Used Vehicle Review: Kia Sorento, 2010-2015

Vehicle Type

SUV

Most owners report satisfaction with the performance of the Sorento’s V6 engine options, plenty of room, a commanding driving position, and all-weather confidence thanks to the AWD traction.

History/Description

The second-generation of Kia’s popular SUV, the Sorento, launched for model year 2010 with an all-new platform, new engines and new technology.

Available third-row seating expanded the Sorento’s occupant capacity to seven individuals, while the rear and middle-row seats fold flat to accommodate virtually any combination of passengers and gear. With all seats folded, the Sorento can swallow up some 2,052L of your gear, shopping or toys. Towing capacity was rated at 3,500 lb on most models.

Depending on the model selected, shoppers can look for feature content including Bluetooth, a sunroof, heated leather, a windshield wiper de-icer, full multimedia connectivity and more.

Engines/Trim

A used second-generation Sorento will pack a 2.4L four-cylinder with 191 hp, a 3.5L V6 with 272 hp, or a high-efficiency 3.3L V6 with 290 in newer models. Look for automatic transmissions all around, and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) fitted to most units. Unlike numerous competitors, the Sorento’s AWD system featured a lock function, where a 50:50 front-to-rear power split could be engaged preemptively ahead of driving in low-traction situations.

Shoppers should note that the Sorento’s LX trim grade was used by entry-level models, with SX and EX representing mid-grade and top-line units, respectively.

What Owners Like

Most owners report satisfaction with the performance of the Sorento’s V6 engine options, plenty of room, a commanding driving position, and all-weather confidence thanks to the AWD traction. Ride quality, interior styling and an overall sense of high-end SUV content without the high price round out the compliments. Even fuel mileage is rated well, which is rare in this type of vehicle.

What Owners Dislike

Some owners wish for a tighter turning circle for easier parking, and a higher-quality feel to some of the interior plastics and trim pieces.

Here’s a link to some owner reviews.

The Test Drive

Start a test-drive of a used second-generation Sorento by confirming proper operation of the air conditioning system, all on-board electronics and the climate controls for both the front and middle-row seats, if equipped. If the model you’re considering has rear-seat heat or air conditioning systems, this is the time to make sure they’re working.

Feel the carpeting in the front footwell areas for signs of moisture, which could be caused by a leaking air conditioner drain tube which allows condensation to drip onto the carpeting rather than draining outside of the vehicle. If moisture is detected, be sure to confirm the cause before agreeing to purchase. Moisture trapped in vehicle carpeting can cause mould and mildew which are gross, and cause rust to form on the metal floor beneath. Many owners are aware of the issue, and have had luck having their Kia dealers remedy the leak. 

Consider a pre-purchase inspection at a Kia dealership, and ask the inspecting mechanic to check for signs of an oil leak around the oil pressure sensor, which could cause issues. In severe cases, a leaking oil pressure sensor can cause oil to drip into a puddle beneath the vehicle. This isn’t overly common, but can cause problems including oil pressure warning light in the instrument cluster. Here’s a bit more reading.

Have the mechanic check the suspension bushings, tires and brakes for signs of excessive wear. If he finds any, call it into pricing negotiations. A quick on-the-hoist inspection of the used ride you’re considering can reveal plenty about its former life and how well it was cared for. If careless off-roading or endless trips down pothole-riddled roads have left bushings, sway-bar links or shocks in need of some lovin, now’s the time to find out. Note that worn suspension components often generate clunking, clicking or popping noises audible from within the vehicle on a test-drive, so be sure to kill the stereo and listen for them.

If the Sorento you’re considering has push-button start, be sure to start and shut down the engine several times on your test-drive. Any failure to start quickly or fully shut off could indicate a problem with the push-button ignition switch.

Feel the automatic transmission shifting, especially in newer models. Note that any hard shifting or hesitation is likely caused by a faulty computer brain which controls the gearbox, and likely, a solenoid inside of it. The fix is typically a simple reprogramming of the computer that controls the transmission. Here’s some more reading and discussion.

Remember that automatic transmissions typically require a fluid and filter change, just like the vehicle’s engine itself, at pre-set intervals. Be sure the vehicle’s seller was fond of making these changes. On-time transmission service has a tremendous positive effect on long-term durability. Not sure when the transmission fluid was last changed on the Sorento you’re considering? Budget to have the job done ASAP.

The Verdict

Most reported issues with this generation Kia Sorento should be easy to detect and diagnose on a test drive, with the majority being fairly minor. Note that a newer model with plenty of Kia’s lengthy warranty coverage remaining is ideal for maximum confidence.

A list of recalls.

Crash Test Results

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): 5/5 Stars (2014 / 2015)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): Top Safety Pick (2011)

The second-generation of Kia’s popular SUV, the Sorento, launched for model year 2010 with an all-new platform, new engines and new... 3/19/2015 10:26:20 AM