That recall has nothing to do with or cause anything to do with oil consumption except for the fact that the oil level was raised by the new dip stick that is part of that recall. The old dip stick had a yellow handle on it, while the new dip stick after the recall has a orange handle for the US recall. My Sorento now holds a little over 5 quarts of oil. Raising the oil level may or may not add to oil consumption.
If you smell oil in the cabin then it has to be burnt oil that is leaking into something very hot under the hood of the car. Any oil that is burnt by the engine internally is going out the exhaust pipe which is out the back of the car and will not get into the cabin. About the only thing that gets hot enough to burn the oil is the exhaust manifold which is on the back of the engine. You need to get under the Sorento and on top of it to check for oil leaks on the back of the engine with the engine top plastic top cover removed.
Next, what is considered to much oil consumption? All engine use oil. They always have and always will. They have too or parts would go bad very quickly due to lack of lubrication. To get more gas mileage from a car drag is reduced. The drag on a car is not just from the air on the outside of the car but also from drag or resistance inside the car. The drag from the piston rings has been reduced to help make more power but the new rings are thinner and have less tension, there for they do not seal up as good as rings used 30 years ago. This adds to oil consumption but you also have to remember that old back in the 1970 1980 cars also needed to be overhauled around 100,000 miles. Here is a copy of a letter from RockAuto Parts about this topic:
Modern Engine Design & Oil Consumption
The owners manual for the 2011 Mercedes E-Class says, "Depending on the driving style, the vehicle consumes up to 0.9 US qt (0.8 l) of oil over a distance of 600 miles (1000 km)." The 2011 Audi A3 owners manual states, "Depending on the way the vehicle is driven and the operating conditions, oil consumption can be up to 1/2 quart per 600 miles (0.5 liter per 2000 km)." With no further explanation in the owners manuals, I might assume that neither Mercedes nor Audi has yet achieved the tight tolerances built into the cast iron V8 that powers my 1971 Ford LTD. Its old 351 does not burn a 1/2 quart of oil every 600 miles, at least with my gentle "driving style."
"Burning oil" has long been associated with heavily worn engines that blow clouds of blue exhaust smoke and need expensive engine rebuilds. It is no surprise that car manufacturers carefully avoid the words "burning oil," but it is odd that they make no effort to explain why some engines now come from the factory designed to "consume" oil. With a little clarification, a car manufacturer could avoid having an owner believe the engine in his/her new car was not as well built as the engine in the car he/she traded in.
Various oils of different viscosities
A description of modern engine/oil technology could also emphasize the increased importance of regularly checking/adding engine oil. The owners manual for the 2011 Honda Civic says, "Engine oil level - Check every time you fill the fuel tank." Is that a relic left over from 1950s era owners manuals, or do Honda owners really need to check their oil "every time" they stop at a gas station?
Modern engine designs have been achieving better fuel economy by reducing the amount of energy needed to keep the internal pieces moving. This might mean making engine parts out of lighter weight metal alloys. It could also mean allowing pistons to move more freely in the cylinders, which unfortunately also lets more oil slip by the piston rings and be subsequently burned. The move to lower viscosity oils (ex. 0W-20 instead of 10W-30) and higher revving engines further encourages increased oil consumption.
But wait, I thought engines that burned oil wrecked catalytic converters. Zinc and phosphorous in engine oil are good for reducing valve train friction but bad for catalytic converters. Zinc and phosphorous levels in motor oil were quietly reduced as part of the new ILSAC GF-5 motor oil standard in 2010. The new oil standard meant new engine designs could send more oil residue out the exhaust without damaging catalytic converters.
Hopefully, the money spent on buying more engine oil is offset by less money spent on gasoline. Increased oil consumption is just one more reason owners of new cars need to be extra careful to use the correct oil for their engine. That old bottle of 10W-30 sitting on a garage shelf may not only clog various solenoids and orifices, but it could also damage the catalytic converters. Look under "Engine" in the RockAuto.com catalog to find the right "Motor Oil" for your specific car or truck.
One of these newer oil-consuming motors may still have problems (gasket leaks, etc.) if oil consumption increases over time. For example, it consumed 1.5 quarts between previous oil changes but now it is consuming 3 quarts.
I would follow those Honda owners manual instructions that say to check the engine oil level every time you stop for gas. Just ignore the dashing 1971 Ford owner using the neighboring gas pump. He may not bother to open his car's hood, but remember he has to stop at gas stations much more frequently than you do.