2018 Kia Sportage Problems and Complaints


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2018 Kia Sportage SUV Problems, Issues, Complaints, Recalls, and Which Year to Avoid

Updated on: April 29, 2022

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

Kia has been on a rough ride with its Sportage line-up of compact SUVs in recent times. With recalls for two potential fire hazards on its name, this SUV has drastically fallen in appeal in recent years despite being one of the best value-oriented offerings in its segment. This aspect has also overshadowed the fact that the 2018 Kia Sportage has seen a decent fall in complaint numbers to just 53, from over 170 last year. So, in the company of acclaimed entry-level midsize SUVs like the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4, and the Ford Escape, does the Kia Sportage stand a chance to be even considered as a viable alternative with pricings starting at $23,600? Here are some issues that you should be aware of which should help ease the decision.

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2018 Kia Sportage User Complaints and Problems

Mechanical Complaints

  • Engine- Engine complaints have been a widespread issue on the 2018 Kia Sportage. Issues vary from inability to start, hesitation on acceleration, stalling when slowing down, and even the vehicle going to limp mode. Issues are more common on engines that have received a rebuild or replacement. The root cause of the issue was traced to be a faulty high-pressure fuel pump line which limited fuel supply to the engine. The leaks also have led to at least 6 cases of engine fires just for the 2018 model year as recorded by the NHTSA. A recall (ID-18V907000) has been initiated by the automaker recently to solve this issue.
  • Transmission- Transmission jerk and slip have been a common issue on the 2018 Kia Sportage. Owners notice the engine free-revving in “drive” mode as if the transmission was slotted into “neutral”. Occasional supers and jerks when acceleration and slowing down are also common occurrences. Though a TCM software update was released, the issue still persists for some users.
  • Service brakes- Not a widespread issue, but there is a possibility of the failure of electronic parking or service brake module might lead to loss of braking ability. The NHTSA has recorded two instances of crashes concerning this problem. Also, the automaker warns of a high risk of fire even when the vehicle is turned off due to a short circuit in the hydraulic electronic control unit of the brake system.

Electric System complaints

  • Infotainment- Trims equipped with media systems that support the Apple Carplay feature are said to be buggy. The system does not recognize the phone when connected through USB and even if it does, it keeps intermittently disconnecting the phone. Though software updates were made available, random issues still affect users.
  • Exterior Lights- Owners complain about brand new Kia Sportages arriving with faulty speakers for turn signals sounds. Certain batches of the 2018 Kia Sportage has bad speakers on them, which cause the driver to be unaware of the blinker being turned on.
  • On-board electronics- Sudden equipment powerless while driving has been a common occurrence on the. Drives who have come across this issue complain about the radio, meter console and even steering/ brake assist failure when this happens. This issue was later diagnosed to be an extension of the engine complaints in which the vehicle loses system power as the engine stalls. Two crashes have been reported in this case by NHTSA.

2018 Kia Sportage Recalls

S. No



Issues Noticed

Additional Remarks



2nd February 2022


Engine compartment fire

The Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) module could malfunction and cause an electrical short, which could result in an engine compartment fire while parked or while driving, increasing the risk of injury.

The dealers will replace certain fuses in the electrical junction box. Vehicles equipped with an electronic parking brake (EPB) will also receive a HECU software update. Repairs will be performed free of charge. Owners are advised to park outside and away from structures as a precaution until the recall repair is complete. The recall began on April 30, 2021.


19th December 2018


High-pressure fuel pipe may leak.

In engines that have previously received replacements, the high-pressure fuel pipe that connects to the fuel pump outlet may have been damaged, misaligned, or improperly torqued during the engine replacement procedure, possibly causing a fuel leak, which in presence of a hot surface can increase the risk of a fire.

The dealers will inspect and replace the fuel pipe, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on January 17, 2019

Should you buy a used 2018 Kia Sportage?

We have always loved the Kia Sportage for being one of the best-rounded packages in its segment, for not that big of an asking price. But with the ongoing controversies about its engine failure and fires, it would be hard for us to recommend this SUV to anyone. As things stand, Kia has brought out a bunch of fixes to rectify these issues which promise to make things a bit better. But if you are planning to get one, make sure that the vehicle has a clean service record with all major services and recalls put forward by the automaker done at the correct times. This should ensure trouble-free ownership and personal safety given the Suv's shaky status in recent times. All said, if you just looking for a city runner in this price range, we would definitely advise you to skip this for something like the Honda CR-v or the Toyota RAV4.

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