2021 Kia Sorento Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Finding an SUV has never been difficult, with many drivers opting for the stylish 2021 Kia Sorento. The automaker claims customers can “let the adventures begin” behind the wheel. However, adventure is an understated term to describe a faulty engine, dangerous fuel system and malfunctioning powertrain.

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Problems with the Engine

The most important part of any vehicle is the engine. With a defective motor in the Kia Sorento, customers can’t help but be disappointed.

Here’s one Edmunds review to consider. “Purchased an SX Prestige with 2.5 Turbo at 2100 miles that was a dealer demo. Drove the Sorento for two weeks adding about 1500 miles or so. As I pull in my driveway the engine began rattling really loud. No warning lights came on. Had the vehicle towed to the dealer I purchased from. Was told that the engine bearings failed, causing internal damage. Also there was metal inside of Turbo itself. Was told I was getting a new, updated engine and turbo. New engine has been installed.. just waiting on a new turbo. I’ve been without my vehicle for 12 days now. Very disappointed in KIA.”

There’s little to point to the problem in this situation, other than many other customers are experiencing it as well. It might turn out that Hyundai is faced with even more class-action lawsuits, such as the one from previous models that stated Hyundai installed engines that could spontaneously combust during normal operation. That’s one heck of an adventure that most people aren’t prepared for.

Problems with the Fuel System

Working in conjunction with the engine is the fuel system. When this system malfunctions, the vehicle cannot run as intended.

That’s what is shown in this NHTSA complaint. “The contact owns a 2021 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that after parking the vehicle, the contact noticed that the exhaust started to leak. … also stated the engine was overheating with no warning light illuminated.”

Sadly, Kia Sorento owners are currently facing a dangerous recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 21V519000 reveals that affected models equipped with a 2.5-liter turbo engine have a fuel pipe that could leak between the pump and rail. If the fuel leaks in this location, there is a heightened risk of a car fire. There’s nothing quite as adventurous as trying to get the family out of an SUV before it explodes.

Problems with the Powertrain

There are also issues with the powertrain in Sorento models. Of course, this is another vital part that doesn’t do what it should.

One last Edmunds review states, “I turn my vehicle on to drive home and the check engine light comes on, at first I think maybe it is just a fluke…It was downpouring that night so I thought something might have triggered it. I go to drive and I notice as I am trying to accelerate my RPMs are going up but the speed is really not increasing, until it JOLTS me forward. I finally make it home and hope it was just a random event. The next day same thing happens, check engine light is on, notification comes up on my screen ‘possible transmission control issue’ same thing happens, car is not accelerating, RPMs going up, and if I stop at a red light and the ‘auto on off’ kicks in the car totally dies.”

The review goes on to say “When I am finally able to get into Kia the next day they tell me I need a new transmission…….a NEW TRANSMISSION on a brand new vehicle with only 5000 miles on it!!!!! It has now been sitting at the Kia dealership for 26 days and they have no ETA on when the new part will arrive. Stay far far away from this car!! It looks beautiful, but it is a lemon!!! I will be submitting paperwork for it to be taken in as a lemon law and get a refund to get something else, NOT A KIA.”

While there is no recall yet, Hyundai has released Service Bulletin #SC202_DSM that discusses a Voluntary Service Campaign to replace the accelerator pedal assembly on affected models. It appears that the RPMs rise even when they shouldn’t because of this malfunction. If it happens while driving, Smart Pedal Logic becomes engaged to reduce the RPMs to an idle speed, causing even more problems. Maybe the Kia Sorento should be renamed a Bucking Bronco to properly reflect how it drives.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Kia pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Cesar

    Pros are the digital gauges look awesome but unfortunately it’s true. CONS- The leather seats are hard and not so comfortable for long distances, but wait that’s not the worst part. I’ve owed my 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line for about a year now and for about two months been having startup issues. We press the start button to a putter then shuts off. It has happened more often than not. It’s now at the local Kia dealer awaiting next steps. The techs have it sitting outside awaiting engineering consultation. I was told by my consultant they hope to hear from engineering soon to continue their efforts to find the cause of the problem. It’s been ten days now since I dropped it off. I’m driving a rental in the meantime.

  • melvin w

    waited 3 months for a turbo to be replaced on a new 2021 turbo………..had vehicle for only 7 months before turbo went out

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