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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I know maybe not the right forum to ask for unbiased options but I am sure you can give me the best insights:

I am looking to get a 2003 Sorento EX with 120k miles for around $4,000.
Looks like a decent price to m based on KBB or what do you guys think?

Reviews seem to be mixed and I am kind of concerned if this will be a decent car without pumping in more than the actual purchase price.

Don't have any info if the timing belt and pump etc was done. Just started reading here and is it really 40k miles interval for the timing belt? That seems excessive compared to regular 100k-ish intervals.

Ok back to reading some thread but would highly appreciate if you guys/gals that have this model year could chime in.

Thanks a bunch and have a nice evening
 

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2009 Sportage, 98 Sportage, 2012 Tata Xenon, 1944 Jeep
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In Australia the TB interval is 100,000 Km ie about 60,000 miles. Letting it go to 100,000 miles is a bit of a crap shoot, it will most likely make it, but there is a reasonable risk that it won't. If it lets go you are looking at a top end rebuild at best, a new engine at worst. I wouldn't risk it, if you don't know how to, get someone who does, to see if the belt looks fairly new or 10 years old. If it doesn't look changed recently, then factor a change into your costs.

If you are changing the TB make sure that they use a new crank bolt or you may find out about the tendancy to snap the crank bolt.

The Mitsubishi designed V6 engine is a pretty solid and generally reliable, if somewhat thirsty unit, which gave good service in original Mitsubishi guise in the Pajero 4X4, with many units from the mid 1990's still running around here.
With increasing age some of the Mitsubishi originals suffered from leaky valve stem seals and highish oil consumption from soft rings, but this doesn't seem to affect the Hyundai built version to the same degree.

Hyundai / Kia unfortunately faithfully reproduced the leaky valve cover seals, dodgy crank pulley, and variable intake manifold, design. The intake butterfly valve screws have a nasty habit of vibrating out and going down the intake, this of course does not do the pistons or valves any favours. Both Hyundai and Kia had a re-call about this replacing the lower intake offending unit with a revised unit, try to see if this has been done on yours.

The engine like all modern engines has a lot of electrics which can give troubles as they age.

In Australia they rarely rust so that is not a problem here. If you come from North America or Europe however the rear suspensions and chassis have a tendancy to rot so check for this.

The 4 speed Aisin autos are some of the best autos ever made, so will rarely give trouble unless abused, or have done 500,000 miles. The Jatco based 5 speed auto boxes are not far behind although a few have suffered from electrical gremlins. The part time Borg-Warner transfer cases are also pretty reliable mechanically, the main problem area being the electric control system. The TOD boxes however are very owner specific and if not looked after can be a problem and are expensive to replace or rebuild. If it is a TOD model look carefullly!

The Kia axle assemblies are based on an Eaton design and are therefore pretty bulletproof, however what must have been a dodgy lot of bearings in 2007-2008 saw many rear diffs fail prematurely under warranty. The repaired or replaced units seem to be OK however. If fitted with a factory LSD it is a good one.

The rest of the car is fairly reliable, Kias in general tend to have minor annoying little issues, mostly electrical, rather than major design ones. ( I've owned other Kias, and our other car is a Sportage)

Trim wise I find them to be fairly durable, albeit a bit plain in the fit out (you can see where they saved money). Some of the switch gear looks a bit cheapish and fragile, but in practice it is quite serviceable and hasn't broken yet.

The paint could be a bit thicker, but you can say that for pretty much any car these days. At least Kia painted BOTH sides of the panels properly, unlike a Ford I once owned where they seemed to only paint where you could see.

In Australian fit out anyway, I find the standard suspension to be initallly too hard, (jiggles on minor bumps) but then too soft (it bottoms out fairly easily). It feels like they thought that Australians would like a harder suspension than the US (which we generally do), so they kept the soft springs, and just stuck on hard valved shocks to compensate!
A plus of this set up is that for a largish car it handles really well on the tar.
It could also stand to be a bit higher for off road use.
There are aftermarket suspension kits available here that fix both issues.

The chassis is sturdy and seems well made, it could use a decent bash plate under the front though, the stock one is paper thin, and the radiator sits just above it. The gearbox and trans case have to make do with nothing at all, although they are reasonably well tucked up. The low slung fuel tank however, has a plate.

I have a 2003 3.5 auto 4x4 model that I bought second hand in 2010 with 120,000 Km on it, in that time I have replaced

The TB (wasn't done at the 100,000 service)
A Crank angle sensor (how I found out about the TB, and a common failure)
All the fluids (you think the logbook servicing dealer does - think again!)
Rear brake pads - originals at 100,000 Km - can't complain.
A battery (oh well, 5 years is pretty good for a battery)
A headlight bulb (another common failure)
A tail light lens (bloody commuter train carpark) ie not the cars fault
Soon I will need a set of tyres, but the log book says the original owner replaced them at 70,000 Km, and I am now nearly at 165,000 so I cannot complain about that either.
Normal oil and filter changes as per the usual schedule (easy to do yourself)
A wheel alignment - If you have ever seen Australian roads - you wouldn't need to ask, the alignment guy said that at least unlike many other 4x4, it was all adjustable.

This car replaced a Nissan Pathfinder I had for 10 years previously. In my honest opinion, is the Kia as well made or finished as the Nissan - well in all honesty, probably not, not quite, but there is not a lot in it, - but it did cost a lot less, and parts cost waaay less, (Nissan genuine parts are wrought from solid gold bars, by master goldsmiths).

My car is driven at highway speed every day, on both bitumen and dirt, in temperatures that run from 40 deg C , in summer storms and minor floods, to 5 deg C on frosty winter mornings.
I'm pretty happy with mine, it's a nice car to drive, and value for money it's excellent, so far, it seems fairly durable and reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the extensive reply. It would be the us model with 4x4. Does not around too bad from what else I have been reading. Just need a cheap little commuter and road trip once in a while. Seems it could qualify for that. It would have an equivalent of 180k km but that's close enough to your purchased one. I'd have the choose between that one or Mercedes ml350 for $2k more same age but 10k miles less and DVD/nav. Myain concern is that I never bought a car with that many miles/km before and worried I might put more in it/ or a considerable amount compared to the purchase price.
Seems the tab should have been done once and will be ready shortly again even more if not done yet. I hope the awd is worth it in the winter for the poor gas mileage. Kind of funny when.I think about my almost 2 ton s60r I used to drive with 4x4 and close to this gas mileage.

So I take away from this s that in general they seem to give you a good bang for your buck. Thanks as the other reviews made me quite worried. Have a good day
 

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2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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What a damn good write up!
I waited till i found one with a 5 speed as they seem to do a fair bit less revs on the freeway. But generally pretty happy with my decision once i lifted it a little!
 

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2009 Sportage, 98 Sportage, 2012 Tata Xenon, 1944 Jeep
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Yes the later model with 5 speed and 2.5 diesel may be my next purchase.
 

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Kia Sorento 2007 4x4, Mercedes E200 Kompressor 2000
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With all due respect to you guys, this is my second sorento First was 2008 RWD, and now 2007 4WD. Honestly, cost-wise, yes, sorento is cheaper, but as CMAR pointed out, in terms of electric reliability, they suck. I have put a lot of money into my 2007 sorento and every time I fix something, something else comes up. I changed the front and rear wheel bearings a while ago, some of them are going bad, again. Engines will not go that far long even with care and attention given to them. Suspension will collapse in while...

Pardon me, but this is my opinion. I loved Sorento, but with the repeated problems, I promised not to buy anything korean... The irony is: I work for the Korean Embassy in my country! hehehehe

Final conclusion: Korean car industry rely mainly on the looks of their cars and the advertisement on the fuel consumption low rate (which is usually not true to some extent). So, please do not be fooled by the attractive looks of the dashboard or the external yummy design, check the quality of what the car is made of.
 
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