very seriously injured, but this could have been much worse.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #21

Nov 222012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 850 miles
While in regular traffic when gas is applied, car will start to move forward then act as though the motor had been turned off. If you add more pressure to gas pedal nothing happens, than all of a sudden the car will lurch forward at a high rate of speed as if you had pushed the gas pedal to the floor. This condition has happened as least 40 or more times in 14K miles. This condition happened at least 6 times while on vacation in nv. While making a right turn from a dead stop, the car lurched forward, almost causing me to have a head-on collusion with another driver. I reported this condition to Kia when it first happened during service, and they said they could find nothing wrong. The last time I reported it when car was in for service, Kia, kept my car. That was about three weeks ago and since then I have had two calls from the Kia factory, telling me they were looking into this issue and if I have any questions I was to give them a call. The phone number I was given was 1-800-333-4542 ext. [xxx] and my case # is [xxx]. as today Aug 4, 2014, Kia still has my Sorento and I'm driving their loaner car. " also" my wife will not drive our car until this problem is corrected in fear it might happen to her. She was a passenger in a bad rollover accident and has become fearful of any condition that's out of the ordinary with a car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Harker Heights, TX, USA

problem #20

Jul 142014


  • 31,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle independently shifted into park. The contact also mentioned that excessive force was applied to the brake pedal in order for the vehicle to shift into park on several occasions. Additionally, while exiting, the vehicle attempted to roll away and the brake pedal was applied. The failure recurred intermittently. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 31,000.

- Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #19

Jun 302014

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 41,578 miles
For several weeks a noticeable clunk in rear axle. Obvious at initial start and upon deceleration from speeds above 30. When decelerating right at 30mph a click and clunk occur. Took it in to dealership in bradenton, Florida, sunset Kia. They kept vehicle overnight. I explained the problem was not normal and had only recently begun but was concerned since a mechanic friend thought it involved rear axle. I informed the Kia service rep that a long trip through dangerous western us mountains was to begin soon and it must be safe. That day they called and said they did test drive comparing it with another car test driven and both did same thing. They concluded the car was "operating as designed." The next day when I picked it up and stressed this was not "as designed" because it just began to act up I was told that the tech found "subtle movement of either trans mounts or drive axles." This was also noted on my receipt from Kia. My god they admitted the problem then would not repair it! when pressed as to the safety of this condition I was informed by dustin hoffman "well the axle could freeze up but just pull over." I pressed "how can you do that safely on a highway doing 70?" unbelievable!!! when pressed about how they could let me, given my stated plans, leave in a potentially catastrophic accident waiting to happen the reply was simply "the tech found it to be operating as designed." I noted my objections on their bill and my copy. I also noted the tech only drove the vehicle.02 tenths of a mile according to the trip odo. The only thing they finally said was "the tech started a service line." Whatever that is.

- Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #18

Jan 152014


  • 15,000 miles
My Kia Sorento stalled in the middle of road while crossing a stop sign. The engine shutoff and all the lights on the panel lighted on. This has now happened three times. Last two times we went to the dealer and they said they could not find anything wrong. There are not error codes saved in Kia so they don't have a proof that this condition happened. This is very serious. We were lucky that this happened on the neighborhood streets with no traffic. I was able to start the car back by putting it in parking brake and pressing the start button again. I have seen several other posts with the similar problem. I hope this is thoroughly investigated as dealership is not ready to acknowledge or try to even re-create the problem.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 252014


  • 41,500 miles
My 2012 Kia Sorento completely stalled in a parking lot. I had just gotten off the highway(speeds of 55-60) pulled into my jobs parking lot and all the lights electronics stayed on but the brakes locked up, the steering wheel locked up and the car would not drive. Put the car in park after a few minutes and it turned on fine. Now its at the dealer and they can not duplicate the problem and the car is driving fine. They claim no codes on diagnostics and see nothing wrong with the car after test driving it. There were no repairs done on the car because nothing could be found. This is a major issue and a worrisome one. Lets get on Kia about this to solve the issue.

- West New York, NJ, USA

problem #16

Sep 222013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
Follow-up: NHTSA id number: 10544920 after a single conversation with Kia Consumer Affairs, I was told to immediately contact a dealer for diagnostic. I chose a new "closer" dealership that where I purchased the vehicle. Stated I had a Kia case #, I arrived and in a little over an hour, my vehicle was repaired, that is great job on the technicians part, but there was no discussion about whether this is a chronic issue or not and no discussion other than, the "pin which holds the vehicle in park was broken". some background: I purchased the vehicle July of 2011, had the first shifter assembly replaced due to "broken part" in March of 2012, now in Sept of 2013, I had the shifter assembly replaced again. Before leaving the parking lot, I called Kia Consumer Affairs again and was told that I needed to speak to the next level up Kia consumer rep, but what I wanted was to make sure my vehicle was safe to drive off the lot (my children refuse to get in the vehicle fearing for their safety). That evening I received a call and the gentleman was nice and apologetic, but not helpful and now my case is resolved. I mentioned the multiple shifter assembly replacements and if there is a chronic problem and was told I would receive a follow-up call, but never did. Seems like a chronic issue that Kia needs to resolve or someone will seriously get injured if not already. So far, it might be easy to determine, but I am not even 30% satisfied with this vehicle and it will be the last Kia I ever purchase and it is safe to say that I do not recommend the brand to anyone either. I feel fortunate to be able to drive a newer vehicle with a warranty, but if I had the option to get rid of it, I would today. So far over the 2 years I have owned this vehicle, I have had it to a dealership for at least 6 different non-recalled issues and have lost over 4 days worth of pay...frustrating!

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #15

Sep 222013


  • 27,000 miles
Problem: 7 year old was able to pull console shift lever on automatic transmission without keyless ignition out of park and into neutral and/or reverse (we didn't try pulling further down the shift column) without the key in the ignition/vehicle turned on. The vehicle rolled out of our slightly inclined driveway, across the street and stopped resting against the curb on the other side of the road (despite my best efforts to stop the heavy vehicle and later to find out that the parking brake was about half way depressed, by my 7 year old since that was as far as she could push it). This incident occurred after returning from grocery shopping and the tailgate was open all the way with my 5 year old in the rear cargo area "helping" us with the groceries. Luckily no body was injured and neighbors helped stop traffic as I frantically tried to get my vehicle to stop and my children to safety. I understand that I should have engaged the emergency parking brake and children should not play in the driver's seat of a vehicle, but this incident has been reported by others (after searching this website) and no matter what an automatic transmission vehicle should not disengage from park, no matter how hard one pulls on the shift lever without the vehicle turned on; a safety measure since at least 1994 when I first started driving. I should also note, that when the brake is applied while the vehicle is in motion there is a clicking noise that comes from the area of the shifter on the console, which was repaired about a year ago under warranty. I inquired at that time exactly what the issue was, but did not receive an answer from the dealership's service center, only I noticed that the issue was no longer there. Now the issue had reappeared before this incident and I have not had the time to have it fixed again, but was assured the broken part did not affect safety, maybe.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #14

Jan 162013


  • miles
I am beyond disappointed in my 2012 Kia Sorento. It all started when my Sorento began to vibrate when traveling at interstate speed, then it just led to more complex problems. I can be driving down the interstate at normal interstate speed of 70 or going 50 and it will go crazy making unusual sounds and all the lights start going crazy. Then the whole vehicle shuts off. This is very concerning since I have a 2 year old and 1 year old in my back seat and it always seems to happen when I am in a high traffic area. I purchased the Sorento because it is suppose to be considered a family vehicle. That's isn't it. I can be traveling in town or where ever and when at a yield entrance way I can pull into the main road and what do you know. The Sorento stalls out. It doesn't want to increase speed. This same thing also happens while I am speeding up as well. It gets up to 5rpm before changing gears. I can't let off or I will get rear ended. My Sorento also has a horrible pull to the right. I have put new tires, had numerous alignments and all. Nothing helps it. It has never been in any accident whatsoever, but if these problems keep up there seems to be one in the near future. I have also took it to several dealerships to get the other issues checked out but I get the same response. "they never can figure anything out" I have got several other people to drive it as well just to be sure it wasn't the way I drove. I am to the point where I am terrified to drive it and especially allow my children to ride in it. I'm sure all of us with the similar issues are not imaging things. I am so frustrated and to the point I want to consider a lawsuit because I really don't want a fatal wreck resulted from these malfunctions to finally make someone do something about these issues. Not my family, your family, or anyone else's. please help us! our lives and our children's lives are at risk!

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #13

Dec 132012


  • 8,244 miles
When I am slowing down to around 20 mph, the car completely shuts down. No power, at all.

- Monterey Park, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 222013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
My 6 year old child got into the vehicle to get a drink. She hit the gear shift and it went from park to gear and rolled down the hill until coming to a stop by hitting a tree. My neighbor tried to stop the car from rolling but he could not get the door open because it locked. My child was in the passenger side of the car and the keys were not in the ignition. Kia service manager told me that the car should not go out of park unless the keys are in the ignition and the brake is pushed.

- Falls Of Rough, KY, USA

problem #11

Feb 052013


  • 20,000 miles
My wife parked car in driveway and open garage door to take trash out to curb. She left the car idling and in park. My driveway has slight incline. It took her about 3 to 5 minutes to bring trash to curb. While approaching the Kia Sorento she noticed it started rolling down the driveway. Panicking she tried to reach in and kill the engine. She was hit by door and knocked her onto the drivers floor with her feet outside the car. She tried pressing the brake pedal with no luck slowing down the car. As she got to the end of the driveway the cars speed had increased enough where she couldn't hold on any longer. She was thrown from the car into the street. Take one step back now. When she pulled into the driveway she put the car in park allowing her to get out of the car. When I got there afterwards no one had touched the car yet and the car was in neutral. The Sorento had to slip out of park and into neutral. Reasoning is because 1) if left in any gear other than park door wouldn't of unlocked. 2) if left in gear the car wouldn't of stayed in one place in the driveway hill for 3 to 5 minutes before staring to roll. Trying to see if anyone else has had their Kia Sorento slip from park into neutral! please let me know if you have.

- West Springfield, MA, USA

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