2018 Kia Sportage SUV

#22
in Compact SUVs
2018 MODEL

$23,500 - $34,300

7.3

Overall Rating

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Overview

Call it cute, quirky or unconventional, the 2018 Kia Sportage looks aesthetically different for a compact SUV. Like everything Kia designs, the Sportage looks sporty from every angle with sculpted lines across the body. It offers good value, a comfortable and roomy interior, and a long list of standard and optional feature along with Kia's excellent warranty.

The Sportage now in its fourth generation is Kia's longest-running nameplate and also a proof how far the company has come in the last two decades. It has equipped the SUV with two 4-cylinder engines, a 2.4-liter engine produces 181-hp and provide ample push in lower trim while the top trim SX get equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged which makes the Sportage downright speedy.

A six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive is standard on both the engines while you get AWD (All-wheel drive) as optional. Despite average fuel economy and tight cargo space, the Sportage is a good alternative an is ranked high in compact SUV segment. Prices for the base LX starts at $23,600 (FWD) while the SX Turbo is priced at $32,900 (FWD).

See detailed review »

Pros

Climate controlled seats

Long-term warranty

Plush interior

Quiet and roomy cabin

Cons

Less cargo capacity than rivals

Low powered engine

What's New?

Blind-spot monitoring

Rear-traffic alert

Lane-departure warning

Autonomous emergency braking and outside-mirror turn signals

EX and the SX now gets electronic parking brake with auto hold.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$23500

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

top speed

130 mph

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

144 cu. in.

horsepower

181 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

175 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6-speed automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11.2 in. ventilated front disc/12 in. solid disc brakes

dimensions

wheelbase

105.1 in.

length

176.4 in.

width

73 in.

height

64.4 in.

curb weight

3596 lbs.

ground clearance

6.4 in.

capacity

passenger volume

98.6 cu ft.

cargo volume

30.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

9400 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8 sec.

standing ¼-mile

16 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

23/26/30 mpg

highway range

492 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 years/60000 miles

drivetrain warranty

10 years/100000 miles

corrosion warranty

5 years/100000 miles

roadside assistance

No



Styles

 2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Sparkling Silver color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Snow White Pearl color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Pacific Blue color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Mineral Silver color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Hyper Red color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Clear White color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Burnished Copper color  2018 Kia Sportage SUV in Black Cherry color
Sparkling Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.9

Engine

6.8

Fuel Economy

7.1

Interior

6.5

Exterior

6.8

Safety

8.6

Driving

7.6

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


 2018 Kia Sportage SUV LX

LX

Fuel: Regular unleaded, Transmission: Automatic, Seats: 5

$23,500 - $25,000

Configurations
LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Engine: I-4 Transmission: 6A
Drivetrain: FWD MPG: (23/26/30)
Torque: 175 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
LX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Engine: I-4 Transmission: 6A
Drivetrain: AWD MPG: (21/22/25)
Torque: 175 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

 2018 Kia Sportage SUV EX

EX

Fuel: Regular unleaded, Transmission: Automatic, Seats: 5

$26,300 - $27,800

Configurations
EX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Engine: I-4 Transmission: 6A
Drivetrain: FWD MPG: (22/25/29)
Torque: 175 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Engine: I-4 Transmission: 6A
Drivetrain: AWD MPG: (21/23/25)
Torque: 175 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

 2018 Kia Sportage SUV SX

SX

Fuel: Regular unleaded, Transmission: Automatic, Seats: 5

$32,800 - $34,300

Configurations
SX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Engine: I-4 Transmission: 6A
Drivetrain: FWD MPG: (21/23/26)
Torque: 260 lbs.-ft. @ 1,450 rpm
SX 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Engine: I-4 Transmission: 6A
Drivetrain: AWD MPG: (20/21/23)
Torque: 260 lbs.-ft. @ 1,450 rpm

Expert Review


carhp editor October 17, 2018

7.3

Overall Rating


7.9/10
Features

 

6.8/10
Engine

 

7.1/10
Fuel Economy

 

6.5/10
Interior

 

6.8/10
Exterior

 

8.6/10
Safety

 
 
 

The Sportage now in its fourth generation is Kia’s longest-running nameplate and also a proof how far the company has come in the last two decades. It has equipped the SUV with two 4-cylinder engines, a 2.4-liter engine produces 181-hp and provide ample push in lower trim while the top trim SX get equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged which makes the Sportage downright speedy.

Features

7.9/10

The 2018 Kia Sportage seats five and is available in three trims LX, EX, and SX. The LX and the EX are equipped with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine while the Turbo trim gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. All the model offers front wheel drive whereas Kia’s Dynamax AWD (All-Wheel Drive) come as optional.

Apart from a powerful engine, the top trim SX boasts features like navigation, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, electronic parking brake to say the few and are otherwise optional on the EX trim.

Trims LX EX SX Turbo
MSRP(FWD) $23,600 $26,400 $32,900
MSRP(AWD) +$1,500 +$1,500 +$1,500
Features
  • AM/FM/MP3/Sirius 6-Speaker Audio System w/ 5″ Touch-Screen
  • Rear-Camera Display
  • 60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seat w/ 17-Step Recline
  • Features LX Plus:UVO w/ 7″ Touch-Screen Display
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Leather Seating with Heated Front Seats
  • Features EX Plus:UVO w/ 8″ Touch-Screen
  • Voice-Command Navigatio
  •  Harman/Kardon premium sound with 8 speakers
  • Panoramic Sunroof

Confused? We will help you find the best trim

Even the base LX is loaded with features and is a good choice to go with. Equipping it with Popular and Technology packages gets you some extras including an upgraded touchscreen and accident avoidance tech. If you want a more powerful engine then opt for the SX Turbo, however, the EX is the best value for money in the lineup. You get almost every feature that Kia has to offer in Sportage excluding the turbo-four engine and it costs several thousand less than the SX Turbo.

Engine

6.8/10

“It’s hard to find style and versatility in the same place, but the redesigned Kia Sportage delivers on both counts. You’ll like the number of features that Kia has packed into this small crossover, too. It’s one of our top choices for 2017.” -Edmunds

Engine and Transmission

In the two engine options of the 2018 Kia Sportage, you get a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that churns out 181-horsepower and 175-pound-feet of torque while a powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter engine makes 240-horsepower and 260-pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard on both the engines and feels smooth while shifting.

Models Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
MSRP $23,600 $22,550 $23,850 $24,150
Engine 2.4 liter DOHC, 16-valve I-4Gas engine 2.0Linline 4 Gas engine 2.5LInline 4 Gas engine 2.5LInline 4 Gas engine
Transmission CVT automatic 6-speed automatic 6-speed Automatic 6-speed Automatic
Power 181hp @ 6000 rpm 164hp @ 6200 rpm  168hp @ 6000 rpm 187hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 175 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm 151 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm  170 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm 185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm

The base 2.4-liter engine on the 2018 Kia Sportage is adequate but fails to impress, however, the engine feels quiet and there is minimal cabin noise. A 2.0-liter turbocharged engine on the SX trim performs better and compares well with similarly powerful Ford Escape. Optional all-wheel drive across the line-up reacts quickly in slippery condition providing extra grip at rear wheels. Unique bumpers in AWD Sportage provide them a little more ground clearance which is helpful in snow-covered terrain.

Acceleration

The base Sportage feels lively but its energy fades at higher speeds. It takes 8.8 seconds to make 0-60 which is average for the class. The SX Turbo although with a zesty engine sprint to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds beating most in the competition. As it is fast it is also the most expensive trim in the line-up.

Models Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
0-60 MPH 8.8 sec 8.3 sec 8.9 sec 8.3 sec
Quarter mile 16.2 sec @ 86.4 mph 16.5 sec @ 84 mph 16.6 @ 86 mph 16.3 sec @ 83.8 mph
Engine 2.4L 2.0L 2.5L 2.5L
EmissionTons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year 6.8 6.8 7.3 6.5

Similar to its rivals the Kia Sportage's performance is what's expected of a typical SUV. All 4 cars go neck the neck in the quarter-mile run with no major difference.

Braking and Handling

The 2018 Kia Sportage is a solid performer overall and handling is a strong point of this mid-size SUV. Steering feels light and quick to respond.  It moves confidently on the highway and feels in control and grounded around corners. Its six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and the Sportage handles dirt road with ease. Although there is not enough ground clearance to call it a serious off-roader. Brakes in the Sportage feel strong even after repetitive use and stops from 60 mph in 118 feet which is the least in the segment.

Model Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
Brake front(in) 12.0 12.1 12.8 11.7
Brake Rear(in) 11.9 11.9 12 11.9
Curb weight(lbs) 3305 3300 3542 3563
60-0 MPH (ft.) 118 123 123 135

Compared to the rival cars weighing the same and installed with similar rotars, the Sportage performs exceptionally well. While other cars took over 120 feet to halt, Kia managed it in under 120 feet. 

Towing Capacity

Well, you cannot tow more than 2000-pounds with this compact SUV. As compared to rivals these figures neither impresses nor does it disappoint as rivals like the Hyundai Tucson has lesser towing capacity whereas Mazda equals the Kia. So, if you are looking for an SUV hauler then go for the Escape as it offers best in class towing capacity.

Model Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
Weight (lbs) 2000 1500 1500-3500 2000
Drive Train AWD AWD FWD AWD
Engine 2.0L 2.0L 2.5L 2.5L

Fuel Economy

7.1/10

Kia has always been successful in making best in class fuel efficient vehicle and the Sportage is another example of that. The base engine in the Sportage gets an EPA rating of 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 26 combined while the turbocharged engine is rated at 21 mpg city and 26 on the highway. Mazda X-5, however, scores a point above when it comes to fuel efficiency.

Model Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
MPG (city) 23 23 21 24
MPG (highway) 30 30 29 31
MPG (combined) 26 26 24 27

The Sportage delivers aptly for a mid-size SUV. Wile the Hyundai Tucson shares a similar sense of fuel efficiency as the Sportage. However, it was Mazda who generates the best in the line efficiency. It was the Ford Escape who was last in the economy section. 

 

Interior

6.5/10

“What has improved, however, is visibility, thanks to thinner A- and C-pillars and more rear glass, which is a welcome change. … Extending over the back seat was my favorite of the interior features — a massive panoramic moonroof. … When open, it lets in tons of light and air”- Cars.com

Seating and Comfort 

Kia Sportage interior looks plush and above average for the segment. You get a sporty dashboard along with intuitive controls in the front cabin which also has an abundance of legroom for a small crossover. It although compromises on the cargo space. Kia boasts multiple sizes touchscreen infotainment system in the Sportage which is quick to respond. The center stack tilts toward drivers making all the control within reach.

Model Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
Passenger capacity 5 5 5 5
Passenger Volume(ft cube) 98.6 102.2 98.1 103.6
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(In.)   39.3/57.1/41.5 39.6/57.1/41.5 39.9/56/43.1 39.7/57.1/41
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(In.)   39.1/55.1/38.2 39.2/55.1/38.2 39/55.3/36.8 39/54.8/39.6

Getting in and out is made easy by the tall front doors while the rear doors are also enormous in size. The material quality has improved and now its one of the best in the segment. Front seats are roomy and comfy and drivers have a good view of the road. The rear seat offers more space than all the rivals and has enough legroom to accommodate even the 6-footer. Rear seat gets recline feature which is rare among compact SUVs. The 2018 Kia Sportage seats five and comes standard with cloth upholstery.

Interior Features

Optional seating features include:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated and ventilated front seats

Infotainment

The 2018 Sportage offers the best and most tech features in the class. It comes handy with smartphone connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the infotainment system is easy to use and responds quickly to inputs. There are also some physical controls for audio and climate control.

Cargo Space

With all the space that Kia has provided inside means that it has compromised on the cargo space. It has less cargo space than many class rivals and you get 30.7-cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up. Fold them down to get a maximum cargo capacity of 60.1-cubic feet. The rear seats fold completely flat making it easy to load long items. There is also extra space beneath the cargo floor to store smaller items. A hands-free liftgate is available which opens up if you stand behind it with the proximity key in your pocket.

Model Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
Behind 2nd row (ft.cube) 30.7 31.0 34.3 34.1
With 2nd row folded (ft.cube) 60.1 61.9 67.8 64.8

Though Kia delivers a decent boot space its nothing compared to what its rivals have to offer. The Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape offers a fair 34 cubic feet of cargo while Tucson delivers a hair more. 

Exterior

6.8/10

"You either like the high-mounted headlights or you don't, so you can make up your own mind there. As for the rest of the stubby little Sportage, we're quite fond of it. The lines are clean and crisp. The "tiger-nose" grille treatment works well here, both aesthetically and in establishing the Sportage as a Kia from first glance"-KBB

Dimensions and Weight 

The first thing that you will notice about the 2018 Sportage is that it looks unconventional. It stands out in the competition and buying options will vary according to styling preference. Not much has changed with the 2018 model, Kia has maintained the curves and lines are clean and crisp. The tiger-nose grille treatment works well with the overall design of the car. From sides, it looks well-proportioned and sleek.

Model Kia Sportage LX Hyundai Tucson SE Ford Escape S Mazda CX-5 sport
Curb weight(lbs) 3305 3300 3542 3563
Length(in) 176.4 176.2 178.1 179.1
Width(in) 73.0 72.8 72.4 72.5
Height(in) 64.4 64.8 66.3 65.3
Ground clearance(in) 6.4 6.4 7.9 7.6
Wheelbase(in) 105.1 105.1 105.9 106.3
Track width(in) F/R 63.5/64 63.3/63.8 61.5/61.6 62.8/6.2

Other SUVs in the lot features similar dimensions and curb weight, hence, no sense of competition here. 

Safety

8.6/10

The 2018 Kia Sportage earns Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, however, it rated the headlight “Acceptable” so there is certainly room for improvement. NHSTA meanwhile rated the Sportage with a five star overall but it gets a four-star for frontal crash and rollover crash protection. Kia also scores well when it comes to reliability as it covers the vehicle with a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/10,000-mile powertrain warranty.

NHSTA Rating

Overall Rating 5*
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating 4*
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver 4*
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger 5*
Overall Side Crash Rating 5*
Side Barrier Rating 5*
Side Barrier Rating Driver 5*
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat 5*
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat 5*
Combined Side Rating Front Seat 5*
Rollover Rating 4*

IIHS Rating 

Crashworthiness 
Small overlap front driver side Good
Small overlap front passenger side Good
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Good
Roof strength Good
Head restraints & seats Good

 

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation 
Front crash prevention Superior
Headlights Acceptable
LATCH Acceptable

Safety features

Kia has loaded the Sportage with safety features which come both standard and optional. It comes out of the factory equipped with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and a rearview camera. The EX and SX trim gets blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts as standard. The SX also gets AEB ( Automatic emergency braking ) and lane departure warning as standard (optional for LX and EX).

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
  • Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
  • Rear Child-Safety Door Locks
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)
  • Front and Rear Crumple Zones
     

Competition

Kia Sportage Vs Hyundai Tucson

Both the Sportage and Tucson offer smooth handling, ample power, and a comfy ride, but the Hyundai scores ahead in fuel efficiency. Tucson is quiet and roomy but the cabin quality is not as plush as the Sportage. Both the cars showcase a user-friendly infotainment system but Kia offers more features. There is a price difference between the two as Sportage has a higher sticker price but Tucson has excellent safety scores. Both these SUVs are closely matched so choosing between them will depend upon what factor matter the most to you.

Kia Sportage Vs Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 is a performance-oriented SUV with nimble handling and steering. It also has better mileage than the Sportage and boasts a well-built cabin like the latter. There are a lot of available features but the CX-5 doesn’t offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay which is available in Kia. While both the SUVs accommodate five adults the Mazda will leave a bigger dent in your pocket although it is a better option as it gives you more SUV like feel.

Kia Sportage Vs Ford Escape

There is not much difference in the pricing of the two SUVs but the Escape offers better-towing capacity and more cargo space than the Sportage. Ford is fun to drive and feature a well-built interior but a lot of features are only available in the top trim. Kia, however, boasts upscale interior and has plenty of space for the taller passengers in both the rows. If you are looking for an SUV with a great value you will be happy with the Sportage which also has best in class warranty.

Final Verdict

Kia has impressed us with some of the best exterior and interior design in the class. The 2018 Sportage is a good-looking and well-performing SUV. It boasts many features that a buyer looks for in an SUV, like roomy seats, plenty of techs and nimble handling. Although there are a few drawbacks as well, both the engine has not enough power to impress and the cargo space is undersized. The Ex model with its competitive pricing and available list of features makes for a good option. So, if you are in the market the Sportage is worth a look.

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