One of those VIN numbers included in the recall just today was my own 2022 Sorento PHEV, which I purchased in September, 2021. According to autoevolution.com, only 213 Sorentos were included in the initial recall, back in March, which is for seat belt pretensioners that may explode as the result of a crash. That’s right folks, the seat belts on these Sorentos might explode! Okay, okay, “explode” is not the language used by the NHTSA, let’s be clear. The NHTSA says the pretensioners may “deploy abnormally during a crash”, and that “could cause metal fragments to enter the vehicle occupant compartment increasing the risk of injury”. Note, at least as of March in the initial Sorento recall, no injuries from faulty pretensioners had been identified, according to the autoevolution.com report, and also all those in the initial recall should have received notification via mail in May. All those vehicles being included in the expanded recall likely have not been notified yet however, by mail or other means.
I strongly suggest checking your VIN number at www.nhtsa.gov/recalls if you own a 2021 or 2022 Sorento Hybrid (HEV) or 2022 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) the NHTSA now says all 2021 and 2022 model year Sorento Hybrids are being recalled and that “certain” 2022 Sorento PHEV models are being recalled. I actually checked the NHTSA site twice today, and my first check indicated my VIN number wasn’t included in the recall, but two subsequent checks later in the day revealed that is is in fact included in the recall. Kia and or the parts manufacturer must be actively updating the NHTSA database with additional VINs as I write this.
For reference, here’s a photo of the expanded recall notice I got after entering my VIN number on the NHTSA website.
You can see from the notification that both driver and front passenger seatbelt pretensioners may deploy abnormally in the event of a crash.
While some of us may be contemplating donning chain mail and safety goggles in order to drive our Sorento HEVs and PHEVs until this issue can be fixed, it does sound like an issue that Kia has known about for at least a little while and has a fix for already (by applying a cap to both seatbelt pretensioners to prevent the abnormal deployment, see next screenshot below). I’ll also point out that even with two model years of the HEV affected, Kia only has several thousand vehicles to apply the fix to, at present. The number of vehicles in the expanded recall is an educated guess on my part since Kia doesn’t report sales figures for its HEV and PHEVs separately from gasoline-only versions of the same models. But I calculate that Kia likely has at least 10,000 to likely no more than 20,000 Sorentos, world wide, to apply this fix to.
I won't bother asking questions of my readers as I end this piece, everyone should be concerned about their seatbelts possibly exploding, er I mean the abnormal deployment of pretensioners. If your electrified Sorento VIN number shows up as being part of the recall, call your nearest dealer ASAP to schedule service. Though the issue may only happen in a significant crash, it's not something we should just ignore. Drive safely everyone!
Images provided by Justin Hart.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.