Kia Sorento debuted in 2003 as an SUV from Kia. It was engineered to offer more cargo and cabin space and deliver more power than the Kia Sportage that was already on sale. In its first year, the Sorento fell in between a small SUV and a midsize SUV.
What Are The Best Years For The Kia Sorento?
The Kia Sorento years with the most advanced technology features and styling are between 2016 and 2021. If you are looking for a used Sorento on a budget, you should get one from the first generation that started in 2002 and ran until 2008.
The Best Years for the Kia Sorento
2019 Kia Sorento
The 2019 Sorento sports a stylish exterior and acts as a great midsize crossover SUV for family trips.
Its three-row seating features high quality materials and still leaves enough cargo space for a small family trip. Better still, the 2019 model doesn’t have a price as steep as you would expect from an SUV of its class.
The model offers a host of standard features from the base trim to the top of the line model.
Some of the standard features include rear view camera, manually adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cloth upholstery, USB Port, six-speaker sound system, and satellite radio among others.
If you pick the more advanced trims, you get a crossover SUV that meets your luxury and driving needs.
The lower trims feature a 2.4L four-cylinder engine that generates 185 horses and 178 pound feet of torque. This engine mates to a six-speed automatic transmission.
There is a more powerful 3.3L V6 engine that makes 290 horses and 252 pound feet of torque.
Going higher the trim levels, you get more standard driver convenience and safety features. You will pay more, almost double of what you’d pay for the base trim, for the top of the line trim, but the features and performance are all worth it.
2018 Kia Sorento
The U.S. News and World Report ranked the 2018 Kia Sorento as the most affordable midsize SUV. If you get this as a used model, you will enjoy a midsize SUV with a modern cabin and advanced technology for the convenience of driving.
Like the 2019 model that came after this, the 2018 model has a long list of standard features.
The base trim, L, offers a rearview camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, height-adjustable driver’s seat, Bluetooth, selectable driver modes, satellite radio, USB port, and a CD player.
The list of standard features gets longer when you move up the trim levels with the top of the line SX Limited offering luxury features.
You will get features, such as upgraded leather upholstery, wood trim steering wheel, heated second row seats, and an advanced technology package.
The model offers an above average fuel economy with its four cylinder engine. If you need a used Sorento with advanced technology features and an intuitive infotainment system, the 2018 model might be the one for you.
2016 and 2017 Kia Sorento
The 2016 and 2017 Sorento models are among the most affordable midsize SUVs on the market.
You can buy the cars as used and experience the wide range of modern features on the dash.
The SUV offers a mix of a comfortable ride and well-composed handling. These two models also have some of the best safety ratings in their class.
The cabin in both models features soft-touch materials and the cabin has spacious rows with the third row added as an option.
If you need a used midsize at a bargain, these two models will meet your needs.
Besides the models above, there are many more Sorento years you can go for. The above models offer value for your money and deliver the comfort and convenience a driver needs.
What are the common problems with a Kia Sorento?
The second generation Kia Sorento from 2011 to 2015 had several engine problems.
There were numerous recalls during that period. Of the five model years, the 2012 model has the highest number of complaints.
The 2011 Sorento has the highest number of complaints on CarComplaints.
However, most of the motorists complain that the SUV door won’t open from outside, a problem that only needs a few hundred dollars to fix.
The 2012 model may have fewer complaints, but the damages on the SUV cost the motorists so much money to replace.
Most of the complaints were about engine problems with some people naming catastrophic engine failure as the main issue.
One of the complaints notes that the 2012 Sorento gets into engine failure even before it hits 60,000 miles.
Replacing a failed engine costs about $5,240, this is a lot of money for motorists.
Kia redesigned the Sorento for the 2011 model. Something must have been wrong with the redesign as the SUV’s complaints increased from a single complaint in 2010 to more than 170 complaints about the 2011 model. The 2012 model did not solve the issues with the 2011 model.
However, this second generation improved as the years went by. The 2015 model still has a few issues, but not as grave as those of the 2012 model.
In 2017, Kia recalled its 2012, 2013, and 2014 Sorento models as a result of engine stalls and failures.
At the same time, the automaker recalled the 2011-2014 Optima models and 2011-2013 Kia Sportage models for the same engine problems.
Dealers were supposed to inspect the engines and replace them as necessary and even reimburse the SUV owners who had used their money for repairs.
The main problem was that Kia used metals that left debris inside the engine. This debris can clog the oil passages, leading to engine failure.
The issue ended with a class-action lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai for using such metals and risking the lives of motorists.
The Third Generation Sorento
The third generation fixed the engine issues that the second generation had.
Although the 2016 model may still have a few monitor issues, most of the engine failure problems ended with the 2015 model.
From the 2017 model, the Sorento started receiving high rankings in different car review sites.
By 2020, the Sorento offered a refined and comfortable ride. It has all the latest technology, driver-assistance, and safety features.
You will pay more for these newer models, but they will not fail as the second generation models do.
How many miles will a Kia Sorento last?
The Kia Sorento will last more than 200,000 miles if you take good care of it. It will serve you for about 13 years if you drive 15,000 miles a year.
However, you have to keep up with recommended factory repairs and maintenance schedules.
Older models from the early 2000s may not last as long as 200k miles, thanks to the poor engineering and poor quality of materials.
However, modern Kia Sorentos can last way longer if you repair minor breakages before they exacerbate.
You also need to take your car for servicing as recommended by the automaker. This allows you to avoid unexpected wear and tear on vehicle components.
Some Kia Sorento owners claim you can start seeing rust after about four years of using your Sorento.
Corrosion will first appear around the tailgate of the SUV. However, the Kia warranty will cover most of the issues that occur before the fifth year of use.
Are Kia Sorento Reliable?
According to J.D. Power, Kia Sorento is a highly reliable SUV.
The 2018 model has a reliability rating of 84 percent while the 2021 model is 82 percent reliable.
This is a show that you can drive these models on or off the road and expect great performance.
Do Kia Sorentos have transmission problems?
No, just engine problems affecting the second generation.
Closing Thoughts: Is it worth buying a used Kia Sorento?
The first generation of the Kia Sorento was simple. It was not as stylish or even as close to the modern Sorentos, but it was an impressive family car. The only challenge is that Kia used low quality materials for its earlier models.
The second generation of the Sorento offered a more stylish exterior and more advanced features, but it had engine problems.
Although most of the engines were fixed after the recalls in 2017, some buyers may still not be comfortable buying a Kia Sorento from this second generation.
The third generation fixed most of the issues with the engine and styling. If you pick a Sorento from 2016 or later, you will have an appealing styling and the technology features will impress you.
Kia Sorentos are relatively affordable, but you have to ensure that you get the best year for the best performance.
If you are buying a model from the second generation, ensure that the engine was changed. If you need a first generation, you may not get the best features and the car may not last so long, but it will be affordable.