Explosive sunroofs, cracking windshields, & malfunctioning warning signals are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
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 Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings|
|Vehicle Speed Control|
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.