The 2021 Kia Sportage Has a Dark Side

The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are still the most sought-after small crossover SUVs. But if you want to break away from the pack, you might be interested in the Kia Sportage. The 2021 Kia Sportage has earned favorable reviews from many respected critics. And this model offers more spunk too.

The 2021 Kia Sportage has a new sense of swag 

a blue 2021 Kia Sportage Nightfall Edition mdoel
The 2021 Kia Sportage in ‘dark mode’ | Photo via Kia

Performance reviews for the Sportage are mixed. But style is one way that this Kia has earned fans. The Sportage’s bug-eyed like headlights and a loopy shape contributes to its youthful vibes. The 2021 version has a slightly darker persona, though. 

Kia introduced the new Nightfall Edition on the Telluride, and the Sportage gets this treatment too. You’ll have to go up from the base LX trim to the S model to get the Nightfall Edition package. S models with this package have distinguished black finishings, including a glossy black radiator grille with a piano frame, piano black fog light surrounds, 18-inch alloy wheels, and skid plates. 

Separately, there’s the Nightfall Edition Premium package. It includes the same black finishings and adds upgraded technology features available on the upper-level EX trim. The Sportage Nightfall Edition’s sticker price is $28,210 – about $3K more than the base model. Expect to pay around $30,210 for the Nightal Edition Premium. 

Are there any new performance options for the 2021 Sportage?

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The 2021 Sportage is essentially a carryover of the outgoing 2020 model, so there aren’t any significant performance changes. As Edmunds notes, most Sportages will have the standard engine, a 181-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Models with this powerplant can get up to 26 mpg overall, which is after for the class. The Sportage’s base engine is enjoyable enough, but some critics feel the more powerful one on the SX Turbo is the better choice. 

“The 2.4-liter engine delivers more than adequate acceleration and there’s no problem darting through traffic or merging onto fast-moving freeways. The SX Turbo’s… engine is better matched to the Sportage’s nearly 4,000-pound curb weight and enthusiastic drivers will appreciate the sport-tuned suspension’s slightly stiffer ride.” 

Autotrader (2020)

SX Turbo variants have a turbo-four that produces 240-hp. No matter which engine you pick, a six-speed automatic. While many enthusiasts favor the turbo-four, it’s significantly more expensive. The SX Turbo starts around $35K, which approaches the small luxury SUV category’s pricepoint. 

Should I buy a new Kia Sportage?

Steering wheel area of the Kia Sportage.
Kia Sportage cockpit area | CarBuzz

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The Sportage has a lot going for it, so it’s a worthy choice for a new SUV. It received excellent predicted reliability ratings, and it provides a pleasant driving experience. Tech lovers will appreciate that it comes with advanced infotainment gadgets, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which its Honda competition doesn’t offer.

Furthermore, the Sportage comes with plenty of active safety features such as forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. That said, you might be more interested in the Subaru Forester if you plan on doing extra outdoorsy activities. The Mazda CX-5 does the best imitation of a luxury car.