6 Best And Worst Years For The Kia Sorento

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Kia Sorento is a midsize crossover SUV that was first launched in the year 2003.

Over the past years, there have been various upgrades made to this one so people can enjoy the ride every time they drive.

Many people love how this vehicle offers three-row seats with comfort and extra space that even adults can sit at the back and have the proper leg space.

Kia has sold four generations of the Sorento models and is now in their latest generations, starting with the 2021 model.

To decide which model to purchase, it is vital to do some research, which can be done if you read this article.

So what are the best and worst years for Kia Sorento?

Here are the model years you should learn about before purchasing!

Best Years for Kia Sorento:

  1. 2009
  2. 2010
  3. 2015
  4. 2017
  5. 2020
  6. 2021

Worst Years for Kia Sorento:

  1. 2006
  2. 2011
  3. 2012
  4. 2013
  5. 2014
  6. 2016

Now that you have a clear understanding of the years, keep on reading as I will explain these years in detail and the reasons.

Additionally, I have also included a buyer’s guide, which you can find at the bottom of this article.

List Of The Best Years For The Kia Sorento: What Years To Buy

Is Kia Sorento a good car to drive? Find out which model years of the vehicle to avoid

Here I will be listing down the best years of Kia Sorento that are certainly worth buying.

According to various owners, these models have an excellent history throughout their usage.

So if you want to have the best experience, then these models are the right fit for you.

#1 Best Year: 2009 Kia Sorento

Starting with the first model in this list, the 2009 Kia Sorento has to be one of the most reliable models one can own.

You can find this model in five different trim levels with unique features and prices. Do keep in mind as the level increases, the more features you will find in this model.

If you plan to purchase this model, make sure to choose the 2WD 4 Door LX style.

This model can easily go at 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. You can find it at an affordable price of $22,645.

Many people love that this model has high towing capabilities, available four-wheel drive, two optional powerful V 6 engines but most of all, excellent crash test results.

This one is the perfect SUV with efficient and improved fuel economy, so the vehicle can be driven all the time smoothly.

#2 Best Year: 2010 Kia Sorento

The 2010 Kia Sorento is another model with many great things to offer its users.

Keep in mind that this vehicle’s weight is lower than the previous models, which is one of the best things about this model.

The V 6 engine from 3.8 to 3.5 will assure you to provide great performance without any compromise, mostly thanks to its reduced weight and six-speed automatic transmission system.

Some people also say that this one is perfect for handling and accelerating on the road, which is quite important for drivers to have that control.

Many people also love the front and rear suspension, quiet interior and spacious cabin.

Other than that, this model has been updated with various tech features that are easy to use and understand.

#3 Best Year: 2015 Kia Sorento

Now coming to the 2015 Kia Sorento, this one has solid reliability and safety ratings, making this model worth having.

According to the website cars.usnews.com, this one has an overall reliability rating of 8.0 out of 10, safety ratings of 8.9 out of 10, and it is ranked at 7th place based on its score for the 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs category.

Many people love the automatic in-cabin technology that is easy to use and responds quickly.

It is known to work all the time smoothly. Other than that, people also love the available V6 engine options that you can get in this vehicle.

This one can easily reach 18 up to 20 mph in the city and around 24 up to 27 mph on the highway.

This model is also quite efficient in delivering excellent fuel economy and can produce about 191 up to 290 horsepower.

#4 Best Year: 2017 Kia Sorento

The 2017 Kia Sorento is well known for its various outstanding safety features that make the ride comfortable and secure all the time.

This vehicle has been redesigned to make it look more stylish and appealing.

It is said that this model has more space than its previous models, so passengers up to seven can also ride comfortably.

According to various people, this one is the best for long road trips because of its high towing capabilities, better handling, and performance that you expect from a midsize SUV.

You can choose from seven styles of the 2017 model, but the best one has to be the LX V6 four-door SUV. Moreover, Kia has put safety at the forefront of this model.

It is worth mentioning that the 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have given this vehicle an overall five-star safety rating.

#5 Best Year: 2020 Kia Sorento

The 2020 Kia Sorento is one of the best three-row seats that can seat seven people comfortably.

This model also comes with sufficient storage space and 73 cubic feet of space, making it easier during long road trips.

The best option has to be the V6 engine that can produce around 290 horsepower as well as Dynamax, it also has all-wheel drive capabilities for increased performance on the road.

There are various things that people love so much about this model and which you would also love about it.

The safety features, first of all, this model has been built with durable and high-quality materials that put your mind at ease while driving with your family.

Moreover, it also includes electronic brake support distribution, hill start assist, electronic stability control assist for excellent road handling, and so much more.

#6 Best Year: 2021 Kia Sorento

Now coming to the last model year in this list, the 2021 Kia Sorento has to be the perfect choice for you and your loved ones.

Now, if you truly wish to purchase this model, the best option has to be the Kia Sorento X Line model, as it has a lot of quality features that you can enjoy while riding.

The X line offers rugged styling aspects such as durable front and rear fascia, roof racks, center locking differential, and a downhill descent control.

Some buyers also love how spacious it is from the inside to the third row that it even provides extra legroom for passengers.

Besides that, people also appreciate the powerful turbo it has, especially in the SX Prestige AWD that comes with a 2.5 liters turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can produce 281 horsepower and 311 pounds-feet of torque.

You can get a lot of great and advanced tech features in the SX trim level and so much more at such a reasonable price, so you certainly do not want to miss out on this model year.

List Of The Worst Years For The Kia Sorento: What Years To Avoid

Now coming to the worst model years, according to multiple car experts and users of these model years, it is best to avoid all these years.

This is because many of these models have serious issues and countless complaints that cannot be ignored.

So here are the model years you should not purchase.

#1 Worst Year: 2006 Kia Sorento

Starting with the first model in this list, the 2006 Kia Sorento is a problematic vehicle even though it has a small number of complaints reported and barely has been recalled.

This one mainly has issues with the electrical system that can grow bigger and worsen your vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the electrical system problems are so serious that if they start to malfunction or fail altogether, they can lead to serious road crashes, resulting in serious injuries for you, passengers, and other drivers on the road.

This vehicle also has issues of over-consuming the oil, which leads to the vehicle running out of gas quickly, the weird smell of gas coming under the hood, and high chances for a fire to start.

According to various users, most problems start when the vehicle reaches around 14,000 miles on the odometer and will require multiple replacements.

#2 Worst Year: 2011 Kia Sorento

Another worst model, the 2011 Kia Sorento, has been recalled six times by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and has various complaints regarding acceleration and handling.

According to some drivers, this 2011 model has transmission issues that make it difficult to shift gears which can be quite challenging to deal with on the road.

Other than that, people also said it is hard to drive on speed bumps or road imperfections.

One driver even said that the steering wheel would have continuous problems as the steering column will tend to lock randomly when the driver starts the car.

Besides all that, people also noticed a reduction in the brakes power, speed control problems, faulty wires, electrical system malfunctioning and so much more.

#3 Worst Year: 2012 Kia Sorento

Now coming to the 2012 Kia Sorento, this model has various issues due to its engine system.

According to the website motorbiscuit.com, this vehicle has been declared as the worst year that must be avoided at all costs.

The engine failure is such a serious problem in this one that there had to be a recall.

The main reason why this problem might happen is because of unnoticed oil leaks, overheating of the engine, poor maintenance, and so much more.

If the vehicle reaches maximum mpg, it can cause the engine to fail due to a broken timing chain, blown out pistons, holes in the engine block, blue or white-ish smoke coming out of the engine, and so much more.

The only way to fix this problem is by repairing or replacing the engine system completely, which can require a lot of money.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Kia Sorento

The 2013 Kia Sorento is also the worst model coming after the 2012 model year.

Drivers have said that this midsize SUV will have alignment problems frequently, ball joints will wear out, and the wheel balance is also inaccurate, making it quite hard to drive with and creating a hazardous situation on the road.

According to Consumer Reports, there have been various complaints about the in-car electronic system.

People noticed how their backup cameras stopped working and infotainment system malfunctions that would require replacements.

This model is also likely to have engine problems like the 2012 model. Some users even said that their vehicle’s suspension is prone to have serious issues as it starts to act up randomly.

#5 Worst Year: 2014 Kia Sorento

Coming to the 2014 Kia Sorento, this model is yet another problematic year for Kia and various owners who had to drive it.

This vehicle has been recalled five times by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mainly because of brakes issues, fuel system, engine, engine cooling, and powertrain problems.

According to the Car Complaints website, the most common complaint that various users submitted was related to the engine as it tends to stall and shut down frequently while driving on the road.

There would also be a blown-out motor which can cause the engine to fail.

This one also has acceleration and handling issues which makes it hard to drive and must be avoided since it can cause serious road accidents.

According to the data found on the motorbiscuit.com website, class action lawsuits were filed against Kia because of the serious engine problems that can be struggling for owners to drive with.

#6 Worst Year: 2016 Kia Sorento

The 2016 Kia Sorento is the last model on this list of worst models. This midsize SUV is yet another vehicle full of issues that just would not rest.

Although Kia had slowly resolved engine problems after the release of the third-generation models, it did not happen for the 2016 model.

There were serious engine failure problems caused by various vehicle components that tend to wear out quickly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 74 complaints were submitted related to engine problems.

Most engine issues start at the early driving stages, which are around 60,000 miles on the odometer.

The main reason is that there tend to be blown-out bolts, holes in the engine block, and the powertrain warranty expires.

Most of these problems would require the replacement of the entire engine system, which can cost more than $4000 depending on how serious the issue is.

What Are The Most Common Problem With The Kia Sorento?

Now with a clear understanding of the models, you must be familiar with the most common problems found in the Kia Sorento.

Before purchasing the vehicle, these problems must be looked into, as they can happen with any model and generation of the Sorento midsize SUV.

1. Defective Doors

This is commonly found in the 2011 Kia Sorento, and people have noticed how the door would not open when tried from the outside.

This can surely be quite annoying to deal with because it can confuse owners on how to deal with it.

It is said that when the exterior door handles fail to open, it also does not allow them to access the passenger doors.

This issue was also recalled, and drivers said that the warranty does not cover it.

The only way to fix this issue is by replacing the exterior door handles, which can cost around $15 up to $90.

2. Engine Failure

The most common issue in the 2016 Kia Sorento was engine failure.

According to various experts, this issue is likely to happen due to head gasket leaking, which might make the antifreeze and the coolant blend with the engine.

You need to note that these two liquids are not supposed to be mixed since they both have different purposes in the vehicle.

This is a serious problem because it can cause smoke to come out of the exhaust system, indicating that the engine has already been damaged.

To fix this problem, people had to replace the head gaskets, which cost around $20 to $40. But if you keep a regular check on the gaskets, there are high chances of preventing this problem.

3. Headlight Bulbs Burning Out

According to reports, this issue is likely to happen with models from 2002 through 2009. This issue happens randomly and prematurely.

According to various owners, their headlight bulbs burned out for no reason after using the vehicle for only a couple of months.

Many also said that other components of the vehicle also tend to melt. This issue is serious and can be quite expensive to fix.

The only way to fix it is by replacing the headlight bulbs, which can cost around $100 up to $600 depending on how serious the issue is.

4. Noise And Vibrations Coming From AC Compressor

This issue is commonly found from the year 2002 through 2009 Kia Sorento.

The AC compressor is likely to fail, but it also tends to make weird noises and usually vibrates when tried turning on.

Many have noticed the noise as high-pitched wailing or rumbling, which tends to happen due to clutch failure.

This means that the pulley system would make it difficult to turn the compressor on.

This also leads to the AC Compressor not delivering cold air, and the only way to fix this problem is by replacing the air compressor.

This can cost around $250 to $400, depending on how serious it is and the labor cost.

5. Rough Startup Due To Faulty Timing Chain

Most Kia Sorento vehicles tend to make excessive noise during start-ups.

Many people say that it tends to be a rattling sound. This can happen due to faults in the timing chain tensioner.

This can make the engine fail altogether if there are issues with the timing chain. It can also cause issues to the other components, especially the pulleys.

The only way to fix this issue is by replacing the timing chain tensioner.

Related: Why Won’t My Kia Sorento Start?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Which Is Bigger; Hyundai Tucson Or Kia Sorento?

It is said that the Hyundai Tucson is a little narrower than the Kia Sorento, which makes it easy to access all the seats as well as to get in and outside of the vehicle.

Other than that, Tucson is shorter than the Sorento, so it makes it easy to park in small spaces.

Q2. Which Is Better; Kia Sorento Or Toyota Highlander?

It is stated that the Kia Sorento provides much better power to the wheels.

However, the Toyota Highlander is said to have more space and seats more people than the Sorento as it is bigger in overall length, width, and height.

Q3. Is Sorento Or Santa Fe Better?

The Sorento is spacious as it can seat seven people, while Santa Fe can only seat five people.

Other than that, the Kia Sorento is more powerful with its aspirated powertrain that can produce around 191 horsepower.

Still, the 2.5 liters engine can produce 281 horsepower in Sorento, and Santa Fe is only at 277 horsepower.

Q4. How Many Miles Will A Kia Sorento Last?

The Kia Sorento can last up to 200,000 miles or more. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, it can last up to 13 years or more if you provide regular maintenance and drive it carefully.

Q5. What Cars Are Compatible With Kia Sorento?

There are multiple vehicles compatible with the Kia Sorento.

They are Ford Explorer, Hyundai Santa Fe, Lexus RX, Nissan Murano, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, Dodge Durango, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Tiguan.


Now that you have read the best and worst years for Kia Sorento, you can notice that this vehicle is one of the best family-friendly midsize SUVs in the market compared with various other outstanding well-known brands.

It has a durable body style and a luxurious exterior and interior, along with various tech features that you can easily use along the way.

The Kia Sorento is certainly a must-have model so you can enjoy having the desirable driving experience.

It is best to take your family on a long road trip, so be sure to choose the best model year.