Kia Sorento Years to Avoid: A Smart Buyer’s Guide

Learn which Kia Sorento model years to steer clear of and make an informed decision when buying a pre-owned SUV. Find valuable insights in our comprehensive guide.


Understanding the Kia Sorento

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s get to know the Kia Sorento a bit better. The Kia Sorento is a midsize SUV known for its spacious interior, comfortable ride, and versatility. It’s a popular choice for families and individuals looking for a reliable and affordable SUV.

The Importance of Model Year Selection

When buying a used vehicle, the model year can significantly impact your ownership experience. Automakers often make improvements and adjustments from one year to the next. Some years may introduce new features, enhance safety, or address known issues. On the flip side, others may have design flaws or recurring problems.

 Key Information About  Kia Sorento Model

Certainly! Here’s a table summarizing the information about the Kia Sorento model years to avoid and the notable improvements in recent models:

Model Year Common Issues Notable Improvements
2011 – Engine failures – Transmission issues – Frequent breakdowns – Enhanced safety features – Improved reliability
2014 – Engine stalling – Knocking sounds – Steering system problems – Enhanced technology – Better fuel efficiency
2016 – Engine troubles – Power steering issues – Reliability concerns – Improved handling and ride comfort – Upgraded interior
2017 – Electrical problems – Lights malfunctioning – Costly repairs – Advanced safety features – Enhanced infotainment system
2018 – Airbag recalls – Brake system recalls – Potential safety concerns – Improved fuel efficiency – Enhanced driver-assistance features
2021 – Comfortable ride – Spacious interior – Advanced safety features
2022 – Further improved features – Strong contender in the midsize SUV segment

This table provides a clear overview of the Kia Sorento model years to avoid and highlights the notable improvements in recent models, making it easier for potential buyers to make informed decisions.

Common Issues Faced by Some Kia Sorento Models

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to be aware of common issues that have plagued certain Kia Sorento model years. These problems can include:

  • Engine and transmission issues
  • Electrical and technology glitches
  • Suspension and steering problems
  • Rust and corrosion concerns
  • Safety and recall notices

In the following sections, we’ll explore these issues in greater detail, and identify the years when they were most prevalent.

Researching Kia Sorento Reliability

When researching the Kia Sorento, reliability is a key factor to consider. Reliable vehicles are not only cost-effective but also offer peace of mind. Kia has made strides in improving the Sorento’s reliability, but as with any vehicle, some model years have fared better than others.

Kia Sorento Model Years to Avoid

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Which Kia Sorento model years should you avoid? Keep in mind that not all vehicles from these years will experience issues, but there is a higher likelihood of encountering problems. Here are the model years to exercise caution with:

1. The Troubled Year: 2011

  • The 2011 Kia Sorento faced multiple complaints regarding engine failures and transmission issues. Buyers reported costly repairs and frequent breakdowns.

2. A Rocky Start: 2014

  • The 2014 model year saw concerns with engine problems, including stalling and knocking sounds. Many owners also reported issues with the steering system.

3. A Mix of Complaints: 2016

  • In 2016, Kia Sorento owners experienced a range of issues, from engine troubles to power steering problems. These widespread complaints raised reliability concerns.

4. Electrical Woes: 2017

  • The 2017 Kia Sorento was plagued by electrical problems, affecting the vehicle’s lights, radio, and power accessories. These issues could be frustrating and costly to fix.

5. The Recall Year: 2018

  • In 2018, Kia issued multiple recalls for the Sorento, including airbag and brake system recalls. While recalls in themselves don’t necessarily indicate poor quality, they can be a red flag for potential buyers.

A Closer Look at Problematic Years

To give you a more detailed understanding of the issues these years faced, let’s explore some of the common complaints from Kia Sorento owners during these problematic model years:

Common Complaints in 2011:

  • Engine failures
  • Transmission issues
  • Frequent breakdowns

Common Complaints in 2014:

  • Engine stalling
  • Knocking sounds
  • Steering system problems

Common Complaints in 2016:

Common Complaints in 2017:

  • Electrical problems
  • Lights malfunctioning
  • Costly repairs

Common Complaints in 2018:

While these issues were prevalent in the specified model years, it’s important to note that not all vehicles experienced these problems. Nevertheless, it’s wise to exercise caution when considering a Kia Sorento from these years and conduct a thorough inspection before purchasing.

Notable Improvements in Recent Models

In the spirit of fairness, it’s essential to acknowledge the positive strides Kia has made in improving Sorento’s reliability and overall performance in recent years. If you’re open to exploring newer options, the following model years have received positive reviews and are worth considering:

1. The Turning Point: 2021

  • The 2021 Kia Sorento received praise for its comfortable ride, spacious interior, and advanced safety features. Kia made substantial improvements to the vehicle, making it a noteworthy choice.

2. A Fresh Start: 2022

  • The 2022 Kia Sorento built on the successes of the previous year, further enhancing its features and reliability. It’s a strong contender in the midsize SUV segment.
2022 Kia Sorento

Factors to Consider Before Buying

When purchasing a used Kia Sorento, there are several factors to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and satisfying ownership experience:

  • Budget: Determine your budget, including the purchase price and ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Vehicle History: Request a vehicle history report to uncover any accidents or title issues.
  • Pre-Purchase Inspection: Invest in a professional inspection to identify hidden problems.
  • Mileage: Consider the mileage on the vehicle, as higher mileage can affect long-term reliability.
  • Warranty: Check if any remaining factory warranty is transferable to the new owner.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Your Key to Confidence

A pre-purchase inspection is a crucial step in the used car buying process. It involves having a certified mechanic thoroughly assess the vehicle’s condition, including its engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, and more. This inspection can uncover hidden problems and give you the confidence to move forward with the purchase.

Vehicle History Reports: Unveiling the Past

A vehicle history report provides valuable information about the Kia Sorento you’re considering. It includes details on accidents, title issues, ownership history, and more. By reviewing the report, you can make an informed decision and avoid vehicles with a questionable past.

Which Kia Sorento Model Is The Best?

Choosing the best Kia Sorento model for your needs can be a daunting task, given the range of options available. The Kia Sorento has evolved over the years, with various model years offering different features, improvements, and reliability. To determine which Kia Sorento model is the best for you, it’s essential to consider your specific requirements, budget, and priorities. Here, we’ll explore some key factors to help you make an informed decision.

1. Newer Models Offer Advancements

In general, newer Kia Sorento models tend to offer more advanced features, improved safety technology, and enhanced fuel efficiency. If you prioritize having the latest in automotive technology and safety innovations, opting for a newer model year might be the best choice. However, this may come at a higher price point.

2. Consider Your Budget

Your budget is a significant factor when determining the best Kia Sorento model for you. Older model years are often more budget-friendly, making them a practical choice for cost-conscious buyers. While they may lack some of the latest features, they still offer a reliable and comfortable driving experience.

3. Reliability Matters

Reliability is a crucial consideration when choosing the best Kia Sorento model. Research the model years with a reputation for dependability and durability. Models with fewer reported issues and high owner satisfaction ratings are typically the most reliable choices.

4. Evaluate Your Needs

To determine the best Kia Sorento model, assess your specific needs. Are you looking for a family-friendly vehicle with ample space, or do you prefer a more compact and fuel-efficient option? Consider your daily driving requirements, such as commuting, off-road adventures, or long road trips.

5. Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is a significant factor for many buyers, especially those with a daily commute. Newer models often come equipped with more efficient engines and improved technology to maximize fuel economy. However, older models can still provide acceptable fuel efficiency, especially if well-maintained.

6. Safety Features

Safety is paramount, and Kia has been consistently improving the safety features in their Sorento models. Newer model years tend to include advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. If safety is a top priority, newer models may be your best choice.

7. Technology and Infotainment

The best Kia Sorento model for you may also depend on the level of technology and infotainment features you desire. Newer models typically offer more advanced infotainment systems with larger touchscreens, smartphone integration, and advanced audio options. If you’re a tech-savvy driver, a newer model may be the best fit.

8. Warranty Coverage

Consider the warranty coverage when evaluating the best Kia Sorento model. Kia typically offers an excellent warranty, but it’s important to check the specific terms and coverage for each model year. A longer and more comprehensive warranty can provide added peace of mind.

9. Pre-Purchase Inspection

Before making your final decision, regardless of the model year you choose, it’s essential to have a pre-purchase inspection conducted by a qualified mechanic. This inspection can identify any hidden issues or maintenance needs, ensuring that you’re making a sound investment.

In conclusion, determining which Kia Sorento model is the best for you requires careful consideration of your specific needs, budget, and priorities. Whether you opt for a newer model with advanced features or an older one with proven reliability, conducting thorough research and evaluation will help you make a well-informed decision and find the Kia Sorento that suits your preferences and lifestyle.

Alternatives to the Kia Sorento

If you’re still hesitant about purchasing a used Kia Sorento from the years, consider exploring alternative midsize SUVs. Here are a few noteworthy options to consider:

1. Toyota RAV4

  • The Toyota RAV4 is renowned for its reliability, strong resale value, and fuel efficiency. It’s a solid choice for those seeking a dependable SUV.

2. Honda CR-V

  • The Honda CR-V offers a spacious interior, comfortable ride, and excellent resale value. It’s a top pick in the compact SUV segment.

3. Hyundai Santa Fe

  • The Hyundai Santa Fe combines affordability with a well-appointed interior and a comprehensive warranty, making it a competitive option.

Finding the Ideal Midsize SUV

Ultimately, the best choice for a midsize SUV depends on your unique needs and circumstances. Consider factors like budget, desired features, and your long-term expectations when making your decision. If you decide that a Kia Sorento is the right choice for you, be sure to choose a model year from a reliable and issue-free range.


In conclusion, while certain model years of the Kia Sorento have experienced some issues, others have stood out for their reliability and overall performance. With regular maintenance and care, a Kia Sorento can be a reliable and durable vehicle.

However, when considering purchasing a used Sorento, it’s essential to get a pre-purchase inspection and check the vehicle’s history report. Potential buyers should also consider the alternative vehicles listed if they’re in the market for a midsize SUV. Always remember, that the best vehicle for you will depend on your unique needs and circumstances.

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