Car WTFs

Another Day, Another Kia Sorento Sunroof Implosion

Car WTFs

Brian is a writer focusing on the automotive world. After running his 2000 Ford Taurus into the ground, he fell head over heels for a 2013 Mazda3, because Skyactiv Technology. Duh.

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.

View Comments (5)


  1. Nicola Archibald

    May 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    The sunroof in my 2013 Kia Sportage spontaneously exploded this morning on the way to work. I thought there had been an explosion. There was glass everywhere. There are chips in the paint on the roof. And Kia tells me they are back ordered and it will be at least 3 weeks to get a new one.

  2. Fazal

    May 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Sunroof exploded upwards & shattered glass on myself and all over in the car, a VW Jetta year 2012. Happened last week 22/5-2014.
    VW dealer refuse to repair it under car warranty, as they speculate it must have been a rock\stone hit. This is just standard size sunroof, they quoted it to $1560 + taxes.

  3. Texas Gal

    Jun 26, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Just rented a Kia K – 900 and the sunroof mysteriously was shattered. No issues while renting it for four days but upon taking it back the glass had shattered and caved in on the cover. Going to alert Enterprise to it. If renting a Kia, beware!

  4. Hagar

    Sep 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Happened to my 2012 Kia Optima while driving about 80 km/h with no cars around. Kia gave me a free loaner car and said it will take about a week to get in. There’s obviously a defect here but Kia officially says these are a result of rocks. Physics professors say its impossible – rocks would have to be travelling straight down at 70+ mph. This needs to be acknowledged officially!

  5. Ashley s

    Feb 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    My sunroof shattered this morning on the freeway heading to work. It was a very loud sound and then it shattered. I called the police thinking someone must have thrown something at the top of my car. Kia said it had to have been from a rock chip, but the damage to have it fixed is estimated $2376.00. It’s at the dealership and I’m in a rental until it can be fixed.

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