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

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

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.

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.

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

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.

2023 Kia Sportage Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Power Train
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Fuel/propulsion System
Air Bags

Windshield Cracking & Exploding Sunroof Problems

Owners commonly report issues with Sportage windshields cracking spontaneously and sunroofs exploding 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

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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.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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
  • Feeroz M

    Our company’s 2023 Kia Sportage and the windshield spontaneously cracked while I was driving. No debris impacted the windshield and the crack can not be felt on the inside or outside of the windshield.

  • L G

    I have a Kia Sportage Prestige model hybrid and it has been in the shop for 6 weeks now and they are saying it s a battery issue. They don’t know when one will be coming in.

  • Jeff O

    Bought 2023 Kia Sportage in Dec 2022. It has 9000 miles on it. Recently I went to turn the car on and at least 12 warning lights came on at the same time. They wouldn’t go off so I scheduled service. The dealership, Horne Kia (gilbert AZ), has had the car for 3 weeks and are saying it will take 2 months to get a part that “might” fix it. They gave me a rental but it’s smaller and smells really bad like smoke.

  • icyreagent

    I just bought a 2023 KIA Sportage that is apparently a mix between an SX & EX [Infotainment system is 8″ and that is from the SX line] but, the other features are from the EX line.
    The problem is, if I come to a standstill and need to pull out of anywhere the car revs loudly delays long enough for the car to get hit by an oncoming vehicle; then, kicks off with a drag which, could allow it to hit the rear of any vehicle that may be in close proximity.
    The engine sometime revs loud [I have test driven new vehicles and never hear such a loud sound from a new vehicle engine], and it automatically drags off sometimes giving a jerk like an old mazda.
    There is just a real safety concern with this vehicle because pulling out of somewhere and vehicle should not rev out then, hesitate to move. So, I understand what others are saying about this vehicle not being safe to drive with kids because it could cause an accident.
    The Technician came to pick it up but, honestly if they bring it back in a couple days and it is the same, they have to take it back because it only has 1600mile on it and only 3mths off the lot and, I have brought it back once already last month and they claim they can’t find the problem. But, if they can’t, I can’t either and I am not driving around a new car with issues because when the warranty is up, I will be screwed.

  • Amber

    Purchased my 23 Sportage X-Line in April of 22! So far it’s been back for 2 recalls and now needs to go in for an airbag recall. I’ve had to take it in for a bad window motor and the check engine light is currently on. Waiting to hear back from service about bringing it in!! I had my Optima for 3yrs without a single problem, totally regretting my decision on this Sportage!! Once the warranty is up I bet it’s gonna drain my pockets!!! May wanna trade it back in before it causes me a headache.

  • Robert

    My 23 Kia sportage hybrid with 25k miles left me sit a mile from my house a couple days ago- similar to others all the warning lights started flashing like crazy and car wouldn’t move- no battery no nothing- it’s sitting at Kia waiting to be looked at – what a nightmare- NEVER will I buy a Kia again / crap reliability plan on getting an older Lexus 450h –

  • Robert T

    Our 2023 Sportage emits a grinding sound consistently upon acceleration from low to higher speed especially when going up hill. Intermittently the car skips usually at low speeds when first starting out in the morning. I have reported to Kia dealer twice. Took the car in for an evaluation and dealer stated the technician found nothing wrong that could be noted. The grinding noise could not be missed if a person was listening. The skipping is very intermittent and doesn’t usually happen after the car heats up.

  • Tyler

    Bought a Sportage back in 2022 of April, almost had it for a full year and it just broke down completely, currently it’s at a dealership in the Central Texas area where it had to be towed into that is going to take 4 weeks to look at it. All I know is when you go to turn the car on everything but the engine turns on, all warning lights pop up in the dash, tells you to shift into Park when it’s in park already. Will not shift into Neutral at all. Love the car but hate the experience, might have a lemon not sure yet.

  • Paul l

    Got a 2023 Kia Sportage gt line s hybrid in Jan 2023. I noticed the hybrid battery does not fully charge only goes to max 3 quarter charge. When the car is locked with indicators flashing showing locked the door mirrors of car retract to open position with no one near car or operating remote. No indicators flash confirmed by my cctv on car on driveway however Kia connect message alerts me saying alarm check battery! Any advise? thank u….

  • Jay H

    On my 2023 Sportage hybrid plug-in, After 950 miles, blinker warning came on and blinkers blinked rapidly. After stopping and restarting car, issue went away. Odemeter trip setting are now resetting themselves at random and auto parking brake works sometimes but never consistently… very disappointing

  • Diana

    On Aug 25th 2022 my 2023 Kia Sportage SX Prestige AWD that had less than 7000 thousand miles on it, I got into a wreck in which I hit the car in front of me, but at the time and before my safety features the warning when a cars too close, nor the two braking features it has to help just in case, also didn’t work, I have a screen shot of my app that shows that night after the accident it was showing an issue with that part of the system but it hadn’t updated since that morning at 10 am, so the whole day they weren’t working, but the inside of the car gave me no lights to tell me there was anything wrong and I didn’t check the app as I was driving back from ny, when I took it to get a quote through insurance, they told me that they have no idea how long it would take to get the parts, but the car was safe and that the only thing not working was cruise control, so I decided till I could afford a rental, I would wait because it could take along time, well, on Dec 5 I was in another accident, which this time was way worse, the truck had no lights on and was at the top of a downward slight hill, so I couldn’t tell he was stopped till it was me slamming on my brakes, had my safety features worked in the first place neither accident would have happened, my car has been in the shop since Dec 5 2022 and today is 3/7/23 and it’s still there, the bumper only came in 2 weeks ago so if I would have put it there before it would of been the same amount of time. Kia called me, I sent them everything I have, but it’s been almost 2 weeks since I talked to them, I’m currently without a vehicle, it’s been hard and I have kids who was in the vehicle both times. First it was all three of them and the last just my daughter. I honestly don’t feel comfortable paying money once it’s done and drive it, it’s cost me a 20000 dollar loss, and my safety and family’s was jeopardized. And not to forget I was going to trade it in on a 2023 Kia Carnival sx prestige Aug 26th 2022 because I needed a bigger car and that was the goal when I bought it, because I couldn’t find a Carnival, so now I’m stuck with a vehicle that isn’t safe and is too small for my family of 6. I feel defeated and like no one really cares. I don’t know what to do.

  • Sally S

    Update…..After leaving my 2023 Sportage at dealership for 2 weeks they were unable to diagnose the issue. The technician heard the noise when I brought it in but couldn’t replicate later. He thought it was transfer case or transmission. Car has 10,000 miles on it. Since they couldn’t replicate Kia Tech line said they need to release car back to me with no repairs. I have felt unsafe in This car since I bought it. When I applied the brakes on the Highway it shimmied so bad it scared me. It has also blown out two sets of shocks. It is unacceptable to release this vehicle without diagnosis. I traded and got into a different one at no cost. But….they put it out on their lot and sold it!!!!! Wow… sorry to who ever bought that lemon!

  • Sally S

    My 2023 Kia Sportage protege x has had rear shocks replace twice. This started less than 3 months after purchase. Now it’s back in service and I have a loaner car because another noise is happening in the right rear of the car. They thought it could be transmission or maybe the axle. Will report later after diagnosis

  • Andy S

    2023 Kia Sportage x line. Both dash screens shut off , no radio or speedometer. Gas tank cover sometimes doesn’t release so we don’t run the fuel less than half tank. Knocking sound in the rear passenger side. Checked underneath, exhaust shield, etc. Maybe in the trunk lid, can’t diagnose. Kia claims better reliability than Toyota, lol. Don’t buy a Kia, as ten new Kia’s aren’t as reliable as any Toyota with 600,000 kms. And our 2023 Sportage as only 10,000 kms. Junk. Bought it at Go Kia South, Edmonton, Alberta. Service sucks here as well.

  • Monica B

    Cracked windshield
    rotor wear within 10k miles
    multiple recalls

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