Kia Sorento Sunroof Implosions
While most Canadians drive Zambonis to work, a story from CBC News Edmonton reports that Viola Stevens is the latest victim in a series of Kia Sorento sunroof implosions.
Stevens was on her way to work when the sunroof of her Kia Sorento SUV violently imploded, raining glass into the cabin and exposing her to the freezing hellscape that is Canadian winter.
This might seem like a freak accident due to extreme weather or other rare circumstances, but Stevens isn’t the first Sorento owner to start her day with the sweet sounds of an exploding sunroof. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has received at least 15 reported complaints of imploding sunroofs in 2011-2013 Kia Sorentos, most occurring while the vehicle was in motion. Due to those complaints, the NHTSA opened an ongoing investigation of 64,000 Sorentos.
In true friendly Canadian fashion, Kia Canada agreed to have the sunroof repaired under warranty at no charge, but Sorento owners with the same experience in the U.S. didn’t receive such courteous service.
A similar situation occurred in California last year, as Krystal Miller had the sunroof in her new 2013 Kia Sorento explode with her one-year-old daughter in the back seat. Miller was shaken and suffered minor cuts, but her local Kia dealer wouldn’t cover the cost of the implosion, stating there were several impact points that may have caused the implosion, despite it being less than four weeks old.
The dangerous nature of these implosions isn’t leading to a voluntary recall from Kia however, as backseat audio controls and Morpheus ads are currently on the front burner. After other similar incidents in 2012 and 2013, Kia insisted the implosions they’ve investigated are all due to hail or other debris hitting the sunroof.
Kia likely won’t recall any Sorentos unless the NHTSA suggests or forces them to, because fixing a bunch of people’s cars for free isn’t cheap. In the meantime, the automaker has been working with the NHTSA by sending field reports and data to the agency.
Although only 15 incidents have been reported to the NHTSA, a quick search on the Google machine brings up a lot of testimonials of Sorento owners experiencing a gunshot-like sound followed by an onslaught of shattered glass. Certainly, winter roads are full of debris and a small stone or chunk of ice could hit the sunroof creating a small crack, eventually leading to it completely shattering, but it’s a hell of a coincidence that it keeps happening to Kia’s crossover.
Overall, this situation seems to suck pretty bad for Kia Sorento owners, especially those not living in the absurdly friendly confines of Canada. Since Kia doesn’t seem to be acting on the Sorento’s sunroof issue for the time being, hopefully the manufacturer corrected the problem on the new Kia K900.
I doubt a $60,000 glass shower will please many drivers.