The Kia Sportage has been around since 1994, but the compact crossover is getting a significant face-lift for 2018. The new model includes a redone exterior, updated cabin, and an expanded list of standard features that sometimes rival its competitors. There are also new engines, revised transmission, and safety tech. The Sportage is one of Kia’s best-selling models globally, so it’s no surprise that the company has improved every area of this compact SUV. But do the changes make it stand out from the pack? Let’s look at what you need to know about the Kia Sportage before you buy.
Kia Sportage Pricing and Availability
The Kia Sportage can be purchased in a number of different trims and drivetrain options. The base S, the S AWD, the SX, and the SX AWD. The S and SX come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 191 horsepower.
The SX and SX AWD are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 252 horsepower. The SX comes with an all-wheel-drive system, but the SX AWD is a full-time system.
Trims can be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual. The base S starts at $22,000 while the top-of-the-line SX AWD will set you back $36,000 before options.
New Exterior Design
The exterior of the Kia Sportage has received a significant makeover. The car’s wheelbase has been extended by 2.2 inches, and its overall length has been increased by 3.5 inches.
The Sportage is now wider and lower than the outgoing model, with a more aggressive front end and a restyled rear that includes a new LED taillight design.
The new Sportage is also about 150 pounds heavier than its predecessor, which is a trade-off for the larger dimensions and is likely related to the addition of more safety tech. Sportage buyers can choose from eight different exterior paint colors, including four new hues.
The interior of the 2018 Kia Sportage has also been updated to improve comfort, convenience, and style. The driving position is ideal for taller drivers, thanks to a nice steering wheel rake, but shorter drivers may find themselves wishing for more legroom.
The new Sportage comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a nine-speaker audio system. A new 8-inch touchscreen is available in the top-of-the-line SX Limited trim.
The 2018 Sportage also receives a new, electro-hydraulic parking brake. The system replaces the traditional cable-operated parking brake. The new brake system is much less prone to wear, but we’ll have to wait and see if it catches on in other models.
The rest of the cabin has been refreshed with a new dashboard and a new steering wheel that has a nice, thick rim. The materials are of good quality, and the overall design is attractive.
The Kia Sportage offers two engine choices, a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 252 horsepower. The 2.4-liter is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission while the 2.0-liter turbo is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Both engines are new for the Sportage and both come standard with a stop-start system, which helps the car achieve better fuel economy than the outgoing model. The 2.4-liter engine returns 27/33 mpg city/highway, which is respectable for a crossover of this size. The 2.0-liter turbo engine can be had with all-wheel drive and is EPA-rated at 24/30 mpg city/highway.
New Safety Tech
The Kia Sportage has been given a host of new safety technology. The car now comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring.
Moving up to the SX trim gets you a comprehensive suite of safety features, including automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist.
Rear parking sensors and a surround-view camera are also included. The top-of-the-line SX Limited trim comes with all of the aforementioned safety features, plus fantastic smart parking assist feature that can automatically parallel park the car for you. The Sportage also comes standard with a rear-view camera and seven airbags.
The Kia Sportage is one of the most affordable compact SUVs on the market. It offers nice styling, plenty of space, and good fuel economy at a price that can’t be beaten. However, the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is the hot ticket, as it delivers a lot of power while still managing to achieve better fuel economy than its non-turbo counterpart. The Sportage is a great option for someone looking for a stylish, practical, and affordable compact SUV.