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2020 Kia Sportage Review

When a car needs little change or improvement year after year, it’s a testament to a great design that has struck a chord with the public. The 2020 Kia Sportage is one such vehicle, a compact crossover with sporty good looks, a long roster of sophisticated features and one of the best standard warranties in the business. Still not convinced? Consider that the 2020 Sportage gets good marks in all of its crash tests and does well in the areas of resale and reliability. Compared to the Honda CR-V and the Nissan Rogue, the Sportage has a more robust look that’s almost Porsche Macan-like until you get to Kia’s signature front end. The Sportage is also big on choice, offering the option of all-wheel drive (AWD), normally aspirated or turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and enough electronic goodies to make the Geek Squad consider abandoning their Volkswagen Beetles.

What’s New for 2020?

The 2020 Kia Sportage gets a technological update that brings better tech to the lower trims. An 8-in infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a driver condition monitor, lane-keeping assist and forward-collision mitigation are all now standard equipment on every 2020 Sportage. A new S trim was added, slotted between the base LX model and the mid-range EX. See the 2020 Kia Sportage models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Attractive exterior and interior design
  • AWD available on all trim levels
  • Lusty 2.0-liter turbocharged engine on top trim level
  • Generous standard tech
  • 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

What We Don’t

  • No longer the least expensive vehicle in its class
  • Blind spots have grown with the redesign
  • Fuel economy lags behind the top of the class
  • Less cargo space than some rivals
  • Some driver assists not standard on all trims

How Much?


Fuel Economy

LX and EX models come with a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) direct-injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) LX and EX vehicles are rated to achieve 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while AWD LX and EX versions get 21 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. SX Turbo models get a turbocharged direct-injected 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making a healthy 240 hp (237 hp with AWD), and FWD versions can achieve 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, while AWD models get 20 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. A 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is standard on all trims.

Standard Features & Options

The Sportage LX ($25,035, FWD; $26,535, AWD) is the base Sportage model. Standard features and equipment include 17-in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, privacy glass, power-adjustable outside mirrors, a rear window wiper and defroster, cargo net hooks, a luggage under-tray, a dual-level cargo floor, cloth seats, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, front seatback pockets, a manually adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning with rear vents, power door locks, keyless remote entry, power windows, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a 160-watt stereo system with six speakers and an 8-in touchscreen, a 3.5-in thin-film-transistor LCD cluster, a Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, USB and auxiliary input jacks, 4-wheel disc brakes, selectable drive modes (Normal, Sport and Eco) and a rearview camera.

The Popular package ($1,595) is available for LX models. It includes a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, roof rails, UV-reducing solar-control glass, dual-zone automatic climate control, a windshield wiper deicer, a rear-center armrest, cup holders and dual illuminated-visor vanity mirrors.

The Sportage S ($27,035, FWD; $28,735, AWD) is an all-new trim for 2020. It includes dark chrome trim with 18-in dark alloy wheels, fog lights, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic collision warning, leatherette seats, a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, roof rails and power folding mirrors. It’s worth noting that upgrading to AWD on the S trim is an upcharge of $1,700 which is unusual considering adding AWD costs $1,500 on every other Sportage trim.

The Sportage EX ($28,235, FWD; $29,735, AWD) includes all the S’s standard features and adds or upgrades with 18-in alloy wheels, a gloss-black grille with chrome trim, a smart power liftgate, solar glass, a windshield wiper deicer, dual illuminated-visor vanity mirrors, heated front seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, smart key and push-button start and an additional USB port for the back seat.

An EX Technology package ($4,500) can be added to EX models with the Premium package. This includes leather seats, a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, a heated steering wheel, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, 8-in touchscreen navigation and SiriusXM, a 320-watt Harman Kardon 8-speaker premium sound system, ventilated front seats, an 8-way power front passenger seat, front and rear parking-assist sensors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass, and a compact spare tire.

The Sportage SX Turbo ($34,535, FWD; $36,035, AWD) comes with all the EX’s standard features and adds or upgrades to 19-in alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a compact spare tire, a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, bi-xenon headlights with dynamic bending light, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, a dual exhaust, power-folding outside mirrors with LED turn signals, metal-finished front and rear skid plates, metal sport pedals, metal door-scuff plates, LED interior lighting, ventilated front seats, a power adjustable front passenger seat, a heated flat-bottom steering wheel, paddle shifters, dashboard stitching, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold function, a black headliner, black high-gloss interior inserts, an 8-in touchscreen with navigation, a 4.2-in color thin-film-transistor LCD cluster, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking-assist sensors. The biggest upgrade is the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four engine making 240 hp (237 hp with AWD) and 260 lb-ft of torque delivering exciting performance.


All Sportage models come with advanced dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side-curtain airbags and dual full-length side-curtain airbags with rollover sensing. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, downhill brake control and LATCH connectors are all standard, as is a rearview camera display. Newly standard on all models for 2020 are forward-collision mitigation, driver attention warning and lane-keeping assist. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is available on the LX model and standard on every other trim.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the Sportage as Good on all tests and gave it a Superior score for front-crash prevention when equipped with autonomous emergency braking., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s website, gave the Sportage a 5-star overall rating.

Behind the Wheel

There’s a reason compact crossover vehicles like the Sportage have gained a big chunk of market share recently: They’re great to drive. With just a slightly taller stance than a comparably sized sedan, the compact crossover is more comfortable, offers greater visibility and nearly matches the performance and fuel economy of its trunk-laden cousins. Add in greater utility and available AWD like the Sportage has, and you’ve got a winning combination.

The Sportage impresses with good handling and a quiet, composed ride. LX, S and EX models, with the 2.4-liter engine producing 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, deliver more than adequate acceleration and have no problem skirting through traffic and merging onto fast-moving freeways. The SX Turbo’s 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque are better matched to the Sportage’s nearly 4,000-lb curb weight, and enthusiastic drivers will appreciate the sport-tuned suspension’s slightly stiffer ride quality.

The Sportage’s interior has really come a long way, with a beautifully designed and executed layout that puts the driver in control. The long list of standard and available features leave little to be desired, especially in the loaded SX Turbo models. Kia’s fit and finish are impressive, with great materials selection and tasteful restraint.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Honda CR-V — The best-selling crossover in the United States is a good benchmark for refinement and reliability.

2019 Toyota RAV4Toyota’s long-running compact crossover gets a complete makeover this year, providing more room, more features and more power. Every RAV4 comes standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense-P suite of collision-avoidance and driver-assist systems.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Mazda has the edge when it comes to zoom factor, and the CX-5 delivers the best driving experience in the class. There’s also a diesel engine option.

Used Audi Q5 — A 2012-2017 Audi Q5 gives you more power and prestige than a Kia Sportage, not to mention superior ride and handling.

Autotrader’s Advice

Kia has added to its reputation for value with some of the best exterior and interior designs available in popular brands. The 2020 Kia Sportage is a good-looking, well-performing compact crossover that measures up to the best in the class. The EX model, with its impressive equipment list and available AWD, represents the best balance of price, convenience and capability in the Sportage lineup. If you’re looking for a replacement for your sedan or large SUV, you may find a good match here. Find a Kia Sportage for sale

Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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