really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,402 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

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problem #13

May 292014


  • 37,413 miles
Kia installed four passenger seat sensor pads in my 2009 and a new air bag module. While it was all covered by warranty work, now I paid $133.54 to have it checked again, and they want me to pay an estimate of $2535.34 plus tax to have the new sensor installed. I talked to a manager for Kia and they said it was not there problem. It is a problem between me and the dealer where I bought the car, it seems to me that the dealer replaced the parts as long as it was under warranty but they never fixed the problem.( what do I do}

- Red Bank, NJ, USA

problem #12

Aug 012010


  • 10,000 miles
Air bag is off light comes on the dash for the passenger side even if an adult is in the seat. I took it to the dealer 2 times while under warranty and the first time they said the computer just needed to be reset. The second time they said we were not sitting in the seat correctly. I told him I weighed 190 lbs that the whole seat was covered with my bottom. They said nothing was wrong with the sensor. I showed them pictures of my phone showing we were driving down the road and the light came on. They didn't seam to care. It still malfunctions about 80%, the warranty ran out a while ago. The light will come on while your sitting still and it will come on in the middle of driving. The only way to get it back off is to stop the vehicle and get out and sit down again, but it will usually deactivates again

- Madisonville, TN, USA

problem #11

Jan 152016


  • 87,573 miles
My 2009 Kia Sorento (87810 miles) has had electrical problems since 2014. In Sept 2014, while warranty was void due to over 60, 000 miles) I had trouble with the dashboard illumination lights when the headlights were turned on. $1,000+ dollars later, dimmer switch, instrument cluster, and rheostat circuit were repaired. In December 2015, started to happen again but now the air bag light came on and won't go off. Took in January, and $275 more, replaced dimmer switch again and cleaned the connection to air bag sensor. Three days later, the air bag light is on again. Further inspection and it is determined the the "OCS" sensor needs to be replaced to the tune of $1900 for parts and $200 for labor.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #10

Oct 232015


  • 96,000 miles
My son was traveling on a main road in town when the car hydroplaned at about 30 mph and he lost control. It sent him slamming into a culvert, then it bounced out of the culvert and ran up on a residential porch and hit a tree. The drivers side took the majority of the impact. None of the airbags deployed (front or side). He was slammed into the drivers door panel and the center console. He has continuing pain in his back.

- Kaufman, TX, USA

problem #9

Oct 232015


  • 92,000 miles
The drivers side airbag deployed while backing up in a parking lot. I traveled approximately 6-10 feet turning left in reverse at maybe 1-2 mph if that much. The vehicle was not hit nor did it hit anything to cause this airbag to deploy and the horn to stay on. When airbag deployed, the steering wheel cover when forced open gashed left thumb. Auto insurance will not cover defects. Trying to work with Kia motors to replace defective parts and make vehicle safe. Unknown at this time if they will fix. Other Kia vehicles have had airbag problems from my research. Service manager at dealership said it was out of warranty, but my attorney said defects are not a warranty issue and my vehicle is within the product liability period.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #8

May 112015


  • 118,000 miles
Passenger side, front, airbag indicator works only some of the time with adult passenger.

- Fremont, MI, USA

problem #7

Sep 012014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 33,100 miles
First noticed in the Sept. Time period that the passenger airbag off light remained illuminated even after my wife sat down, and even if she tried shifting around to activate the seat sensor. My wife weighs more than 120 lbs. About 10% of the time the system senses her presence from her first sitting down, while that rises to about 75% if she shifts around to activate the sensor. Communication on the web and the austin dealership service representative noted that Kia has had problems with activation of the front passenger seat sensor. In particular, Kia had a safely recall SC 076 a (covering 2007-2008 Kia Sorentos) which had symptoms identical to what we now are experiencing. The dealership service representative and the Kia telephone help line claim my vehicle is not covered by that recall.

- Belton, TX, USA

problem #6

Feb 022014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 77,935 miles
I was driving on black top rd. It had been sleeting the Kia I was driving veered off the opposite side of rd. I went off in ditch hitting a tree head on my air bag didn't deploy I would like to know why is this normal I don't think so I thought that is what they were for my injuries were sprained wrist & neck & back & my breast bone hurts I was driving a 2009 Kia Sorento looking forward to your reply does this happen very often to this make of vehicle?

- Crofton , KY, USA

problem #5

Jun 092013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 61,850 miles
'passenger air bag off' light on repeatedly with a passenger in seat and after turning engine off and on and re-positioning of passenger more than 1 dozen times! this vehicle was purchased used as a replacement vehicle, after surviving being hit head-on, severely injured and our vehicle destroyed. Air bags helped save our lives. The Sorento has had this problem since date of purchase in February 2010. We have repeatedly talked to Kia headquarters and dealerships regarding this problem. Normal passenger is much heavier than 120 lb "gray area" noted to affect activation. One dealership printed a readout "proving" usual passenger "sits light" - advised adjusting sitting position. Yesterday temps in AZ exceeded 110 degrees and the problem was severe. The light came on when vehicle was started, would go off and come back on as soon as the shifting lever was moved. The passenger lifted and readjusted each time to no avail. This process was repeated each time the vehicle was started. Often the light comes on when shifting into reverse to exit driveway or parking place, with no movement from passenger. This is a serious safety hazard!! must someone die before Kia corrects this problem"!"! (air bag should always be activated!!!!!) Kia should be mandated to fix this life threatening problem before fatalities occur!!!!!!!! correction of this problem is surely less expensive than lawsuits for injuries/deaths caused by inactive air bags!

- Arizona City, AZ, USA

problem #4

Jan 012010

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
After numerous attempts to have problem fixed, Kia states that it is normal that the passenger air bag sensor does not always detect person on seat. What bs!!! numerous complaints on this issue. What does it take to get a recall" someone dying? or multiple"

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #3

Dec 152009


  • 100 miles
Vehicle has has repeated issues with passenger air bag sensor not recognizing 120 lb. Female passenger. Took vehicle to dealer (fisher Kia in boulder, co) and was told air bag had a "gray area" between 80-120 lbs where it may not activate properly. I find this completely unacceptable and feel unsafe driving the vehicle with passenger airbag deactivated with my wife in passenger seat.

- Aspen, CO, USA

problem #2

Jan 032011

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2009 Kia Sorento. Consumer states that passenger side airbag light indicated the airbag was disabled. The dealer told consumer that his wife didn't weigh enough for the airbag system to register.

- Hico, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 282010


  • 7,253 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the air bag light illuminated when someone was seated in the passenger seat and would not turn off until the vehicle was shut off. The contact called the manufacturer who advised him to take the vehicle to the dealership for a repair. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership where the air bag sensor was replaced but the failure continued. The vehicle had not been repaired successfully. The current mileage was approximately 9,000. The failure mileage was 7,253.

- Austin, TX, USA