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Kia has been building great cars for decades, and one of its longest-running models is the Sportage. This compact SUV has been cruising American roads since 1993. And Kia introduced its midsize sibling, the Telluride, in 2019 to huge critical and commercial success. Because the Telluride has been such a hot seller, has its success rubbed off on the Kia Sportage?

The Kia Sportage has been chugging since 1993

The Sportage’s history is a long one, and it’s also one that follows the history of Kia’s brand in America. The South Korean automaker made its U.S. debut in 1992, and the Sportage was one of the first cars the company sold in America. Back then, the automaker had a less than stellar reputation, and the early Sportage didn’t help. Like many other Kia models at the time, the Sportage had its share of technical problems that made consumers avoid it.

But the automaker licked its wounds and learned to do better. Since the first-generation Sportage, which started production in 1993, Kia has updated the small SUV through five generations. Kia made numerous changes throughout those years, including switching to an entirely new body style.

But one of the biggest changes Kia made might not have even been to the Sportage itself. 

Has the Kia Telluride given the Kia Sportage a sales boost?

2022 Kia Telluride Kia Sportage
2022 Kia Telluride (top) and 2022 Kia Sportage | Kia

The bestselling Kia Telluride, which debuted in 2019 for the 2020 model year, has won numerous awards. As a result of that success, the Telluride has become Kia’s most popular SUV. Has its stellar reputation rubbed off on its smaller sibling, the Sportage? Though it’s impossible to know right now if that’s the case, Sportage sales numbers have never been better.

According to GoodCarBadCar, despite no significant changes to the Sportage in the 2019 model year, Kia sold a record number of units in that year. The company sold 88,977 Sportage SUVs in 2019 — over 6,000 more than the 82,823 units sold in 2018.

In 2020, the Sportage’s sales numbers dropped, mostly due to the pandemic. However, even in 2020, Kia sold 84,343 Sportage unit, the third-best-selling year for the Sportage. 2021 was another great year for the compact SUV despite the pandemic and inventory shortages. In fact, in 2021, Kia sold 88,688 Sportage units — the model’s second-best-selling year.

So, although it’s impossible to prove the Telluride has boosted the Sportage’s sales, it’s a fact that the Sportage’s three best sales years happened after the Telluride hit the scene.

An overview of the 2023 Kia Sportage


Hyundai Palisade Beats Kia Telluride for Best Value Midsize SUV of 2022

The Sportage hasn’t received many changes in the past few model years, but Kia is giving its compact crossover an overhaul for the 2023 model year. The 2023 model will mark the first in a new generation. At a starting price of about $26,000, the new Sportage will still be an affordable SUV.

The crossover will also see quite a few upgrades, some rather futuristic. For example, it will boast a 25-inch curved display that’ll be larger than almost every other screen on the market. In addition, it will offer more powerful options and, eventually, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. Plus, the Sportage will have two new trims for off-roading.