2021 Kia Sportage

MSRP $23,990

Ranked #12 in Compact Suv

7.3

Overall Rating

2021 Kia Sportage Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 18, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Kia Sportage is the Korean manufacturer's answer to buyers looking for a little funk in the crossover sector, and we’re not just talking about looks. The 2021 Kia Sportage does look funny, but don’t let that deter you from the enjoyable driving experience that it offers, as a result of a quick turbocharged engine and taut suspension.

2021 Kia Sportage Latest Updates

  • Oct' 16, 2021 : Kia Announces Global Sales For August 2021 Read More »
See detailed review »

Pros

Strong engine performance

Premium, well-designed interiors

Balanced ride quality and handling

Cons

Limited interior space

Engine climbs revs quick, could be more efficient

The infotainment system needs an upgrade

What's New?

The 2021 Kia Sportage is a carryover model from the previous year

New appearance packages in the form of the Nightfall and Nightfall Premium Edition packages


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$23990

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

top speed

125 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

144 cu.in.

horsepower

175 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

175 lb.-ft.. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6 speed shiftable automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

12/11.9 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

107.1 in.

length

184.1 in.

width

73 in.

height

55.7 in.

curb weight

3305 lbs.

ground clearance

6.4 in.

capacity

passenger volume

98.6 cu ft.

cargo volume

60.1 cu ft.

towing capacity

1653 lbs.

payload capacity

1202 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8.4 sec.

zero to 100 mph

21 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16.4 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

170 ft.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

1 yr./ 10000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LX$23,990 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Kia Sportage in Black Cherry color
Black Cherry

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

Pricing and Features

5.5

Engine and Performance

7.9

Fuel Economy

7.1

Interior

7.9

Exterior

6.8

Safety

8.6

Competition

7.0

Final Verdict

7.0

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.3

Overall Rating


Apart from the exciting drive, the 2021 Kia Sportage does offer upmarket interiors that are quite premium for what you pay, although the levels of practicality you'd expect from the Sportage as a Kia vehicle are amiss, and the punchy engines aren’t the most frugal. It goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, and the Hyundai Tucson.

2021 Kia Sportage SUV front angle view
2021 Kia Sportage SUV rear angle view

7.9/10
Engine and Performance

7.1/10
Fuel Economy

7.9/10
Interior

6.8/10
Exterior

8.6/10
Safety

7.0/10
Competition

7.0/10
Final Verdict


2021 Kia Sportage Features

The 2021 Kia Sportage is sold across four trim levels, separated by reasonable price increments. The only trim that gets the turbo engine is the top-spec SX Turbo, which is around $14k more expensive than the base variant. AWD is available on all trims at an additional cost of around $1,500, and it is a necessary upgrade for those who deal with adverse weather conditions year-round. 

Trims

LX

S

EX

SX Turbo

MSRP (FWD)

$24,090

$26,590

$27,390

$33,750

MSRP (AWD)

$25,590

$28,290

$28,890

$35,250

Features

2.4-liter NA GDI engine

Adds or upgrades to “LX”

Adds or upgrades to “S”

Adds or upgrades to “EX”

 

Tilt and Telescoping steering wheel

18-inch alloy wheels

Smart Key entry with push-button start

Ventilated front seats

 

Rear AC vents

Smart Cruise Control with Start/Stop function

10-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support

19-inch machined alloy wheels

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity

Powered ORVM with LED turn signal

Powered rear tailgate

LED interior lighting 

 

6-speaker audio setup

Roof rails

Heated front seats

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 GDI engine

 

The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system

USB 2.1 rear charging ports

Dual-zone automatic climate control

Steering Wheel-mounted paddle shifters

   

Blind-spot collision warning

 

LED front fog lamps

We Recommend 

While the driving dynamics of the 2021 Kia Sportage would go well with the turbocharged engine, the SX Turbo variant is priced out of sensible reach for most people in the market for a Sportage. A more financially sustainable option would be to pick the EX trim with all-wheel drive, saving around $7k on the SX Turbo sans the peppier engine, but with all the necessary features for a hassle-free ownership experience.

2021 Kia Sportage Engine and Performance

7.9/10

The 2021 Kia Sportage is powered by a 2.4L inline-4 that is naturally aspirated in the first three trims and gets a well-programmed turbocharger in the top-spec trim. The engine does have decent refinement levels but isn’t the best engine in the segment in the naturally aspirated guise. It fails to provide the kind of fuel economy it should for its sedate power and torque outputs, which are rated at 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft respectively.

2021 Kia Sportage SUV 

The 6-speed automatic transmission is nothing extraordinary but handles shifting duties fairly well. It does hold revs well enough, although the engine doesn’t have a surplus of power to wring out of it.

Models

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

2021 Mazda CX-5

2022 Hyundai Tucson

MSRP

$24090

$26440

$26545

$26135

Engine

2.4 liter, naturally aspirated, inline 4 cylinder

2.0 liter, turbocharged, inline 4 cylinder

2.5 liter, naturally aspirated, inline 4 cylinder

2.5 liter, naturally aspirated, inline 4 cylinder

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power (hp @ RPM

181 @ 6000

184 @ 4400

184 @ 6000

187 @ 6100

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

175 @ 4000

221 @ 1600

186 @ 4000

178 @ 4000

0-60 MPH (seconds)

8.4

8.8

8.3

8.8

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

16.4

16.9

16.4

16.8

Top-Speed (MPH)

125

125

130

130

In any other segment, you’d expect the Hyundai and Kia vehicles to share most mechanical parts, especially the engine. Nevertheless, the Hyundai Tucson has a stronger, albeit slightly larger engine than that of the 2021 Kia Sportage, but is slower from 0 to 60 and over a standing quarter mile. The Tucson does, however, have a higher top speed. The Mazda CX-5 is the quickest from 0 to 60, finishing the sprint in 8.3 seconds, but it loses its lead over a quarter-mile as it finishes alongside the Kia Sportage. 

How well does the 2021 Kia Sportage handle?

The Kia Sportage, as its name suggests, is plenty sporty for a crossover. Its slightly aggressive, sporty/funky styling is a precursor to its driving dynamics, which are plenty of fun to play around with. The Kia Sportage loves to change directions, and the body roll is also well controlled for a truly fun experience attacking corners, although it isn’t a corner carver by any means.

2021 Kia Sportage SUV ride and handling

Strong levels of grip allow you to play around and push the Sportage’s limits around quite often. As for ride quality, Kia has achieved one of the best balances between handling and comfort in the segment. Despite being a quick handler, the 2021 Kia Sportage gobbles up impurities in the road with considerable ease, and ensures sharp potholes and bumps to translate into back pain for anyone in the cabin. 

2021 Kia Sportage Braking Performance

The 2021 Kia Sportage has disc brakes on all four wheels to ensure braking ability to complement its driving characteristics. There are 12” brake disc rotors on the front wheels and 11.9” rotors on the rear wheels to help the Kia Sportage come to a halt from 60 miles an hour over a distance of 114 feet. Considering the fact that supercar and sports car territory is a braking distance of around 100 feet, the Sportage is very capable of deceleration.

Models

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

2021 Mazda CX-5

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

12

13.4

11.7

12

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

11.9

11.8

11.9

11.9

Curb Weight (lbs)

3305

3735

3552

3329

60-0 (feet)

114

124

115

118

Despite having the same brake rotor sizes and similar curb weights, the Kia Sportage is quicker to a halt as compared to the 2022 Hyundai Tucson. The heavier Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5 also exhibit decent braking ability, although the Mazda CX-5 finds itself in the same league as the Sportage, while the Tiguan goes from 60 to 0 over a distance of 124 feet. The Mazda CX-5 also has an awkward arrangement of brakes wherein the front rotors are smaller than those of the rear. 

2021 Kia Sportage Fuel Economy

7.1/10

The fact that the Sportage makes use of a naturally aspirated 2.4L engine probably gives you the idea that it offers great fuel economy, but that is just not the case. Unfortunately, despite all its refinement, the Kia Sportage doesn’t offer the most frugal engine in the segment. For each gallon consumed, the 2021 Kia Sportage can do 23 miles in the city and 30 miles out on the highway, resulting in a combined 26 mpg. 

Models

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

2021 Mazda CX-5

2022 Hyundai Tucson

MPG (City)

23

23

25

26

MPG (Highway)

30

29

31

33

MPG (Combined)

26

25

28

29

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

16.4

15.3

14.8

14.3

Range (City/Highway/Combined in miles)

377.2/492.0/426.4

351.9/443.7/382.5

370/458.8

371.8/471.9/414.7

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson’s 2.5L engine is more fuel-efficient than the 2.4L unit in the Sportage, as it offers 3 more miles per gallon in the city and on the highway, offering a best in class combined mpg of 29. The SkyActiv engine in the Mazda CX-5 offers decent fuel economy as well at 28 mpg combined. The Kia Sportage does have its fuel capacity working in its favor, as its 16.4-gallon tank is the largest in the segment and allows for the longest range on a full tank.

2021 Kia Sportage Interior

7.9/10

The interior of the 2021 Kia Sportage garners itself with a mixed bag of reactions. Aesthetically, the cabin is pleasing with a very premium design, while the materials used don’t feel out of place in a car around the $30k range. The dashboard is slightly angled towards the driver to emphasize the fact that the Sportage is meant to be a driver’s car. Everything about the cabin doesn’t work in its favor, however, as the actual space available isn’t the most, especially when compared to rivals in the segment. 

2021 Kia Sportage SUV cockpit area

Models

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

2021 Mazda CX-5

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Seating capacity

5

7

5

5

Front row (Headroom/Shoulder room/ Legroom in inches)

39.3/57.1/41.5

39.6/57/40.2

39.7/57.1/41

40.1/57.6/41.4

Second row (Headroom/Shoulder room/ Legroom in inches)

39.1/55.1/38.2

39.1/55.9/36.5

39/54.8/39.6

39.5/56/41.3

Third row (Headroom/Shoulder room/ Legroom in inches)

NA

33.8/47.8/27.9

NA

NA

Trunk capacity (cubic feet)

30.7

12

30.9

38.7

Headroom can get limited in the front seats, but the Sportage provides leading legroom to compensate for the lack of headroom and accommodate taller passengers better in its front seats. The rear seats of the Sportage also offer little legroom at 38.2”, which is bested by the 2022 Hyundai Tucson by quite a margin. The 2021 Sportage has a well-sized trunk, although both the CX-5 and Tucson have more cargo capacity. Top interior features in the 2021 Kia Sportage:

  • 10-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support
  • Heated front seats
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • LED interior lighting 
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters

2021 Kia Sportage Infotainment System

The Kia Sportage’s infotainment system is probably the one aspect of the car that is outright lackluster. The 2021 Kia Sportage offers little in the way of convenience and connectivity, offering just the basics that we have come to expect from infotainment systems today.

2021 Kia Sportage SUV infotainment screen

The 6-speaker audio system in the base variants isn’t great, although the upgrade to the premium Harman Kardon setup is worth it. Highlights of the infotainment system include:

  • 8” touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support
  • Premium Harman Kardon speaker system
  • Built-in navigation 
  • Wireless charging pad

2021 Kia Sportage Exterior

6.8/10

The front fascia of the 2021 Kia Sportage is very contemporary and not to everyone's liking. That being said, it isn’t hideous to most of us and stands out in a respectable way. The 2021 Kia Sportage has compact dimensions and a silhouette that makes the exterior look smaller than it actually is too.

2021 Kia Sportage SUV 

Unlike most crossovers/SUVs, the Sportage has dimensions that make it look no larger than a hatchback on stilts.

Models

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

2021 Mazda CX-5

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Curb weight (lbs.)

3305

3735

3552

3329

Length (inches)

176.4

185.1

179.1

182.3

Width (inches)

73

72.4

72.5

73.4

Height (inches)

64.4

66.3

65.4

65.6

Ground clearance (inches)

6.4

7.9

7.5

7.1

Wheelbase (inches)

105.1

109.8

106.2

108.5

The small wheelbase of the Sportage is an indication of the room available in the car, as it has the smallest wheelbase in the segment. It is also the shortest in terms of length and offers car-like ground clearance compared to the rest of the vehicles in the segment. The Tiguan has the most SUV-like proportions with 7.9” of ground clearance, while the Kia Sportage is also the shortest in terms of height. Standout exterior features include:

  • Powered liftgate
  • Panoramic sunroof with power sunshade
  • Sound-absorbing front windshield glass
  • Auto headlight control
  • 18” machine-finished alloy wheels
  • Heated, power-adjustable, power-folding outside mirrors with LED turn signals
  • LED daytime running lights

2021 Kia Sportage Safety

8.6/10

The 2021 Kia Sportage has received plenty of accolades and recognition of its safety quotient and occupant protection levels. Apart from a 5-star overall safety score from the NHTSA, the 2021 Kia Sportage has been named the Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, making it one of the safest options in its segment due to a number of safety and driver assistance features to ensure occupant safety. Notable safety features include:

  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Forward collision avoidance assist
  • Blindspot collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

2021 Kia Sportage Competition

7.0/10

2021 Kia Sportage vs 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 

The Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan might be similarly sized, but couldn’t be further apart in the type of vehicles they actually are. The Tiguan is a sedate people mover with three rows of seating and a commanding road presence, while the Sportage enjoys a nimble chassis with an added focus on front-seat comfort. If you’re in the market for a crossover, your primary needs will do the job of separating these two for you. 

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 

2021 Kia Sportage vs 2021 Mazda CX-5

While the CX-5 isn’t necessarily marketed as a driver-centric crossover, the sheer thrill of driving one makes it a close contender to the Sportage. While the Sportage offers agility, the Mazda CX-5 offers similar levels of performance at added comfort and fuel economy, while maintaining a level of practicality very similar to that of the Sportage. The Mazda CX-5 does have the potential to be the best in its class, although more practical competition would seem like the better option. Unfortunately for Kia, the Sportage is not more practical than the CX-5, and therefore it's hard for it to beat. 

2021 Mazda CX-5

2021 Kia Sportage vs 2022 Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson has a slightly larger displacement engine that shows higher levels of refinement than the 2.4L unit in the Sportage. While this does look bad for the 2021 Kia Sportage, it does tell us that the next-generation Sportage will offer similar levels of driving excitement and comfort, possibly with a more fuel-efficient engine. The upgraded Tucson is a sign that the Sportage does indeed have room for improvement. 

2022 Hyundai Tucson

 

2021 Kia Sportage Final Verdict

7.0/10

The Kia Sportage may be classified as a crossover, but it offers hatchback levels of space and cargo-carrying capacity. That being said, hatchbacks can also be fairly practical, which the 2021 Kia Sportage is. Its ultimate selling point is its ride quality and driving manners, both of which achieve an engaging yet comfortable balance that is hard for manufacturers to obtain, despite how far the automobile industry has come so far. 

Similar Cars

2021 Volkswagen Atlas
8.3/10
2021 Ford Escape
2021 Ford Escape

MSRP: $24,885

7.5/10
2021 Mazda CX-5
2021 Mazda CX-5

MSRP: $25,190

8.6/10
2021 Hyundai Tucson
2021 Hyundai Tucson

MSRP: $23,550

7.8/10
2021 Toyota RAV4
2021 Toyota RAV4

MSRP: $25,950

8.2/10
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
8.0/10
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
7.8/10