Ch-Ch-Changes: 2012 Kia Sorento, Sportage

Kia SorentoKia has made some alterations to its midsize and compact crossovers, the 2012 Kia Sorento and Sportage. The most notable of them is a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine for the Sorento.

The Sorento is the brand's best-selling vehicle, so the new engine should be a welcome change. The current 2.4-liter engine returns a respectable 21/29 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive. We'd expect the direct-injection version to get better mileage. We're unsure if Kia will continue to keep the current 2.4-liter as a bargain model alongside the new engine and the optional V-6. The 2012 Sorento should be reaching dealers now, the Sportage will go on sale in late June. More updates for the Sorento and Sportage are below.

2012 Kia Sorento changes:

  • New direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, similar to the one found in the 2011 Kia Optima 
  • Available power folding side mirrors on all trims 
  • New dual exhaust system with four-cylinder powertrains 
  • New cloth seat fabric materials that supposedly reduce staining and static electricity 
  • Availability of the new Uvo hands-free entertainment system 
  • Third-row seating is no longer standard on LX V-6 trims, but it’s still an option  
  • Cooled seats standard on SX trims, available on EX trims 
  • New three-position heated seats optional on LX and EX, standard on SX 
  • A heated steering wheel with wood trim and upgraded cloth pillar trim standard on SX
  • New backup warning and sonar available on all trims (LX optional, EX/SX standard) 

The Sportage gets some similar updates, but no on-sale date was given.

2012 Kia Sportage changes:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels are now standard on LX trim 
  • Uvo system now optional in EX and SX trims 
  • New seat fabric materials (same as the Sorento’s) 

A 2012 Sedona is also arriving at dealers now, but there aren’t many changes for the model.

By Colin Bird | May 16, 2011 | Comments (43)



"The Sorento is the brand's best-selling vehicle..."

This should change with new Optima (I think)...


I work at a Kia dealership we just started getting some '12 sorentos in. The 2.4 gdi engine is rated at 32 mpg HWY in the fwd (that's huge!). It IS in fact an option above the older 2.4 engine (at least for the time being).

@Tony Not by a long shot. Kia sold nearly twice as many Sorentos in April, over the new Optima. Optima was outsold by the Forte, too.


Early this year the Sorento SX received the DFD shocks to improve the ride. At the time it was reported that the rest of the Sorento line would get the DFD shocks in the Fall.
Do the 2012 updates include DFD shocks for either the Sorento or Sportage?


One of my buds who sells Kia tells me that when he gets in the new 2012 Sorento later this month it will be a great month for him since he has six of them pre-sold per pre-order since mid-March. This audacious pal of mine even offered to give me top dollar if I traded my wife's 2008 Highlander Limited AWD for a 2012 Sorento SX with leather. ROTFLMAO! The new Sorento may be good, but it isn't THAT good!


Before you totally blow it off, go drive one. Highlander is in the top 10 vehicles most traded for the Sorento. The Highlander is sub-par at best.


highdesertcat ,

exactly! Some people are jumping Kia bandwagon but the reality is that it is untested vehicle. And Highlander is a front runner in reliability, smoothness, comfort. Very nice car, the Highlander.


XcKj and Tony, our 2008 Highlander was the very first foreign-brand vehicle we have ever bought in our lives and was the result of my wife retiring her 1992 Towncar. Our experience with the Highlander has been so good that it motivated me to buy a 2011 Tundra SR5 DC 5.7 this past January, replacing my 2006 F150. No doubt the Sorento is a much better vehicle today than it was 3, 5, or 7 years ago, but from where it was it had no place to go but up in quality. I wouldn't trade a Jap-built Highlander for anything, which includes a new Explorer. Now, a US-built Highlander? They've had QC problems and recalls. Then again, when the foreigners started building them in the US for US consumption using US suppliers their quality tumbled to the level of the US-domestic manufacturers. Sad, but true. Let's see how well the new-fangled Sorento and Explorer hold up over the next 3-5 years before declaring them the greatest thing since toilet paper replacing corn cobs. I'll stick with our Highlander based on our excellent experience with it. Dependable as an appliance: it starts when it needs to, goes when it has to, and stops when we want it to. In my experience Toyota makes great stuff. I can't say that about the US-domestic cars and trucks I have owned in my 64 years of living. They always needed TLC and a lot of repair to keep them running.


I want to echo Mark's question above. Will the 2012 Sportage receive better shocks to improve its ride? I know Hyundai is selling its Tucson Limited models with the Sachs adaptive dampers.


So your highlander has been reliable for the first 3 years of ownership? Wow, I'm sold.


It is humorous to me that all of these different SUV reviews (i.e. Explorer, Sorento) all manage to flip into a discussion about the Highlander. Bash it as you may, but it is so popular that you guys continue to discuss it.

Even more amusing are the folks who bash the Highlander when A> they never have owned one B> have never driven one more than 2 miles and C> have no working knowledge of the automotive industry to form a trustworthy opinion.

Everyone I know that owns a Highlander absolutely loves it. They're reliable, efficient and comfortable.

I think the same people keep bringing the Highlander up devolving the comments. But whatever, good comparison since the 3rd row is relatively small in both.



I admit. I have Highlander too. 2009 2.7L. It had bad water pump @ 1.5 years and alignment was off on 1 wheel in less then a year (don't know why) We drive on good roads but I noticed feathering on tires and this made me check alignment.
So. Dunlop tires suck. Water Pump. Aligment.
3 problems in 1.5 years. To soften the verdict I can say that my 2.7L Hldr was one of the first ones that arrived to America.
None of these issues stopped me from driving it any time.

Yes, I had 3 dealer visits in 2.5 years. But it is still not as bad as many Kias. My co-worker makes 3-5 visits per year with his Kia Minivan.

And in the case of V6 Highlanders, they are bullet proof. At least when they were made in Japan. From the first model, they just run.

And besides this, Highlander has unprecedented comfort on 2 rows. Traveling to the beach last year for 10 hours we registered 27, 28, 30 mpg on our 2.7L with A/C. My wife drives it basically city-style and slow style. She gets 19.5-20 mpg city. When I take it to work I make 23-24 mpg 80% Highway
I can't complain. This is nice, proven machine in general, however I admit that my particular setup with new Engine and Transmission is not a proven car. Therefore I can only say that as highdesertcat mentioned the Highlander brings high rate of satisfaction. It assembled with precision unlike Camrys. Its steering is also much better then Camry's. It is very very nice machine.


I apologize to David Thomas if my bringing up my own experience with our Highlander has devolved from the comments that he prefers to see. It was not my intent to do so. I found it audacious of my friend to offer me top dollar for our 2008 Highlander were I to trade it for a 2012 Kia Sorento V6 SX with leather. Let's wait about five years to see how good this new Sorento turns out to be in the real world. We already know about the Sorento of the past. That is part of automotive history. When it comes time to trade the old Highlander in 2013 I'll look at everything that's out there at that time and will, once again, pick the best of the bunch. Whatever it turns out to be, it has got to work for me.


Anyone know if Kia will be offering a power liftgate on the Sorento in 2012?

Mark of Excellence

Is Sorrento considered a compact SUV like CRV or does it compete with the mid sizers like Pilot? The interior really has an upscale look.

Just Steve

The Dual Damper Shocks are now on all new KIA's across the board. No power lift gate is available...the Sorento is right in the middle of the pack in size between CUV's and SUV's, and in ammenities matches brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc. If you choose the SX it actually has included items that aren't even available on some vehicles in it's class. The 100,000 mile 10 year powertrain warranty is completely ahead of everyone else.

Just Steve

More update info...the 2012 KIA Sorento line gets some really terrific upgrades. The 2.4L 4 cyl engine gets direct injection, 17 more HP, 5 more miles per gallon and gets the dual chrome exhaust tips. Also cloth interior window pillars instead of hard plastic, power folding mirrors, heated steering wheels, ventilated front seats with position memory, passenger power seat, sonar backup sensors in addition to the rear view camers, 3 heat settings on front seats instead of last years one, more models get the UVO voice controlled bluetooth and stereo system and navigation,
17" wheels and tires on all models now.

big kev

as a owner of a 2012 sorento ,i've had some transmission problems. soon aftr the first 600 miles. the truck moves forward in the park position while after the engine is started.


I have been searching for a couple weeks now. I have a 2012 Kia and have the exact same problem. The car jumps when started and in park. It does not happen everytime. We took it to the dealer and they said it was fine, but is still doing this. Please post if you get resolution.

Chris G

I'm 36 and have never bought an foreign car. When my wife called me and wanted to trade her paid off limited 2005 Jeep for the SX I told her sure but thought she was nuts. Tried to find things to complain about but fell in love! My Dad with a Taurus Limited and Explorer Limited topped out to the max thought we were crazy. Once they saw it and drove it then it all changed! I still get some teasing me about lets see how it last. I have a bumper to bumper Warr for 5 years! Thats right it will be covvered untill I pay it off! Can you say that about your car?


Kia has come a long way and I am giving them a shot next year with the 2013 Sportage SX. The drive and ride is so amazing. This is coming from some one who was so in love with Lincoln...(still in love with) but I can not deal with paying $96 to fill my Navigator up with gas every three to four days. Kia has the room, the looks and options to win most people over. I have a feeling that Hyundai/Kia will take the top spot with the way sales are going and just think most of their vehicles were designed by people from the US....


I bought a 2012 Kia Sorento SX and I love it! It has the 6 cyclinder which has get up and go! The options are amazing there is nothing it doesnt have. I would never pay $20,000 more for some of the competition when you can have all of this for alot less! and the better warranty to boot.

Dave Fellner

I just bought a 2012 Sorento EX 6 cyl. on 8/26 and right off the bat, literally the first time starting the engine after leaving the dealership, I noticed the same problem as big kev is having. Intermittently on cold starts while in park, the suv jerks forward along with a clunking sound. The vehicle itself does not move but it has the sensation of being put into gear when it is actually still in park. Bringing it back to the dealership on 9/6. I certainly hope it's a simple fix otherwise I guess Kia will be buying me a new Highlander instead!

Robert V

I bought a new Kia Sorento SX V6 approximately 4 weeks ago. Last week I had the same problem Dave Fellner and Big Kev experienced. It's been at the dealer for almost a week and they keep telling me that they are working on the problem. Yesterday they told me that a Kia specialist was coming in to hopefully correct whatever the problem is. I sure hope so.


I can't believe that they still don't have a power liftgate, the dealer says that that is the biggest request they get from people looking at them, they pack so many great features into the vehicle and leave out such an important one, looks like I'll be waiting another year to see if they finally get smart and add it.


I bought top of the line Sorento LX in mid-September. The sports shocks call to drive it much more aggressively than my current XTerra, but I will not push it as hard as my wife's X3 - I did some tests and the Kumho tires are not adequate to the sportiness of the car - they go into skidding on aggressive deceleration. Another annoying detail about the sports shocks is that on uneven pavement there is violent vibration. Also, traveling at about 70pmh on a highway patch that was recently repaired, the suspension entered some sort of resonance oscillation, with effect very similar to the one produced by unbalanced tires. So it's quite sensitive to the pavement and I'm not sure I will trust that car off-road. Big annoyance: engine shuts off on highway at about 75mph when I flip the gear between Overdrive and Neutral. I just like coasting with engine disengaged, do it all the time with my manual transmission cars. Sorento wend dead on me in the middle of Hwy 95 between Philly and Baltimore. Pulled off, parked, restarted the engine by pressing the "Start" button. Thought it's a once-in-a-lifetime glitch. Read the manual. It says you can re-start the engine while moving, with the gear in Neutral. So next day the same thing happens to me, also on a highway, after I accelerate to about 75mph and put gear into the Neutral. Engine dies, I try to re-start, but the system cycles through the ignition states as if I'm in Parked gear. So had to pull off again, put in Parked gear, press the break, start the engine. So, while I love the car and totally adore the iPhone integration and all the luxury, which is really on par with BMW at $20K cheaper than X5, I would be the first one to say that a BMW it is not. But very good package overall. If I don't get killed driving to the dealership, will post follow-up.


Have had a 2012 EX V6 AWD for several months now. Fantasic machine. Absolutely nothing has gone wrong with it. No 'jumping' when started in park like some claim. Steering responsive and firm, yet not tough. Ride is no harder than my Mazda3. You get used to it in the first couple thousand miles. I did some light 'off-roading' a few weeks ago at my in-law's ranch (5 miles of dips deep enough to almost not clear) and it handled it like a champ and with no rattles at all in the cabin. Very happy with this vehicle.

The Kia Sportage is fine. It is a decent vehicle. I mean, if you compare it to what it was years ago, it has definitely improved. Granted, there are still some kinks and problematic areas, so that's why the warranty of a Kia is great!


I am having the same transmission problem on my 2012 with the v6. The auto dim rear view mirror also does not work. Taking it in this week. Otherwise I love it.


Posting a follow-up as promised. The engine shutoff while in motion switching from drive to neutral occurred only two times. KIA diagnostics found nothing and the incident never happened again. The parking assist is not working though - when backing, the mirror doesn't tilt to show the curb. Otherwise, I love the car - 21mpg in mixed driving, very responsive and practical with the 3rd seat row. KIA just announced their best sales quarter ever. They are a major brand now to stay.


We just purchased a new 2012 Sportage, haven't even got our license plates yet, or made our first car payment, and we are loving the luxury of the car, we went with the fully loaded top of the line. Today our navigation system stopped working, it is just frozed. The radio still works, but the navigation system will not move past the first screen, we are unable to hit the OK we will drive safely options. We cannot access the voice map, dest, route or setup screens. We hit the reset button three times and it is still frozen. We researched cars for six months before buying this car and hands down you cannot get all of these options on any other car for this price, but if it starts to fall apart this early on I am wondering if you get what you pay for. Has anyone else had problems with the navigation system?


i have purchased a kia sportage about 3 weeks ago and was told end of march for delivery. Just had phone call to say it will now be April. Is there a problem with making the car? Why such a delay?


just wandering if anyone knows if there are any modifications i can make to my 2012 kia sorento to become more handicap assessable. we are trying to get a lowering kit, but the car customs shops are telling us there is nothing for it. any suggestions would be appreciated!!

Jack DAMann


Our 2012 Sorento SX is in the shop right now for the same Nav screen issue. Radio works but can't get past the Caution disclaimer screen in Nav. 1400 miles and broke already!

Jack DAMann

Plan on having a new radio installed by dealer under warranty. There is no fix for the screen locking up in NAV. Just had new one put in from dealer. Pain is dealing with Sirius to xfr the plan over


I posted in 2011 about the lack of a power lift gate and now the 2013 is out and the idiots at KIA still haven't added a power lift gate, my question is WHY? The dealer says it's their biggest feature request


2012 SX with same issue on Nav system. It just sits on agree screen but agree button is grayed out. Acts like its initializing voice activation then nothing. Radio and Sirius are fine. Seems like an easy fix we just don't understand yet but no luck w reset button either.


I have a 2012 Kia Sorento - the Navigation system stopped working at 3,000 miles - was replaced with a refurbished system and stopped working the next day and was replaced for a 2nd time (this time supposedly with a brand new system). Now at 12,000 miles and will be getting it replaced for the third time - again with a refurbished unit. The service manager actually told me that even though I paid a lot of money for the system that there are other ways now (like iphone) to navigate with!?!?!?


Same issue with NAV system - uugghhh.. I was hoping and looking for an easy fix - doesn't look like it. I'm at 23,500k miles. Haven't tried reset button, but will, hopefully with positive results...


KIA 2011 Nav system not working. have extended warranty and they said not covered and 7,000 to replace


Anyone Auto Manufacturer Can Say, Look What We Have.

We Have A 10 Year / 100,000 Mile Warranty.

Wait Until You Have A Problem, With Your New Kia Under Warranty.



2011 Kia Sorento radio, nav system and phone stopped working. Began flashing Kia Motors and black screen. was told that the radio only has a 3 year 30,000 warranty and is not covered by the 5 year 60,000. Going to the dealer to find out the cost. Never knew the radio wasn't part of the bumper to bumper.

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