2018 Kia Sportage Performance

Rating7.5

Ranked #10 in Compact Suv

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Starting MSRP 

$23,600 - $34,400

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2018 Kia Sportage SUV Performance, 0-60, Top Speed And MPG

Updated on: June 22, 2022

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Kia’s budget-friendly compact crossover, the Sportage, is in its 4th generation, and remains one of the best SUVs to buy. 2018 Sportage is known for its affordability and powerful motor in the SX trim. For 2018 MY, new features have been added to the entire lineup. But the most prominent ones are the EX Sport Appearance package and an electronic parking brake in SX Turbo trim.

2018 Kia Sportage Three Quarter View

The top spec variant of the 2018 Sportage, although slightly more expensive, offers more engaging and exciting to drive compared to most competitors in the segment. It poses some serious competition to the likes of Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, and Mazda CX-5. 

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2018 Kia Sportage Engine

The 2018 Sportage features the same powertrains as last year; a 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4-cylinder base engine putting out 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine is available in the LX and EX trims. You can upgrade to a 2.0L turbo inline-4 engine for extra power if you opt for the SX Turbo variant. This unit churns out 240 hp with FWD drivetrain (237 hp with AWD drivetrain) and 260 lb-ft of torque. You get a standard FWD drivetrain configuration with both variants however you can opt for AWD drivetrain for extra.

2018 Kia Sportage Engine Bay

Both the engine units are mated by an excellent 6-speed Sportmatic automatic gearbox, which is the only transmission available across all the variants of the Sportage. The gear shifts are quick and accurate. Power delivery is linear and refined. However, they lack the punch.

Models

2018 Kia Sportage

2018 Hyundai Tucson

2018 Mazda CX-5

2018 Ford Escape

MSRP

$23,600

$22,550

$24,150

$23,940

Engine

2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.0L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.5L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.5L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

Power

181 hp @ 6000 rpm

164 hp @ 6200 rpm

187 hp @ 6000 rpm

168 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque

175 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

151 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

186 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

170 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

2018 Kia Sportage does put out a healthy dose of power when compared to its chief rivals, the Hyundai Tucson and the Ford Escape. But falls short of the sportier Mazda CX-5; it puts out the highest power and torque figures on paper. In most situations, the Sportage’s performance is adequate, but it lacks the extra power that would be ideal for overtaking maneuvers.

2018 Kia Sportage Acceleration

When it comes to acceleration, the 2.4-liter inline-4 unit in the 2018 Sportage feels out of place. Although gear shifts are quite smooth, they are tuned for a relaxed ride, and therefore take their time to get going.

2018 Kia Sportage Accelerate 0-60 MPH in 8.8 secs

In base avatar, the 2018 Kia Sportage hits 0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds and covers a quarter-mile in 17.3 seconds. If you opt for the Turbo variant, it covers 0-60 MPH run in 7.1 seconds. It packs more punch than the base engine and thus better acceleration but it is still not quick enough.

Models

2018 Kia Sportage

2018 Hyundai Tucson

2018 Mazda CX-5

2018 Ford Escape

0-60 MPH

8.8 secs

7.6 secs

7.2 secs

9 secs

Quarter Mile

17.3 secs

15.9 secs

16 secs

17.7 secs

Engine

2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.5L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.5L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2018 Mazda CX-5 has the best 0-60 mph timing among its rivals. Ford Escape has a lot less power and is relatively heavier than the competition, thus making it the slowest off the line to 60 mph, as well as in quarter-mile timings. Sportage sits in the middle order; although it has good power at first, it struggles at higher revs.

2018 Kia Sportage Brake Performance

Acceleration timings are vital, but braking performance is just as important, if not more so. The 2018 Sportage comes equipped with 12-inch brake rotors at the front and 11.9-inch brake rotors at the rear. It delivers a solid, consistent, and responsive braking performance at all speeds.

2018 Kia Sportage Alloy Wheel

When the brakes were slammed at 60 MPH, it came to a stop in just 117 feet. Also, Automatic emergency braking has been introduced as an option on the LX and EX variants. Along with that, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control make Sportage one of the safest vehicles in its segment. 

Models

2018 Kia Sportage

2018 Hyundai Tucson

2018 Mazda CX-5

2018 Ford Escape

Brake Front (in)

12.0

12.0

11.7

12.8

Brake Rear (in)

11.9

11.9

11.9

12.0

Curb Weight (lbs)

3305

3300

3527

3542

60-0 MPH (ft.)

117

NA

136

138

2018 Kia Sportage does not have the largest brakes in the segment but it is capable of stopping from 60 mph within 117 ft. This is due to its relatively low curb weight. The Ford Escape, despite having the largest brakes amongst rivals, takes the most distance to stop owing to its heavy weight.

2018 Kia Sportage Handling

2018 Kia Sportage is one of the better-handling crossover SUVs on the market. The steering is precise and responsive, sending the Sportage effortlessly over corners. Kia appears to have discovered the elusive sweet spot between too soft and too stiff ride. There is very little body roll compared to rivals, especially when cornering at speed.

Normal, Sport and Eco settings are available to customize the driving experience as per your needs, with Sport mode being especially effective on the LX and EX models. The top-end Turbo variant gets revised dampers, and tighter suspension springs, making it even more engaging to drive on twisty roads.

2018 Kia Sportage MPG Figures

2018 Sportage falls behind its rivals in terms of fuel economy. Compact crossover SUVs are popular amongst buyers since they are supposed to be very practical given their price tag. However, the Sportage’s inefficient powertrains deliver lackluster fuel efficiency figures. The base engine with FWD drivetrain is rated at 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. Opting for the AWD drivetrain drops the figures by 1 MPG in the city and 4 MPG on the highway. Opting for the turbo mill drops the MPG figures by 1-3 MPG in accordance to the drivetrain configuration. As standard, you get a 16.4-gallon fuel tank which puts its driving range close to 500 miles on the highway.

Models

2018 Kia Sportage

2018 Hyundai Tucson

2018 Mazda CX-5

2018 Ford Escape

MPG (City)

23

23

25

21

MPG (Highway)

30

30

31

29

MPG (Combined)

26

26

28

24

Fuel Capacity

16.4 gallons

16.4 gallons

14.8 gallons

15.7 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)

377.2/492/426 .4 miles

377.2/492/426 .4 miles

370/458.8/414.4 miles

329.7/455.3/376.8 miles

The saving grace for the 2018 Sportage is the large 16.4-gallon fuel tank, which covers up for the relatively poor fuel efficiency figures. Being sister concerns, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson share the same mechanicals and fuel economy. The CX-5 has the smallest fuel tank at 14.8 gallons, therefore reducing the range of an otherwise efficient powertrain when compared with the Sportage.

Verdict

The Kia Sportage has progressed from a bargain alternative to a serious challenger in its class. Despite the relatively poor fuel efficiency figures, and a refined yet boring base engine, the Sportage does well in the handling department. The additional safety features, including the optional Automatic Braking System, also ensures that the Sportage is a responsible yet fun little SUV to drive. Overall, the 2018 Sportage is a really good alternative to big names such as the Escape and the Tucson.

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