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Kia Sorento Real World MPG



  • I found this article here on the Edmunds about how EPA Mileage is determined, and how to use it.
  • Here is another article from right here at Edmunds that attempts to duplicate the 40 MPG Mileage claims of 6 small cars. Explains very well how EPA Mileage numbers are determined and how close the test vehicles came to meeting EPA expectations.
  • onefunkaronefunkar Posts: 113
    the honda lawsuit on the hybrid had to do with honda reprogramming the car and the mileage went down after the reprogramming.
  • Hey Tom, the Edmund's link includes the following, speaking of the new 2008 ratings:

    Do you have one of these cars? Does your experience more closely match the "new" ratings? For the majority of owners, it should.
  • Replying to Side Show Tom

    Sorry to hear you are out of work, Tom. Creating a “side show” on our discussion seems to be your only employment, taking us away from our primary interest—to share our experience with the Kia Sorento’s mileage. You never told us your experience—just “+/- 3%.” Do you own a Sorento? If not, you don’t belong here.

    So you think that all of us are poor drivers, do you? How do you know that? You have made hasty assumptions that our driving habits are fuel consuming, and that we failed to do any research before we bought a Sorento. I spent seven months comparing crossover vehicles and I have multiple huge spreadsheets comparing scores of parameters from curb weight and engine torque to IIHS and NHTSA ratings. I drove so many vehicles that the salespeople at all the local dealerships know me on a first name basis, and hate to see me come in because they know I only buy a car every 10 years.

    I studied the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA), which was a joint venture of Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Hyundai. Begun in 2005, the 2.4 L DOHC was the block for the Theta engine, and subsequently the Theta-II. Direct injection usually adds 12% improvement to the engine (according to EPA) so one could expect significant gains in mileage even without a supercharger. The Theta-II’s asymmetrical piston head is hemispherical on one side and scooped on the other to “swirl” the igniting fuel-air mixture for increased efficiency. Indeed, the EPA rating of the Theta-II GDI in the Sorento struck a class-leading 22/32.

    The proof of the fuel efficiency and the feel of the engine in the vehicle are in driving the Sorento. Consumer Reports claimed the 3.6 L V-6 got 20 mpg and the 2.4 L 4-Cylinder non-GDI got the same. I reasoned that with a GDI and my driving skills, I could get at least 12% more fuel efficiency. I even read this discussion, and like you, Tom, I decided that the owners complaining was from poor driving, or perhaps from mis-tuned engines. I was shocked to get 19.5 mpg on the first tank.

    Is it my driving? I don’t think so. I owned a 2001 Honda Civic Hybrid with an EPA rating of 48/47, and I was one of the few who got 47.7 mpg—non-stop on the highway for 250 miles. The 13 gallon tank could theoretically go 600 miles before refueling, but it was more like 400-450 because the usual mileage was 42 mpg, and the dash reading was 15-20 percent inflated (the 47.7 actual mpg read 54 on the dash.) During the six years that I drove the hybrid, I averaged 37 mpg overall (all seasons, empty, full, city, highway) which was exactly what Consumer Reports reported as their average mileage! I unloaded the care early because my wife would not ride in it—she was not comfortable in the seat! But I learned how to save fuel: let the engine stop at each traffic light; accelerate slowly, avoid hills, and unlike the Prius, driving fast (70-80 mph) did not compromise the mileage. (There is an instantaneous mpg readout and a trip-odometer readout also, so you know exactly when you are doing your best.)

    I just filled the tank in the Sorento-- 57 gallons in 1250 miles (21.9 mpg.) A disappointment, but I did register 24 mpg on the last fill-up: a 200 mile round trip mainly on highway. The dash read 29 mpg, an annoyance equal to the Honda’ inflated readings.

    I expect my speedometer to be within 1-2% accuracy, and my tachometer and clock even better. There is no excuse for inaccurate measurement of fuel consumption. My 2001 Acura MDX was within 1% of actual mileage, and my Hyundai Sonata is within 2%.

    Let’s hear from some new Sorento owners.
  • I clearly stated in my post that I own a Sorento, 2013, with the V6. It was the same sentence where I said my mileage was +/- 3% of EPA estimates.

    At no time did I ever say I was unemployed. Reading comprehension is not your strength.

    I did not do spreadsheets or drive dozens of cars before buying my Sorento. I do drive a new car every couple of years, either through work or personal ownership. I did drive both a 4 cylinder GDI and the V6 before buying, and 2 trim models in both 2 wheel and AWD.

    I had been interested in the Ford Ecotec engine in the F 150 and been considering that for purchase as well. I had crunched numbers on the Ecotech, but I didn't need a spreadsheet to figure out the cost savings in gas would take years to offset the higher purchase price.

    Several publications at about that time, about a year a go, made the same observations. When I was considering the Sorento, it was immediately apparent that was the case with the GDI. It only gets 1 MPG more than the standard 4, why bother with it. None the less it is standard on the EX, which I test drove. It was to me clearly underpowered for California freeway driving. That is a matter of personal choice, but again, for only a 2 MPG difference for the greater power and torque of the V6, for me it was easy.

    My point in all of this was that KIA has nothing to do with the EPA mileage ratings of their cars. Accusing them of being deceitful for stating EPA HWY miles on their advertising is absurd, EVERY carmaker does that. EPA mileage is for comparison between models and makes only.

    It sounds like you have a possible defect with your GDI engine that should be uncovered and handled under warranty, although you did state that you achieved 25 MPG combined once. With most drivers, not achieving close to EPA mileage usually is a result of driving habits, load factor, under inflated tires, and % of highway vs. city.

    I would suggest you contact the KIA Zone Service Manager, and make an appointment for him to examine the car on a dyno. If they don't work with you to resolve it, there are both state and Federal Lemon Laws that can use to force them to buy it back. Threatening them with class action lawsuits is not going to get you anywhere.

    Good luck.
  • I’m glad to know that you own your Sorento—not borrowed so you could engage our discussion—but on Sep 29, you posted, ”I have the V6 SX AWD, and my mileage is within +/- 3%.” And “I have had my Sorento 6 weeks, driven 1200 miles, and love it.” You didn’t say that you owned it.

    I’m also happy that you are gainfully employed, but on Sep 30, you wrote, “I do not work in the car industry, or in a support industry either. I am a car enthusiast…” As you have time to write so much, I assumed you were simply a car enthusiast.

    I have no problem with reading comprehension, but I am analytical and read between the lines. I do wish you would quote numbers more carefully, since you wrote that I “achieved 25 MPG combined once,” but it was 24, if you check my post last night. I am very sensitive about those numbers. That was under optimum conditions (95% highway, constant speed, no A/C,) and I was hoping that the dash reading of 29 would be closer to the actual mpg. My combined actual mpg is 20.9 so far.

    Most of us with angst are disappointed owners who are looking for the “fix” to make the gas mileage what was promised by the salespeople (“my wife gets 25 mpg on average and up to 32 on trips”) and the EPA estimates.

    I discussed my problem with the local service manager, who told me that I would need five fill-ups with receipts, and only then would they examine my Sorento for abnormalities. He is very competent, and his staff of mechanics are better than average, but what can he do if the problem is with the design? I’ll be seeing him soon, but I need another fill-up since I lost the first receipt (rather embarrassing since I have receipts for all of my cars since 1966 with calculated mileage. Only my SUVs and my minivan were unable to get 32 mpg—but my VW bug, my Rabbits and the Squareback were underpowered compared to today’s cars.)

    Note that EPA estimates “are for comparison” between vehicles as well as for CAFE standards. I have prepared a number of tables directly from the EPA site highlighting the failure of certain manufacturers to have “real-world” numbers that match the estimates. You can read the data at KIA 2WD on the EPA’s website 202WD and note the “Shared MPG Estimates.” Pay close attention to the range. Nobody is reporting above 26 mpg, and this year’s figures are less than last year’s. Compare other CUV’s such as the Honda CR-V at 04WD Except for the 2011 model (2012 is a complete makeover) “Shared MPG Estimates” exceeds the EPA’s Highway figure under “range”. I’ll make my table available to anyone who is interested.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited October 2012
    Unfortunately there's just a small handful of owners reporting at

    There's a few more data points in the Consumer Reviews here.

    There's also True Delta but you have to sign up to see most of the data.
  • Does the Lemon Law apply in your state for missed EPA Estimates? Obviously something is wrong, and they can't, or won't fix it.

    Good luck!
  • Subscribe to them all, along with C&D, R&T.

    Take them all with grain of salt. Edmunds has most and best info often.
  • My 2004 MPG was 16 and 22 respectfully city and highway now with my 2013 EX V6 AWD I'm getting 26 and 36 respectfully...absolutely no complaints here.

  • mogal2mogal2 Posts: 1
    Hi All, I've been reading this forum with interest as I am considering buying a Sorento with the 4 cylinder, GDI engine--on the premise that it will get better gas mileage. We like the Sorento because it can hold 7 on the very few occasions that we need it, and it promises to get better mpg than any other 7 capacity vehicle I have come across. Ninety-five percent of my driving is in-town with only 2 small passengers, and I only drive about 20 miles round trip a day to and from work and school. I have driven the 4 cylinder, and it seemed to perform just fine for my needs, but the posts in this forum concern me. Is there anyone out there who has a GDI model that likes it?
  • Please go to Wikipedia and search GDI engines. You will find that GDI engines get their best mileage with highway driving, as the very exact fuel injection amounts available to direct injection allows them to operate very lean at a consistent speed. You state that 95% of your driving is city, so that means you would not be taking advantage of the GDI's lean technology most of the time, and your mileage would be closer to the city EPA ranking. In city driving the difference between the standard 4, and the GDI 4 is only a couple of miles. Since KIA charges $1600 more for the GDI, that additional mileage is going to take years to reach a payback.

    In addition, many posters on here claim the EPA mileage figures for the GDI are inflated, and they get nowhere near that mileage. In my opinion, since these claims make up a minority of GDI drivers, there is a problem with engines ECU, which should be covered under warranty. If the KIA dealer can't get them close to the EPA mileage after several visits, they should have recourse through Federal and State Lemon Law buy backs.

    My advice is to go with the V6. It's only 1K more than the standard 4.
  • onefunkaronefunkar Posts: 113
    by the 4 cyl and make the government happy or buy the v6 and make yourself happy.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    The Sorento appears a good choice for your needs. It is an excellent value in the midsize SUV segment. The issue will be what engine? I have the GDI and don't get near the advertised mileage. The best I have done in all highway driving on trip from Texas to Michigan is 28 mpg. Normal daily driving in suburban environment I get about 23 mpg. I would compare those kinds of numbers to the other 4 and 6 cylinder engine choices and consider the pricing for each before making final decision. I do believe that the GDI has sufficient power for freeway access, etc but definitely doesn't get advertised mileage.
  • joehickjoehick Posts: 28
    If your getting that kind of mileage, you should be happy as sxxt.
    I get anywhere between 12mpg and 14 city and maybe 18-20 highway.
  • Here is article from LA Times on how to use the Lemon Law in California to either fix, or exchange your vehicle. If you EPA MPG is substantially below what is listed for the vehicle, and they cannot fix it, you have recourse, and it is not that hard.,0,2757139.story
  • I have a 2012 Sorento GDI with approximately 16,000 miles on it. Since the first 2,000 miles, I have been complaining to the dealer about my highway gas mileage. The BEST I've done is 25.7. Their first story was that it needed to be broken in, and that would happen between 6 - 8,000 miles. At 8,500 miles, they said it would happen between 10-12,000 miles. At 12,000, they said it would happen between 14-16,000 miles. It hasn't improved. The dealer has it today and said they would try to find the problem. They gave me a courtesy Sorento to drive today, and it's getting 25 around town. Mine gets an average of 23-24 around town. I've taken quite a few highway trips, and while my best average was 25.7, most of the averages are in the 24's. That's a long way from the reported 32, or the 35 the salesman said he got on a vacation. I'll post results of my latest trip to the dealer.
  • This is an interesting point about GDIs operating better at consistent speeds (eg highway), and one which makes a lot of sense. With that in mind, would you expect a 2012 Sorento to average 24.4 mpg over the course of 5 long (all-highway) family vacations? That's what I've observed in my Sorento. And that's 1.6mpg under the lower-end range on the sticker (26-38mpg). Note that on none of the 5 trips did I break the 26mpg barrier. Additionally, on two of those trips I *purposely* set cruise control at a very reasonable 65-70 mph to minimize the impact of the driver (me).

    My local dealer continues to stonewall. They say that my 22.4 mpg vehicle average F.E. (over 20,200 miles total) is "within spec." Now they won't even follow up with the test drive they initially offered to do and they have not offered to look at the ECU. I'm not sure what spec they are talking about, given that my current driving pattern is > 50% highway. The combined fuel economy, based on 45:55 city:highway should be 25 mpg.

    You do make a very valid point about the break-even economics on the GDI vs the regular 4cylinder. At $3.60/gallon and 20,000 miles per year, the difference is $227/year if you use the sticker HWY fuel economy number for each.
  • I have 9000 miles on my Sorento all but one wheel pitting is anybody else having this problem. Car is garage kept and washed every 3 days. Used it only one winter so far and we had a very mild winter.
  • Hi, Please excuse my ignorance. What are you alluding to here?

    "Now they won't even follow up with the test drive they initially offered to do and they have not offered to look at the ECU."

    My 2012 Sorrento has 6k, it is a EX AWD 4cyl with Gdi. I'm averaging about 20.5 mpg during combined driving.

    I spoke with a local Kia service rep and got the usual runaround. Before I call Kia I want to know ECU means.

    Thanks for time.
  • Pick another car, In town is the worst. I can get 26 highway alone flat and no wind or hills. Any intown 13-15 tops
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited November 2012
    Both Kia and Hyundai are getting a reputation for their vehicles not getting the EPA miles per gallon estimates in the real world.

    "Hyundai Motor Group's Hyundai and Kia units overstated the fuel economy of about 900,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. since late 2010, the company said Friday, citing an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    It said it will compensate U.S. buyers for the difference."

    Hyundai Retreats on Fuel-Economy Claims (Wall St. Journal)

    If the WSJ link doesn't work, try this one at Fox.

    "The changes affect 13 models from the 2011 through 2013 model years, including seven Hyundais and six Kias. Window stickers will have to be changed on some versions of Hyundai's Elantra, Sonata Hybrid, Accent, Azera, Genesis, Tucson, Veloster and Santa Fe models, as well as the Kia Sorrento, Rio, Soul, Sportage and Optima Hybrid."
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    If you are a Hyundai or Kia owner and have a reaction to the company’s announcement today re: EPA fuel economy ratings, please email today to talk with a reporter.
  • lanshilanshi Posts: 22
    I am so glad to hear this, just called and they said you need to put your VIN# in but right now there website is not complete. This is awesome news as the gas mileage is a problem. I went for my 30,000 miles check up and told the saleman now service manager that they lied. Boy he was skirting around the subject, let me get a service tech to check it out. Never did find anything. I am getting 25-26 on highway. ONE WIN FOR US :)
  • This is very good news. Thanks for posting. I will *gladly* speak to any reporter who wants to see my detailed mileage log. I will also forward this link to the service manager who, essentially, told me 22 mpg is "in specification".

    Side_show_Tom... do you have any comments on this?
  • Vindicated.....I have been saying this on this board for 1 year now. the sorrento mpg is terrible. to all who got great mileage,,,i will gladly take your debit card
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    edited November 2012
    I have been on a trip after having the SA128 upgrade to my GDI's ECM. The service manager has been very cooperative with my complaint of high fuel consumption, but until three weeks ago, he didn't have anything to offer--except for me to keep careful records of fuel usage with dated receipts (I always write the mileage on the receipt as well as in the record book.) So far I have logged 2200 miles with an overall 21.8 mpg (2180 miles/100 gal) average since purchase. Since the upgrade, I got 22.7 mpg (715 miles/31.4 gal.) But...on the trip, I refilled the tank after each highway leg, when the dash mpg meter read up to 31, yielding 31 and 29 mpg on 4.6 and 4.7 gal fill-ups. Of course, with such small amounts of fuel and various gas stations, it's hard to say, but the "all city" portion at Cape May was 17.7 mpg, the lowest I have recorded. I am not sure I can believe it, but the 22.7 is certain, and that beats the 20.8 I was getting. This upgrade apparently INCREASES the idle speed, as it is ostensibly for a "rough idle," which I have had from the purchase day. That is improved, but not gone. I think the GDI is guzzling fuel at idle, much more than the average engine, but the six-speed transmission slips through the gears at lightning speed. Unfortunately, the transmission won't go into sixth gear until 41 mph. If the engine could be shut down (as in a hybrid) I think the 25 mpg average could be achieved easily.

    Today, however, as noted, Kia and Hyundai admitted that their mileage calculations have been in error, after the EPA's Department of Transportation and Air Quality (with whom I have been in conversation--notice the "dozens of complaints") identified significant discrepancies in data submitted by them to determine gas mileage. This is a severe penalty, as well as a fall from grace (Kia was No 2 in overall gas mileage) and we peons will get a few dollars more than from some class action settlement. I went to the site tonight and entered my VIN, which was recognized as "eligible". Go to to submit your claim.

    I am equally concerned about the dash meter's consistent 15% inflation of the gas mileage. This should also be fixed.
  • I purchased my car 5-6 months ago and the highest MPG has 18 something and the norm is in the 17's. I have actually read it at much less, even in single digits for short periods of time. I would be glad to be one of those people complaining about 24 mpg.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    edited November 2012

    Just go to and enter your VIN number, and give them your email address. You should be eligible.
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