Buyer's Guide

2021 Kia Sportage
Select a Different Model (8 Available): EX AWD
Fuel Economy $ 22 / 26 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 31/60 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 5/5
Horsepower 181@6,000
See All Specs
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2021 Kia Sportage MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Long standard warranty
  • Good handling

Cons

  • Inefficient and slow
  • Stiff ride
  • Cargo space is on the smaller side

Dating back to the mid-1990s, the Sportage is one of Kia's oldest nameplates. Since then, the Sportage has evolved from an anonymous compact SUV to one with much bolder styling. Closely related to the Hyundai Tucson, Kia distinguishes the Sportage as the sportier sibling by offering a high-powered SX Turbo model complete with a more powerful engine and sport-tuned suspension. Kia recently refreshed the Sportage with some mild exterior tweaks, including a revised front fascia.

What's New

  • S Nightfall Edition and S Nightfall Edition Premium replace S Sunroof and S Premium package variants
  • Nightfall Edition models get black trim pieces on the front bumper, side sills, fog lights, and lower fascia, 18-inch alloy wheels with black center caps, and a unique "Sportage" badge across the rear liftgate

What We Think

The Sportage emphasizes standout looks and value across the model lineup; however, it suffers from serious drawbacks that keep it from being a class leader. Neither engine option imbues the Sportage with quick acceleration; even the optional turbocharged unit isn't speedy partially because of the Sportage's near-two-ton curb weight. To make things worse, both powertrains are also inefficient for the class. The handling, while responsive on a winding road, is on the stiff side. At least Kia's infotainment system is user-friendly and feels modern. The interior is nicely built, too, featuring nice materials in most places. Although it can't compete with the CR-V, most will find the Sportage is spacious enough in the front and rear seats.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Under the hood of the 2021 Sportage is a 2.4-liter I-4 with 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The range-topping SX Turbo gets a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with 240 hp (237 hp with AWD) and 260 lb-ft. Both engines are paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Sportage is one of the least efficient compact SUVs available. Models with the base 2.4-liter are rated at 23/30 mpg city/highway in FWD guise and a disappointing 21/25 mpg if you opt for AWD. The turbocharged SX Turbo is good for 20/28 mpg with FWD and 19/24 mpg for AWD models.

Safety

NHTSA: 5 Stars (out of a possible five stars)
IIHS: 2020 Top Safety Pick

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, pedestrian detection, and front automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on S and above trims or optional on the base LX. Adaptive cruise control is standard on the range-topping SX Turbo and available on the S and EX grades via the Nightfall Edition Premium package and Technology package, respectively.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

With all seats up, the 2021 Sportage has 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the rear seats expands capacity to 60.1 cubic feet, which is on the smaller end for the segment. For added flexibility, the Sportage features a two-level cargo floor, allowing you to store the cargo cover or small items down there. The maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 2,000 pounds regardless of the engine.

Technology

All 2021 Sportage models get an 8.0-inch touchscreen standard along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. EX and SX Turbo are offered with built-in navigation and a Harman Kardon audio system.

Recommended Trim

The EX grade provides the best value since it's equipped with the more efficient 2.4-liter I-4. When equipped with the Technology package, the Sportage EX gets nearly everything from the SX Turbo minus LED headlights, the sport-tuned suspension, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Key Competitors:

2021 KIA SPORTAGE SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 2.4 Liter Theta II
Transmission Name
Transmission, Sportmatic® 6 Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Trim
EX AWD
Class
Compact Utility
Horsepower
181@6,000
Standard MPG
22/26
Body Style
SUV/Crossover
Drivetrain
AWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
100,000
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
60
Powertrain Warranty Miles
100,000
Full Warranty Miles
60,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
120
Full Warranty Months
60
Roadside Assistance Miles
60,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
60
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$400 Kia announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible military personnel. 02-01-2021
$2500 Kia announces Customer Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 02-01-2021
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 66, 72, 75 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 02-01-2021
$0 1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 84 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 02-01-2021