If you want a compact crossover, you have a lot of choices to choose from. One of the best out there is the Kia Sportage. If offers a tasteful interior and excellent driving dynamics for a budget-minded vehicle. The exterior of the vehicle likely won’t win any beauty contests, but it’s such a good package overall that it’s easy to get over the way it looks. The Sportage was always a decent crossover, but it took Kia years to refine this vehicle and make it what it is today.

What It Used to Be

Kia Sportage

The first Kia Sportage appeared in 1993 with a Mazda Bongo base platform. The model was highly influenced by both Mazda and Ford engineering and featured many parts that were shared with other vehicles. It was more of a true sport utility vehicle than the model we think of today and had considerable off-road capability. The first-gen Sportage didn’t sell very well, which was likely due in part to its abysmal crash test ratings. The Australian ANCAP awarded the vehicle one star out of five for safety.

Kia Sportage

The second-generation model fared much better in terms of safety and sales. Kia switched to an Elantra-based platform for the 2005 model year, which was the first for the second-gen vehicle. The model lacked much of the previous generation’s off-road capability, but better build quality, low cost to insure and purchase, and a five-star rating from the NHTSA made it a hit with consumers.

kia sportage

The third-generation model is where things really started heating up for the Sportage. The vehicle won multiple awards including Car of the Year in Slovakia and was nominated for Truck of the year in the International Car of the Year awards. It was also the only model in a 2012 J.D. Power Survey to win five stars in every category. The model’s success in its third generation set up the fourth-gen vehicle for success.

What It Is Today

kia sportage

Today the Sportage is in its fourth generation and is arguably the best it’s ever been. It’s highly rated among consumers and critics and features some of the best quality and performance ratings in its class. J.D. Power gave the model five stars overall for quality and the vehicle also has high predicted reliability ratings. In Consumer Report’s Predicted Reliability rankings, Kia was in fourth place overall as a brand for 2017.

Kia offers the Sportage in three trim levels: LX, EX, and SX Turbo. In LX and EX trim the vehicle comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. That same engine manages to get 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. In SX Turbo trim, the vehicle comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The upgraded engine also does pretty well on fuel economy making 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

kia sportage

Here are some of the Kia Sportage’s additional highlights:

  • Easy to use UVO infotainment system with Bluetooth, apps, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
  • Advanced driver-assist features, including blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and lane-change assist, and parking sensors.
  • Available smart power liftgate opens automatically, giving you hands-free access to the cargo area.
  • Upscale interior and excellent fit and finish for such a budget-minded vehicle.

Find Local Discounts on the Kia Sportage


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