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Maintenance is one of the most expensive parts of car ownership, and maintenance costs can vary depending on the car’s model year. Certain model years are simply plagued by issues, which is why car shoppers should avoid them when buying used. Here’s a look at the three worst Kia Sportage model years used car shoppers should avoid.

1. 2012 – the beginning of the worst Kia Sportage model problems

The Kia Sportage has been around for decades, and the model year with the most problems is the 2012 version, according to Car Complaints. Users on the site reported a total of 49 issues, most of which were engine problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, had similar findings as this model year of the Kia SUV was simply plagued by engine problems. 

The most common issue with the Sportage’s engine was that it would stop working when it was on the road. The second most common engine problem was that it was too noisy at times. Unfortunately for owners who experienced both problems, the solution was the same. Most owners had to replace their engines, and that had an average cost of over $5,200. 

Owners also agreed that those two engine problems were “really awful” to deal with, and both problems seem to occur at roughly the same mileage. The Sportage’s excessive noise issue occurred at about 92,000 miles, while the engine failure problem happened at about 88,500 miles.

2. The 2013 Kia Sportage did little to be much better

Unfortunately for Kia fans and owners, the South Korean automaker didn’t appear to fix the 2012 Sportage’s problems with the 2013 model year. Overall, drivers reported fewer problems, but there were still 34 reports, and that made it one of the worst model years of the SUV. 

Both drivers and the NHTSA said that the most common problems were related to the engine, and there were 23 such reports from users. However, owners also reported seven problems related to the SUV’s interior accessories, which was much more than the prior model year. Just like with the 2012 version, the most common engine problem had to do with the engine dying.

That said, owners reported that their engine died at around 100,000 miles, that’s about 10,000 miles longer than the 2012 version’s lasted. Once again, the main solution to this engine issue was simply replacing the engine. Car Complaints didn’t quote an average price tag for that repair. Regardless, owners should expect to pay several thousand dollars to replace the Sportage’s engine.

3. The 2017 Kia Sportage – another one of the worst model years

The 2017 model year was another terrible year for the Sportage; it almost had as many problems as the 2012 version. Owners reported a total of 46 problems with the 2017 version, that’s three problems short of what the 2012 version had. Unlike the 2013 model year, however, the South Korean automaker gave the Sportage a redesign starting with the 2017 model year.

Despite the redesign, the Sportage’s most common problem was still related to its engine. The SUV also had many problems in other areas, such as its windows, transmission, and HVAC system. Engine failure was still a common problem, and just like with the older model years, the Sportage’s engine tended to fail at about 90,000 miles.

Once again, replacing the engine was the most common solution, costing drivers about $5,000. That said, the most common problem actually had to do with the engine’s excessive oil consumption. Owners reported this happening at around 65,000 miles, and unfortunately, a total engine replacement was also a common solution.

If you’re looking for a used Kia Sportage, you’d do well to steer clear of the worst Kia Sportage models according to owner complaints.


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