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The Expected Mileage Of A Kia Sorento

The Expected Mileage Of A Kia Sorento

How many miles can the American-manufactured Kia Sorento last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Sorento, that’s, of course, a very reasonable question to ask. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:

On average, a Kia Sorento lasts between 230.000 – 270.000 miles. A Sorento needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.29 times per year, with an 11% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, Sorento owners spend an average of $533 per year on repair costs.

Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below we’ll first explain in more detail how many miles a Sorento can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Sorento costs per year and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!

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How Many Miles Can A Kia Sorento Last?

The Kia Sorento is a mid-size crossover made to look like an SUV that has been produced by the South Korean car manufacturer since 2002 and has recently gained popularity in the US. With increased interest comes increased scrutiny. 

When buying a car, its quality and reliability are among the most important considerations because that translates into longevity and lower cost of yearly average maintenance. 

In this blog series, we look at the reliability and longevity of Kia Sorento. We will analyze a sample of Kia Sorentos on the road and determine how many of these have logged more than 150,000 miles.

We used data from several different databases dealing with the sale of used Kia Sorentos. The data were filtered based on the mileage group of all the Kia Sorentos, as shown below.

Number Of MilesPercentage Of Cars
Cars With 150.000+2.24%
Cars With 100.000 – 149.00010.98%
Cars With 45.000 – 99.99940.35%
Cars With 0 – 44.99946.43%

The table shows that more than half of all the Kia Sorentos have or a mileage below 45,000 miles and that close to 87% are still below 100,000 miles. As far as longevity is concerned, the figure of interest is the percentage of Sorento with more than 150,000 miles, which is 2.24%. 

This percentage is below the 3-5% quality benchmark figure but is somewhat acceptable as most cars tend to fall between 2%-3%. However, we can not make the final judgment just yet. We have many other reliability tests that we will perform on the Kia Sorento to determine whether or not it’s reliable. 

How Reliable Is A Kia Sorento Compared To Its Competitors?

Next, we compare the Sorento with other popular crossover SUVs for longevity. Same as before, we are interested in the number of each vehicle with more than 150,000 miles on the road. We used the same method as before for compatibility.

ModelSample SizeCars With 150.000+ Miles% Percentage Of Cars With 150.000+Highest Mileage
Kia Sorento10,7602412.24%400,000+
Ford Explorer30,0318142.71%400,000+
Honda Pilot11,3328377.39%370,000
Lexus RX91385205.69%310,000
Toyota Highlander16,0508025.00%380,000

With a whopping 7.39% of sampled cars above 150,000 miles, the Honda Pilot is top of the pedestal, followed by the Lexus RX and Toyota Highlander. The figures for Ford Explorer and Kia Sorento do not paint a good picture of reliability. 

The second figure in this table is the car with the highest mileage. With 636,435 miles on one of the Kia Sorentos, it makes it way ahead of the pack, which means that, if appropriately maintained, the Sorento can last a long time. 

However, the above data generally shows that the Honda Pilot, Lexus RX, and Toyota Highlander are more rugged and reliable and likely to last longer.

How Reliable Is A Kia Sorento Compared to Other Kias?

In this section, several Kia models were put to the test of mileage battle, which will determine how these stack up against each other. The Kia Rio comes up at the top with 2.7% of cars above 150,000 miles. The sample size for Rio is, however, relatively small. The Sorento has a larger sample size, and with 2.24%, it is the best of the lot, followed closely by the Kia Soul.

ModelSample SizeCars With 150.000+ Miles% Percentage Of Cars With 150.000+Highest Mileage
Kia Sorento10,7602412.24%636,435
Kia Sportage6916921,33%251,32
Kia Forte8,694780.90%208,623
Kia Soul68461532,23%275,049
Kia Rio1444392.7%268,433

One reason for the smaller sample size of some models is that it is only recently that Kia has been able to emerge from the shadows of the big names such as the Toyotas, Hondas, Chevrolets, etc., and has carved a niche of its own. With increased customer satisfaction, these numbers are expected to improve in the coming years.

How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?

Over the years, the one common denominator that we have noted repeatedly is a well-maintained car lasts longer. However, maintenance has a cost associated with it. Some cars require less maintenance than others and hence have more aftersale value.

The table below captures the yearly cost of maintaining Kia Sorento starting in 2019 and ending in 2007. There was insufficient data for 2020 to 2022, so these have not been included.

Model YearAnnual Maintenance Cost

It is evident from the above data that the 2010-2014 Sorentos are expensive to maintain, which could mean more problems and hence not a good buy as a used car. The 2017 and 2018 models seem more reliable, given the lower maintenance cost. The 2019 model, although relatively new, costs quite a bit to maintain.

From the data, the average yearly cost comes out to $483. Let us compare this to its competitors. The Toyota Highlander costs $472 yearly, the Honda Pilot costs $506, and the Ford Explorer an expensive $641, which then means that Sorento is comparable to the other Japanese SUVs in the study and, except for some model years, is a good bet when looking for a used one.

Kia Sorento Common Problems

All cars need maintenance because things wear down and need to be replaced.

Some problems occur more frequently than others, becoming a stigma for that particular car. This section will list some of Sorento’s major recurring issues, the cause of the problem, and the repair cost where available.

NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.

Engine Problems

The Kia Sorento has been haunted by a fair share of engine problems. Some model years, such as 2011 to 2017, are plagued with engine issues, with 2011 and 2012 particularly notorious.

The 2011 and 2012 models reported catastrophic engine failures preceded by knocking and rattling noises. On one cited website, this particular problem is rated a 9.4 out of 10 for severity. The average repair cost is $4600 for the 2011 model year and $6500 for the 2012 model. Other model years with a similar problem were 2003 to 2008 and 2013.

2016 and 2017 were the other model years with a history of engine failure. These severe issues rated 8.5 and cost around $6,400 to repair.

Premature Headlight Burning

The problem here is that the headlights burn prematurely, meaning before the average expected time. Besides headlights, other bulbs are prone to a similar issue. The model years affected are 2003 to 2016. The average mileage when this problem is reported is 79,000 miles. The cost of headlight bulb replacement is between $146 and $153.

AC Compressor issue

The model years 2003 to 2009 and 2011 to 2014 have reported the problem of a defective AC compressor clutch assembly, which results in pronounced noise and vibration when the AC is turned on. Usually, you don’t have to replace the compressor or recharge the air conditioning system when replacing the clutch assembly. 

Timing Chain Tensioner

An issue with the timing chain tensioner results in an excessively noisy engine at startup. If this happens, then the first thing to check is the engine oil level, and if that is ok, the issue may be due to the timing chain tensioner. Kia released an update to solve this timing chain problem. 

The model years affected were 2003, 2005–2009, 2011, and 2015 and the cost of resolution is $780 to $900.

Ignition Coil Failure

The 2003-2007, 2011-2012, and 2014 to 2016 Sorento models have an issue with engine misfiring due to a failed ignition coil. There is a likelihood that if one fails, then another failure is inevitable. Thus, it is prudent to consider replacing all coils if such a failure occurs. An Ignition Coil Replacement is going to cost you about $400.

Transmission Issues

Earlier models of Kia, including Sorento, had poor transmission quality. Things have changed, and Kia now has a very reliable transmission. The problems included slipped transmission, non-engagement, delayed shifting, and other related issues. These were often caused by low transmission fluid, but the software was the cause in some cases.

Also, check if the transmission fluid is at the right level. If not, top it up to the required level; otherwise, it would help if you took it to the dealer for a software update.

Is A Kia Sorento A Smart Buy?

Until 2017, Kia had been full of issues, one way or another, which dented its reputation. But since then, Kia has taken a U-turn and drastically improved its quality. Now, Kia cars are spoken of in the same breath as the other major car manufacturers. In terms of comfort and infotainment, it ranks right up there with the best. 

So is the Kia Sorento a smart buy? Some models are best avoided, such as from 2003 to 2012 and 2016 to 2017. However, this does not mean that a Sorento from this period is a sure bet to fail or have problems. 

When looking for a Sorento in the used market, look for one that is well maintained and prefer the one kept through an authorized dealership. Furthermore, you would also have to consider the depreciation, which stands at 55% after five years on the road. 

Kia Sorento Maintenance Schedule

Any car not appropriately maintained is more likely to develop issues that can lead to a significant breakdown. A well-maintained vehicle is most likely to last longer. One of the essential cogs of good maintenance is following the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance plan and carried out by authorized technicians.

The following is the recommended maintenance schedule for Sorento as recommended by Kia.

7500 Miles Or Six Months/22,500 Miles or 18 Months/52,500 Miles or 42 Months/82,500 Miles or 66 Months

  • Rotate tire
  • Battery inspection
  • Air cleaner filter inspection
  • Vacuum hose inspection
  • Replace engine oil and filter
  • Add fuel additive

15,000 Miles or 12 Months/30,000 Miles or 24 Months

This maintenance schedule includes everything from the previous one but includes the following also:

  • Air conditioning refrigerant inspection
  • Drive shafts and boots inspection
  • Inspect exhaust pipe and muffler
  • Complete front brake and rear brake inspection including hoses and lines
  • Inspect propeller shaft (AWD)
  • Steering gear box inspection including, linkage & boots/lower arm ball joint, upper arm ball joint
  • Suspension mounting bolts inspection
  • Climate control air filter replacement

45,000 Miles or 36 Months

  • Inspect battery condition
  • Inspect air cleaner filter
  • Rotate tire
  • Inspect vacuum hose
  • Inspect air conditioning refrigerant
  • Inspect drive shafts and boots
  • Inspect front brake disc/pads, calipers
  • Inspect exhaust pipe and muffler
  • Inspect brake hoses and lines
  • Inspect propeller shaft (AWD)
  • Inspect rear brake disc/pads
  • Inspect suspension mounting bolts
  • Inspect steering gear box, linkage & boots/lower arm ball joint, upper arm ball joint
  • Climate control air filter replacement (for evaporator and blower unit)
  • Replace engine oil and filter
  • Add fuel additive

60,000 Miles or 48 Months/90,000 Miles or 72 Months

  • Rotate tire
  • Inspect battery condition
  • Inspect air cleaner filter
  • Inspect vacuum hose
  • Inspect air conditioning refrigerant
  • Inspect brake hoses and lines
  • Inspect drive shafts and boots
  • Inspect exhaust pipe and muffler
  • Inspect front brake disc/pads, calipers
  • Inspect propeller shaft (AWD)
  • Inspect rear brake disc/pads
  • Inspect steering gear box, linkage & boots/lower arm ball joint, upper arm ball joint
  • Inspect suspension mounting bolts
  • Brake fluid check
  • Fuel filter check
  • Inspect fuel lines, fuel hoses and connections
  • Fuel tank air filter check
  • Parking brake inspection
  • Inspect vapor hose and fuel filler cap, fuel tank
  • Replace climate control air filter (for evaporator and blower unit)
  • Replace air cleaner filter
  • Inspect drive belts (First, 60,000 miles (96,000 km) or 72 months after every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) or 24 months) *5
  • Inspect brake fluid
  • Inspect fuel filter
  • Inspect fuel lines, fuel hoses and connections
  • Inspect fuel tank air filter (if equipped)
  • Inspect parking brake
  • Inspect vapor hose and fuel filler cap, fuel tank
  • Inspect valve clearance
  • Replace climate control air filter
  • Replace engine oil and filter
  • Add fuel additive
  • Replace air cleaner filter
  • Replace coolant

Other Maintenance Tips

Besides the scheduled maintenance there are other tips that will help keep your car in good condition.

  • Keep your SUV clean.
  • Protect it from direct sunlight. It will save the paint from fading and the dashboard from cracking.
  • Periodically give your Sorento rust protection treatment.
  • Wax and polish the body.
  • Check the owner’s manual
  • Avoid sudden acceleration and braking. Avoid sharp turns at high speed. Slow down over speed bumps.
  • Top up fluids regularly.
  • Regularly check tire pressure.

Closing Thoughts

When considering a Kia Sorento, longevity and maintenance costs are critical factors. With a lifespan averaging between 230,000 to 270,000 miles and relatively low yearly repair costs, the Sorento emerges as a sensible choice for those seeking durability and value. While no car is free from occasional issues, understanding the Sorento’s typical problems and costs can help you make an informed decision. In short, if you’re looking for an SUV that offers both reliability and economic sensibility, the Kia Sorento stands as a strong contender.


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