Kia Sorento Years To Avoid (4 Common Problems)

Kia Sorento is a powerful midsize SUV with space for 5 or 7 passengers. It is a stylish, luxury SUV equipped with several impressive in-car techs, including exclusive Kia auto technologies. Cruising in a Kia Sorento feels so cool and good; the SUV offers ample space and is highly reliable.

But then, not all Sorentos are built equally, and as such, we have created this article to explain the Kia Sorento years to avoid and why you should do so.

Yes, some Kia Sorento models are very problematic, and the repair cost for the commonly-reported problems is on top of the mountain.

Let’s quickly look at these problematic Kia Sorento years and why you should avoid them!

Kia Sorento Overview

The Kia Sorento falls into two car categories: Compact SUV (for the 2002 – 2009 model years) and midsize SUV (for the 2009 – to date model years). It is a 5-door SUV; however, some models are built to offer ample space for up to 7 seaters, which means that some Kia Sorento models have a third-row seat.

There are currently four generations of the Kia Sorento. Over the years, Kia Sorentos have managed to rank on top – on various auto reviews and ranking platforms. Well, this is not something to be totally surprised about because the Kia Sorento is really an excellent SUV ride.

If you’re buying your Kia Sorento brand new, there are multiple gasoline and diesel engine options to choose from; your preferred engine would be paired with any of these transmission systems: 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, and 6-speed automatic.

See Also: Hyundai Tucson Years To Avoid

Kia Sorento Years To Avoid and Why

Although the Kia Sorento ride is, overall, rated as a “Good” midsize/compact SUV, some models years of the SUV are really bad – so bad that you should avoid them like a plague.

A seemingly high number of complaints were recorded for Kia Sorento, for most models made between 2003 – 2019; basically models made in the first to third generations of the SUV.

But well, the fault/problems were not identified for some specific model years; hereunder are the exact “worst” model years of the Kia Sorento SUV.

  • 2003 Kia Sorento
  • 2004 Kia Sorento
  • 2006 Kia Sorento
  • 2011 Kia Sorento
  • 2012 Kia Sorento
  • 2013 Kia Sorento
  • 2014 Kia Sorento
  • 2015 Kia Sorento
  • 2016 Kia Sorento
  • 2017 Kia Sorento

The most common problems pointed out by people who own/drive Kia Sorento models made in the years above include Catastrophic engine failure, door problems, body paint/panel problems, and electrical faults.

Common Problems With Kia Sorento Worst Model Years

1. Complete Engine Failure

A considerable number of complaints were recorded for the 2011 thru 2016 Kia Sorento models as regards the engine.

The complaints hinted at the following engine problems: blown motor, engine stalls when driving, the engine shutting down unprecedented, overheating, and excessive oil consumption.

These reported engine problems typically occur before 100k miles, precisely around 75k – 85k miles. The average cost of fixing a failed Kia Sorento engine is $5,500. Fatal engine failures were reported mostly for 2016, 2015, and 2012 model years; you should avoid these years the most.

2. Exterior Accessories Problems

Reported mainly on the 2011 Kia Sorento model is a situation whereby the doors won’t open from outside. Also, some owners of the 2011 model allege that the door handles are fragile and fall away.

Well, while this problem was reported mainly for the 2011 model, some other model years had the issue, and it costs an average of $400 to fix things up. Mainly, the fix here is to replace the door handle(s) and/or the latches.

3. Body Paint Issues

Paint problems were reported for the 2014 and 2011 model years. Although the severity was low, it is worth drawing your attention to this fault on most 2011 and 2014 Kia Sorento models. Getting paint problems fixed on a Kia Sorento costs an average of $700.

4. Electrical Problems

For some Kia Sorento models made between 2011 and 2016, the owners have alleged that the battery dies off while sitting for a few days in the garage, and the alarm sound would just blow for no reason.

However, for some of the owners, a simple diagnosis and battery replacement fixed the issue.

What Are The Best Model Years of Kia Sorento?

Okay, we’ve discussed the common problems you may face with Kia Sorento’s worst years. Now, here are the best model years you can buy with confidence.

Also, these model years are very much reliable and can last well over 200k miles with proper maintenance.

  • 2005 Kia Sorento
  • 2006 Kia Sorento
  • 2007 Kia Sorento
  • 2008 Kia Sorento
  • 2009 Kia Sorento
  • 2010 Kia Sorento
  • 2018 Kia Sorento
  • 2019 Kia Sorento
  • 2020 Kia Sorento
  • 2021 Kia Sorento
  • 2022 Kia Sorento

However, because these are identified as the “Best” years doesn’t mean they don’t give problems – it’s just that you can cope with the issues, and they’re avoidable if you stick with routine checkups/tuneups and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Life Expectancy Of a Kia Sorento?

A well-maintained Kia Sorento can last up to 200,000 miles before showing signs of major failures that could lead to expensive repairs or parts replacement. Apparently, at 200,000 miles, most of the SUV’s components must have worn out or gotten corroded.

Is Kia Sorento Reliable?

The Kia Sorento is a very reliable SUV ride with a 4.0 out of 5.0 reliability rating on RepairPal. It is a robust SUV that can take you through rough terrains, even though it is not primarily built for off-road tours.

What Is Kia Sorento Maintenance Cost?

On average, you’d spend $533 annually on maintenance for your Kia Sorento SUV. The estimated maintenance cost of Kia Sorento is lower than the industry’s average for SUVs in its category. So to say, the Kia Sorento is cheap to maintain, and the repair frequency is very low.

Does Kia Sorento Have Any Recalls?

Yes. The company recalled certain units made in specific model years: 2011 – 2017 and 2020. People who bought the affected models/chassis were informed about this recall.


In conclusion, this article has clearly explained the Kia Sorento years to avoid and the reasons why you should do so. More interestingly, we added information for the best model years to buy, so you can easily decide which Kia Sorento fits you best.

Overall, the Kia Sorento is a clean, powerful ride with an astonishing interior and decent space for the passengers and cargo. Compared with most other rides in its category, the Kia Sorento is relatively affordable to buy – whether new or used.

Do enjoy the rest of your day.

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