Kia Ownership Sucks

So in the fall of 2011, with a kid on the way, my wife and I decided to jettison my 2005 Subaru WRX (105,000 miles) in favor of a new 2012 Kia Sorento. The Subaru was a great car — it wasn’t without it’s issues, to be sure — and I find myself frequently wishing we’d kept it.

Thus far, the Kia has been a mixed bag. It’s a comfortable car, and it’s well-appointed for the price tag, but getting service done has been a bit of a pain, and the thing has had all sorts of crazy issues.

Cold Weather

Oh dear god, this is infuriating. In the first two months, the dashboard started creaking like crazy in cold weather. I mentioned it to the dealer and was promptly blown off. When I took it in for some minor service, I was told, “Oh, yeah, that’s a known issue.” They tore the dashboard apart and installed little foam pads under the dash which ameliorated a large amount (but not all) of the problem. That was in 2011.

Winter of 2012 hit, and in November, I was back in the dealership for the same issue, as the creaking came back with a vengeance.

Cheap Brakes

I’m not sure what they put on the Kia for brakes, but they’re garbage. Lots of creaking and growling during low speed braking, for starters. (And of course the dealership will tell you that they can’t replicate the problem.) The problem is magnified in cold and wet conditions. And it’s infuriating. This car is barely over a year old and it sounds (and brakes) like a 1976 Ford Pinto.

Parts Availability

One of my heated seats (the driver’s side) died in early November. When I brought it in for service, they said they’d cover it under warranty. I don’t remember when that was — early January, I think. They said they’d call me. Last week, I finally broke down and called them. They said the element was on backorder and that they’d call me. I got the call today, Feb. 13th to inform me that they should have it on the 25th. Just in time for spring.

Fuel Economy

The stickers you see in the Kia dealership are absolute fucking bullshit lies. On a full tank, leaving the gas station, the gauge will tell me that it’s good for 411 miles (22 MPG). Within a mile, that number usually falls to about 380 miles (21.1 MPG). So much for the 28 MPG on the sticker, huh?


This was my first Kia. It is likely to be my last. Between the shoddy assembly, the second-rate parts, the outright deception on the fuel economy, and the piss-poor attitude from the dealership, making the choice to own another Kia would be insane.

5 thoughts on “Kia Ownership Sucks”

  1. When it comes to cars, it doesn’t make sense to jump for the cheapest available. Why settle for a cheap east asian car when you will be so unhappy with it for years?

    • I’d argue that $28K is hardly the cheapest available. And what are you saying? That I should go with something American or European?

  2. Kia IS made with cheap parts and they will LIE and do ANYTHING TO get out of honoring the Warranty. It’s amazing. Total sham of a company.

  3. Damn 28k for a Kia? You got burned bro. You could have gotten a base model BMW or Buick for 5k more. Much higher quality

    • Yeah, a base model BMW sedan, which wouldn’t work for me with rear-facing kids’ seats in the back. As it turned out, the Sorento sucked like hell for that, too — had my knees up against the glovebox when I was in the passenger seat. We wound up ditching it in 2014 for a brand-new Honda Odyssey EXL which, while somewhat emasculating, is a pretty sweet ride for the money.

      As for a Buick, I try to avoid American-made cars.

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