"My only big complaint with my Sorento so far is its ability to retain market value. I bet that I could rebadge this vehicle with one of the social status SUV badges and I could sell it for more than what I paid for it new.
Otherwise, as of this writing, I haven't had one bit of mechanical problem with it.
The fuel economy rating is way off from what the manf claims, but that was before the gov't made them change how they calculate it. Mine avg's 21 mpg Hwy @ 70 mph. City mpg varies too much to get an accurate avg but, if I had to guess it would be around 16-17 mpg.
Changing the oil is a chore due to a skid plate covering the bottom of the engine. Once the skid plate is removed everything is easily accessable BUT, you just can't use any oil filter. You have to make sure that you get one that matches the height of the OEM filter or you further complicate the process. So far the only aftermarket filter I found that fits without a hassle is WIX. Frams are about 5/16" too tall to fit without an extra 10 minutes worth of mechanic work.
The ride is smooth and the vehicle handles as expected for an SUV of it's size, which is very well. I haven't taken mine off-road but people in the Sorento forums swear that these outperform the stock Jeeps, GMC's, Chevy's and other SUV's in it's class. I'm sure they wouldn't lie, expecially since they're on the Internet making these claims.
KIA could improve the interior by adding some extra 12v outlets in the rear, which may have already been done with newer editions, and improving the stereo head unit. They still offer cassette/CD combo. Get with the program and install MP3 ready equipment. Otherwise the sound of the stereo is good as-is.
Bottom line, you can get a loaded-out Sorento for the same price you can get an entry level "Status Quo" SUV, plus you get a much better warranty with the KIA."
"Have owned my Kia Sorento since new in 2004 and had no cost except normal wear and tear. The ride and handling are great. Love the chassis and colors, white with bronze trim, and all the automatic features, especially the 4 wheel drive. I lived in town and in the country so it performs well in both.
Hope they improve the gas milage but it falls in the general category of other SUVs to date.
I recommend this make and model and will look into replacing mine with a new one soon."
"Got mine in 2005 and had a few mechanical issue that werent necessarily manufacturer related. Only 1 was a warped drive train but that was replaced by warranty. I do have a problem with the front bulbs constantly needing replacement but considering I'm nearing 200K miles Ive been extremely pleased with mine and I'd recommend it to anyone.
Be warned replacing the timing chain is a pain (done it twice). Have it replaced by a mechanic."
"I have had my Sorento for just over 5 years. Yes it's an Original first year 03'. It's had 2 small recalls, which were fixed in a timely manner. After the second recall, a small problem developed about 2 weeks later in the same area, spark plug and chamber area. While not a very major issue it was not covered under the warrenty. Because I contested this issue even though I paid to have the problem fixed, my dealership went to bat for me to KIA and fought them to cover the work under warrenty and won my money back for me. Other than this small issue, I have always loved my Sorento and treated it with the same care. It's always been very reliable, gas milage is not great but the same as other like size SUV's from the 03' model years. Even with today's gas prices I am not willing to give her up. I put nearly 100 miles a day just for work not including pleasure driving. I am truly sorry some of the other Sorento owners have not had the same luck and enjoyment with their Sorento's as I have had with mine. If the gas prices get better, I just might be willing to add the KIA Barrago EX to my stable."
"Have had multiple problems with my 2003 Sorento starting with the entire front braking system randomly engaging while I was driving, often while I was over 80 miles away from home! Went to the dealer 3 different times and they kept returning it back to me saying nothing was wrong. I spoke with the dealership multiple times and finally dropped it off for 5 days for them to drive and they finally figured it out after a HUGE hassle. By then the rotors were all burnt up and the ABS system needed to be replaced which was all under warranty ($2500) but Kia fought me and would not reimburse all my rental car fees while it was being fixed.
Next, the coolant reservoir cracked and leaked fluid all over my garage floor. Had that replaced under warranty. Now, my overhead light doesn't come on when the door opens. Had the dealer check it out and its a diode which is not under warranty and will cost me $169 to replace!! Outrageous!
The car is nice for the price but there are multiple things I do not like about this car. First, first gear is too low for this vehicle and it shifts very hard under acceleration from first to second gear often hesitating between shifts, which is very annoying. Second, the gas mileage is horrible for this vehicle, often receiving 17-18 and 19 mpg at best. Third, I really dislike the constant fiddling with the outside air in button every time I get in the car. Once you turn the car off, it automatically goes to the outside air in and I always have to hit the recirculate button every time I get in the car. Four, the leather does feel cheap, but the seats are very comfortable and adjust very well.
Right now I am considering selling this car and buying a Honda Pilot or a Ford Explorer."