Crossover & Midsize

The Kia Sportage Is Among the Most Reliable Compact SUVs of 2020

Finding a reliable SUV can be a chore, but sites like Consumer Reports make your search much easier. Of all the smaller sport utility vehicles they reviewed, five of them stood out as having the highest scores. The Kia Sportage was one of them. 

Let’s look at what Consumer Reports reviewers thought was good and bad about the Kia Sportage and how well it fared with its competitors. 

What’s good about the Kia Sportage?

Red 2020 Kia Sportage driving on a road
2020 Kia Sportage | Kia

Powering up this compact SUV is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 181 hp. Paired with it is a six-speed automatic that smoothly switches gears when increasing speed. The handling is nimble and well-controlled, making it fun to drive. 

The Kia Sportage may be a compact SUV, but it can still tow a fair amount of weight. The rating for this Kia is 2,000 lbs, which is about 500 lbs more than other SUVs in the same segment. The only issue is that whatever the Sportage hauls, it has to have its own braking system. 

It also excels when it comes to braking. Stopping distances were rather short for both wet and dry surfaces. Consumer Reports noted that when they tested the wet conditions, the Kia could stop just a few feet longer than the distance for dry conditions. 

The front and rear seats are pretty roomy, with comfortable seating and plenty of elbow room for two adults. Most models will come with a power driver’s seat with adjustments to customize the seat position to your preferences. 

What could they improve upon?

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One of the most disappointing areas of the Kia Sportage lies with its fuel economy. At 23 mpg overall and 16 mpg in the city, the Sportage falls way behind some of its rivals. Highway mileage falls in the 32 mpg range, which is OK, but could be better compared to others in its class. 

Visibility is also another area of concern. Due to the exterior styling of the SUV, the windows are rather small. There are no rear-corner windows, and there’s also a wide roof pillar causing a bit of a blind-spot in the back corners of the vehicle. The rear window is a fair size, but could be larger. 

Kia’s Sportage SUV has a decent infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All controls and knobs are easy to use, and navigating the screen apps is easy as well. However, the biggest problem is that many drivers complained that it was too hard to reach the media system from the driver’s seat while driving. 

Sportage reliability vs. its competitors

The five most reliable compact SUVs, according to Consumer Reports, include the Kia Sportage along with the Chevy Equinox, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, and the Honda CR-V.  

Consumer Reports gave both the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester a score of 84 out of 100 possible points. The Forester had better fuel economy ratings with 38 mpg on the highway and 28 overall. Mazda came in just above the Sportage, with 33 highway mpg. 

Honda’s CR-V received a score of 77, and the Chevy Equinox came in one point lower at 76. Honda fuel economy is quite a bit higher than the Sportage, earning a rating of 32 mpg on the highway. The Equinox is slightly better than the Kia, with 34 highway mpg and 25 overall. 

The Kia Sportage came in at 5th place according to Consumer Reports data, but it beat out a few big-name SUVs as well. It’s rated better than the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, and even the Jeep Cherokee. The Sportage was redesigned in 2017, and Consumer Reports data shows that there have been no significant engine, transmission, or electrical issues reported by Sportage drivers in the past several model years. The climate system and suspension received some complaints in earlier model years, but since 2018 have shown improvement.

Kia designed the Sportage to be a compact SUV, but it packs a bigger punch than you’d expect. With above-average performance, smooth handling, and comfortable seating, this Kia promises to please even the toughest critics.