2023 Kia Sportage Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Explosive sunroofs, cracking windshields, & malfunctioning warning signals are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

The Kia Sportage has changed dramatically since it was first launched by its Korean manufacturer in 1993. Since 2004, when the second generation Sportage was launched, it has been categorized as a compact crossover SUV. The fifth generation Kia Sportage was unveiled in 2021, and a year later, the first U.S.-made model rolled off the line in Georgia.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2017   2018   2019   2020   2021 2022

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2023 Kia Sportage

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
4
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
2
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
2
Electrical System
2
Visibility:windshield
2
Air Bags
2
Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection
1
Visibility:sun/moon Roof Assembly
1
Engine
1
Service Brakes
1

Tracking sales of the Kia Sportage from 2005, you can see that these exceeded 5,000 units in 2007, and then every year from 2015-2021. The highest sales were in 2019 when 8,125 units were purchased by consumers. The figure dropped to 7,915 in 2020, and to 6,034 in 2021.

Lemberg Law has also tracked problems and top complaints about the Kia Sportage from 2017 until 2022. These vary, although electrical, engine, powertrain, and airbag problems have recurred the most. Looking at total consumer complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is no real correlation to sales.

There were 22 in 2019, 37 in 2020, 11 in 2021, and 8 in both 2022 and 2023 so far.

Most Common Problems with the 2023 Kia Sportage

The complaints filed with NHTSA about the 2023 Kia Sportage up until September 2022 are varied. There are currently 8 of them listed in 6 categories: airbags, electrical system, engine, service brakes, visibility/wiper, and the unknown/other category.

There are also 16 manufacturer communications, including technical service bulletins, some that relate to multiple categories. Of these, 9 relate to engine and engine cooling, 7 of which also relate to the powertrain. Two others relating to the powertrain also relate to the electrical system. In addition, there are another 5 that refer to the electrical system, 2 to equipment, and 1 each to seats and the structure of the Sportage.

There is also an electrical system issue that has resulted in a recall. Potentially 19,701 vehicles might have a loose alternator battery nut. If the engine stalls, there will be a greater risk of a crash. And if it causes an electrical surge, there will be an increased risk of fire.

We are highlighting the most common problems.

Windshield Cracking & Exploding Sunroof Problems

Lemberg Law has already launched a class action investigation into defective windshields that crack spontaneously and sunroofs that explode for no apparent reason.

In June 2022, a Sportage owner from Los Angeles experienced the shock of a panoramic sunroof “quite literally exploding on my brand new vehicle.” They were driving on the highway with children in the car when they heard a sound they identified as “a shotgun being shot at us.” The complaint also states, “The glass is pointing outwards, NOT inwards, and absolutely NOTHING hit my vehicle.”

An owner from Texas reports that the windshield began to crack when the Sportage had about 500 miles on the clock. Within a week there was extensive cracking that was too great for repair. It began on the driver’s side and ran all the way down to the bottom of the passenger side. The puzzle is that “The windshield does not show impact from a rock or any object.”

Our class action investigation report highlights additional complaints posted in the Kia USA Facebook group and on Reddit. Their experiences all echo the complaints to the NHTSA

Malfunctioning Warning Signals

There are a significant number of complaints about malfunctioning warning signal problems. Two of these relate to the airbag light. Both are serious problems.

Airbag Warning Light

An owner from Nebraska was the first consumer to complain to the NHTSA about the 2023 Kia Sportage. In a complaint filed in April 2022, he said that the airbag light had been on from the time he got the SUV. The dealership diagnosed that the front side impact sensor was failing.

“If I were to get into an accident my front airbag would not deploy. The dealership has seen the light and confirmed the problem.”

An owner from Florida took the 2023 Kia Sportage EX back to the dealership when the airbag light came on one week after purchase. The dealer said the vehicle was “unfit to drive” and kept it for 12 days. Two days after getting the SUV back and being told the issue had been resolved, the light came on again.

“I do not feel safe in this vehicle and have requested both the dealership and KIA to buy back the vehicle since it is brand new, but both have refused.”

Multiple Warning Lights

A Virginia owner also reports that warning lights came one a week after buying a 2023 Kia Sportage. This time, there were 6 of them, including Check the Forward System, Check the Blind Spot System, and 4 other safety features. The Check Engine light also turned on and several other warning signs were “highlighted in orange.”

Then, to make matters worse, “when trying to move the car, I was not able to get the gear out of Park. This happened multiple times over 12 hours.”

An Arizona owner experienced a similar problem while driving between 30 and 40 mph. Most of the Advanced Driver Assistance System warning lights came on as well as the Check Engine and service lights.

“There was a notice that kept flashing, Do Not Drive Vehicle. This has happened on three occasions. There were zero issues prior to this. On one occasion I was driving on a two-lane mountain highway and had to continue driving the vehicle because there wasn’t an emergency lane or pull-off. Having all the warning lamps flashing was extremely nerve-racking and frightening. The vehicle has been at the dealership for two weeks. I’m told that a national ticket has been opened but there are no updates available.”

Other 2023 Sportage Problems

An owner from another part of Arizona was driving on a freeway when the SUV flashed and alarmed a brake system warning. This time the warning light was in response to a problem.

“Braking was soft” and it took the driver “a longer than usual amount of time to stop the vehicle at that point.”

Another totally different complaint is that warm air blows from the air conditioner (AC) vents. “It quickly gets burning hot to the point it would burn your hands when placed by the vents to test the air.” Kia engineers suggested replacing the AC hose discharge.

After struggling to find the part, a week later the dealership installed the new hose. They also reported that the original part had “a leak at the top by the crimp.”

The original incident happened in March 2022. But by June, the issue still wasn’t resolved because the new hose had “a leak at the bottom by the crimp!” Also, there were no replacement hoses available in the U.S. and they were on backorder for at least 4-6 weeks.”

This is when the owner complained to the NHTSA.

“Apparently, I may not be the only one with this A/C problem and KIA might be trying to figure out how to resolve it with either a service announcement or a recall. The problem seems to be in the manufacturing of the hoses if brand-new vehicles are shipped to the dealers this way. So my brand new car once again sits in the driveway. (I have no way of) knowing when or if it can even be fixed. I certainly can’t afford to pay for a rental vehicle up front out of pocket, (as) this 2023 Sportage is paid in full–cash!”

What to do if your 2023 Kia Sportage is a Lemon?

Commonly, when problems keep recurring, we can identify that a vehicle is a lemon. If it is, you may be entitled to a vehicle replacement, a total refund, and reimbursement for costs and damages. Similarly, if the dealership undertakes to fix your vehicle, you may be eligible for a loan vehicle.

If you think that you might have a lemon, call our Helpline or fill in our contact form. We will investigate and assess your claim and advise you free of charge. According to the law, Kia will have to pay the bill if it is a lemon.

Complaint Data

CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
DateDec 07, 2022
StateFL
Description
On aug 25th I was driving and the screens all shut off while driving, I didn't think anything of it, but a few hours later in ocala fl, cars had started breaking and slowing down, but then started again, but one lady had not started moving and I ended up hitting her I didn't have no warning telling me I was getting close to a car nor did it break at all like it's supposed to. It beeps when you park but now on dec 5 a truck cut me off and it I couldn't break fast enough but the car is equipped with safety features that aren't working and now I'm injured and they won't total my car because it's 2023, I don't feel safe driving a car I spent alot of money on and now I have no choice because I won't ever be able to get close to what the cars worth as a trade in.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateDec 02, 2022
StateCA
Description
When starting car from behind stopped, the car would not speed up when pressing gas pedal and felt like stalling, but slamming on gas pedal jolted car to speed up again. If there were cars around, this could have been very dangerous. Car is in the shop now for mechanics to determine exact cause.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateNov 12, 2022
StateVA
Description
This vehicle is equipped with an extended dual-screen display. Purchased in june 2023, two weeks after purchase, the right half of the display screen keeps on and off. This can be very distracting while driving, especially at night. The kia car dealership "buick gmc kia greenbrier" has been informed of the defect and has performed a diagnostic. They stated the entire assembly will have to be replaced.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings, Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection
DateOct 29, 2022
StateFL
Description
For the two months I have had my car I have had problems with indicators going off on my dashboard warning to check various parts of the driver's assistance system. I took it to the dealership three times and was told they cannot help because when they had the car for three days they didn't have any problems and unless they get a code there wasn't anything they could do. However, recently when it happened again I used the kia connect app on the dashboard to select the vehicle diagnostic, and it indicated there was a problem with the integrated breaking and body control system, lane assist, and airbags. It seems weird that the car itself is able to diagnose there is a problem but the dealership cannot. Also, the rear cross traffic control system has repeatedly come on when reversing causing my car to hard stops even though there is nothing behind my car. Then, yesterday when at a stop light the car stalled and a loud warning sound was blaring in the car. When I got the car working again the ac wouldn't work for the rest of the trip. Each time there is a problem the problem will clear up after turning the car off for a period of time. But then the next day the problems will start back up randomly when the car is driving.
CategoryUnknown Or Other, Visibility:sun/moon Roof Assembly
DateOct 09, 2022
StateCA
Description
My husband and I own a 2023 kia sportage that was purchased on may 11th, 2022. The car has barely 1700 miles on it, and in mint condition. My husband and I were at a stoplight turning left when all of a sudden we heard a loud explosion, almost like a shotgun. It was so loud my husband and I could physically feel the loud gun shot, and truly scared us to the point where we thought it might have been a drive-by shooting. We didn't notice any damage at first until we pulled over and saw the start of the panoramic sunroof (near the front windshield) shattered completely. There currently is no recall on this issue despite the hundreds of reports. I am unable to drive my car as the front windshield can crack/explode at any moment.
CategoryVisibility:windshield
DateOct 06, 2022
StateTN
Description
When traveling over the mountain when the sun is coming up or going down and it hits the windshield at an angle the wires for the heated windshield creates a rainbow across the windshield making the driver unable to tell where the lanes are or if there are vehicles in front of or merging. This has happened to me on 3 different occasions. I have not noticed it after the sun is already up. Just rising and setting.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateSep 11, 2022
StateVA
Description
One week after buying the brand new 2023 kia sportage, 6 warning signs popped up on the screen. They were to "check the forward collision system," "check the bind spot system," and 4 more of the safety features. In addition, the check engine light turning on, other warning signs were also highlighted in orange. Finally, when trying to move the car, I was not able to get the gear out of park. This happened multiple times over 12 hours.
CategoryAir Bags
DateSep 04, 2022
StateFL
Description
One week after purchasing the 2023 kia sportage ex, the airbag light came on. I took it to a local dealership who deemed the vehicle "unfit to drive" and kept it for 12 days. After 12 days, the vehicle was released to me and I was told the airbag issue had been resolved. However, a mere two days later, the airbag light came back again. I do not feel safe in this vehicle and have requested both the dealership and kia to buy back the vehicle since it is brand new, but both have refused. After being told by the dealership that the vehicle was unsafe to drive when I took it in for the first time after the airbag light came on, I am afraid to drive the vehicle and will have to again take it back to the dealership but I will never feel safe in this vehicle.
CategoryService Brakes
DateSep 02, 2022
StateAZ
Description
The vehicle flashed and alarmed a brake system warning while traveling on a freeway. Braking was soft. Took a longer than usual amount of time to stop the vehicle at that point.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 01, 2022
StateAZ
Description
While driving 30-40 mph most of the advanced driver assistance system warning lights came. The check engine light, service light, etc also came on. There was a notice that kept flashing do not drive vehicle. This has happened on three occasions. There were zero issues prior to this. On one occasion I was driving on a two lane mountain highway and had to continue driving the vehicle because there wasn't an emergency lane nor pull off. Having all the warning lamps flashing was extremely nerve racking and frightening. The vehicle has been at the dealership for two weeks. I'm told that a national ticket has been opened and there are no updates available as of this writing(09/01/22).
CategoryVisibility:windshield
DateAug 15, 2022
StateTX
Description
Windshield began to crack when the vehicle had approximately 500 miles. The windshield does not show impact from a rock or any object. The crack was noticed when getting into the vehicle, the crack did not occur while driving. Within a week the windshield showed extensive cracking within a short period of time, thereby preventing repair. The crack began on driver side and runs all the way to the bottom passenger side.
CategoryEquipment:appliance:air Conditioner
DateJun 04, 2022
StateNJ
Description
I purchased a brand new 2023 kia sportage x-line march 23, 2022. When I turned the a/c on, very warm air was blowing from the vents even though a/c button was on and temperature was set to low meaning cold air. The air rapidly became burning hot to the point it would burn your hands when placed by the vents to test the air. I had to shut it off. Opening the windows did not help, the weather was in the 90's, and summer had arrived!! It was like driving in a sauna trying to breath. I took it to the dealer, problem reproduced. Service contacted kia engineers; they suggested replacing the ac hose-discharge. The part was extremely difficult to find but he was able to locate the only one available in the u. S. The part took a week to arrive and the install was done. Service called to tell me he discovered the original part that came with the vehicle (hose) had a leak at the top by the crimp and the replacement hose has a leak at the bottom by the crimp! A/c still does not work, only for burning hot air. Okay so now we have to order another hose and try again. There are no hoses availbale anywhere in the us!!! They are on backorder for 4 to 6 weeks or more. Apparently I may not be the only one with this a/c problem and kia might be trying to figure out how to resolve it with either a service announcement or a recall. The problem seems to be in the manufacturing of the hoses if brand new vehicles are shipped to the dealers this way. So my brand new car once again sits in the driveway not knowing when or if it can even be fixed and I certainly can't afford to pay for a rental vehicle up front out of pocket, this 2023 sportage is paid in full--cash!
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateJun 04, 2022
StateLA
Description
Driving down the highway with my two kids and little brother in the back seat leaving vacation. Nobody is in front of us and we are not under an overpass. We all hear what we thought was a shotgun being shot at us. It ended up being the panoramic sunroof, quite literally exploding on my brand new vehicle. (mileage was at 3450 when it happened). The glass is pointing outwards not inwards. Absolutely nothing hit my vehicle.
CategoryAir Bags
DateApr 18, 2022
StateNE
Description
My airbag light has been on since I got my vehicle. The dealership said it is the front side impact sensor that is failing. If I were to get into an accident my front airbag would not deploy. The dealership has seen the light and confirmed the problem.

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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
1 COMMENT
  • Monica B

    Cracked windshield
    rotor wear within 10k miles
    multiple recalls

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