Automakers long ago discovered that the consumers flocking to the sport utility segment wanted more than boxes on wheels with AWD traction. They wanted style, too, and Kia was among the first to deliver it with the second-generation version of its Sportage compact utility. Then they upped that ante with a 2017 redesign into a third generation that lent this vehicle a distinctly upscale look: if you can't see a hint of Porsche Macan or Cayenne in this Kia, it might be time to get your eyes checked.
Updates for 2019 are limited to the elimination of one paint option and the addition of a Homelink garage door opener to the EX Premium trim.
That package sits roughly in the middle of a range that once again includes LX, EX and SX variants. LX and EX share a 2.4L four-cylinder engine that generates 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, while the SX Turbo gets a gutsy 2.0L turbo four that makes 237 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come matched to a six-speed automatic transmission; LX starts as a front-driver and can be optioned to AWD, which is standard in all other trims.
The compact utility class is split roughly into two camps: models that come with a single, mainstream-minded engine choice, like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4; and cars like the Sportage, which, along with the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Equinox, offer big turbo power from an uplevel engine choice.
That sounds like fun, but this is a heavy vehicle that needs that boosted engine to feel quick. Another downside of such a combination is that it makes the Sportage thirsty, especially compared to the Honda CR-V, whose little (and much less potent) 1.5L turbo is an economy champ. But power is power, and the Sportage SX Turbo has what it takes to satisfy heavy right feet.
Kia used to be a value leader that crammed features into its vehicles at bargain prices, but the Sportage can now be optioned into a $39,600 vehicle in SX Turbo form. At least it looks like it’s worth that kind of money and comes with niceties like navigation, eight-inch infotainment screen, upgraded stereo, wireless smartphone charging, hands-free power tailgate, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a full suite of active safety features.
Fuel consumption estimates are 10.3/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway) for a 2.4L FWD model and 11.3/9.5 when AWD is added. SX Turbo models are rated at 11.9/10.2 L/100 km.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed