Why Is The Kia Sportage Falling Behind?

Kia has really turned things around in the last decade. They have transformed their reputation from being weak and cheap to sporty and reliable. Throughout this transition, the Kia Sportage has been continuously reworked to be a competitive compact SUV to compete against the Honda CR-V and Rav4. So why is it falling short? 

A Look At The 2020 Kia Sportage 

Almost a decade ago, the 2012 and 2013 Kia Sportage models had recalls for significant issues such as Takata airbags failing and the engine failing due to premature wearing. However, each model seemed to have fewer and fewer problems. 

But is the updated model good enough to erase the Kia Sportage’s troubled pass? Our first gut instinct suggests maybe. 

The 2020 Kia Sportage starts around $23k, making it a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Honda CR-V and RAV4, which both start around $25k. 

The Sportage also gets an average of 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, making it competitive with other SUVs that average 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. However, the low fuel economy is still quite underwhelming. 

Kia Power 

The Kia Sportage offers two engine options. The 2.0 Liter four-cylinder engine produces 181 horsepower, and the 2.4 Liter four-cylinder engine produces 240 horsepower. Both amounts of horsepower put the Kia Sportage up there with the Cr-V, Jeep Renegade, and more. 

There’s no doubt in our minds that this little Kia SUV would be fun to speed around town with. Especially at 240 hp. The more powerful engine also provides 260 lb-ft torque, making it more suited than others for off-roading. 

The Sportage is also offered in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, giving it a leg up on models that are only offered in AWD.

By having a towing compacity of 1,600 lb, the Kia can tow 100 more pounds than the Honda CR-V but doesn’t match the 3,000 lb towing compacity of the RAV 4 TRD

This little SUV also sits on 17” alloy wheels. We would like to see 18” or larger tires for better handling and more off-roading capability, but this tire size is pretty fair. 

Kia Features 

Kia Sportage
Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage has some pretty exciting features to adapt to different driving environments. HAC or Hill Accent Control helps the Kia Sportage climb up steep inclines, and the Down Hill Brake Control (DBC) automatically engages the anti-lock brakes for enhanced control while going back downhill. 

The Electronic Stability Control also helps you maintain your intended direction by sending power to individual wheels, braking wheels and reducing engine power as necessary. These features put the Kia Sportage ahead of the CR-V and RAV4 in terms of off-roading tech. 

Along with the standard safety features such as front collision warning, automatic braking, blind-spot detection, and more, the Kia Sportage also has a Rollover Sensor. If the Kia senses that it’s rolling over, then it will automatically release its airbags. 

The Kia Sportage also has roomy seats that can fold down flat to provided 60 cubic feet of storage space. This paired with storage bins, 12-volt plugs, wireless phone chargers, sunroof make this vehicle comfortable and advanced on the inside. 

Upon studying the Kia Sportage, the only drawbacks compared to other SUVs is slightly lower fuel efficiency. It offers the power and off-roading capabilities that competitors lack.

Unless you’re looking to haul heavier items or do some serious off-roading, the Kia Sportage should definitely be on your list of compact SUVs to consider.