One of the most cut-throat segments in the USA is the compact crossover class, and sitting at the top of the sales charts is the evergreen Toyota RAV4, with the Honda CR-V just behind it. Collectively, these two were responsible for nearly 640,000 US sales last year, and it's this kind of success that Kia is hoping to emulate with its latest Sportage. It was redesigned last year and is now among the most tech-forward and stylish offerings in this class. Not everyone will like its space-age design, but the soft, quiet ride and comfortable seats, value-packed specifications, and the automaker's reputation for reliability have won many over. The fly in the ointment is the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that packs only 187 horsepower and makes for lethargic progress. Clearly, the gas Sportage is a bit of an afterthought; the much swifter and more economical hybrid packs a far more useful 227 hp and is the one to have. Hedging its bets, Kia even offers you a plug-in hybrid with 261 hp and a 34-mile electric range, so there's a Sportage for every type of person.
After a complete redesign last year, the Sportage receives minimal changes for 2024. Standard features are shored up with the addition of LED-projector headlights across the range, as well as rear-seat side airbags. The heated steering wheel is no longer available on the EX AWD, while a heated windshield likewise disappears from the SX Prestige AWD's options list. Last of all, the SX is no longer offered with an AWD option and is FWD only this year. The base price of the 2024 Kia Sportage now starts at $27,090 - up $800 over last year. This looks like sound value, considering those additional airbags and improved headlights.
The base price of a new Kia Sportage LX before any options is $27,090, followed by the EX at $29,090, the X-Line at $31,890, the SX at $32,590. The SX Prestige goes for $34,590, while the X-Pro costs $36,090, and the X-Pro Prestige at $37,890. Adding AWD to the LX, EX, and SX Prestige will cost you $1,800.
The 2024 hybrid and PHEV lineup haven't been made public at the time of writing, but the 2023 models start at $27,490 and top out at $43,190. All prices mentioned here are MSRP and don't include the $1,325 destination fee.
The EX Hybrid is our pick for best value. Only one rung up from the LX, it comes with nice-to-haves such as leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel and front seats, a power driver's seat, and a much larger infotainment screen. However, it still misses out on a power panoramic sunroof and hands-free power liftgate, so we'd add that via the EX Premium package. Thanks to 227 hp, it's much swifter than the gas Sportage and returns excellent efficiency as well. The PHEV Sportage makes a lot of sense if you can charge it at home and you predominantly do city miles to make full daily use of its all-electric range. If you don't, we can't see the base PHEV's big price premium of more than $7k over the EX Hybrid being worth the money.
The stylish cabin looks properly 21st century and speaks of quality and smart design, while there are many standard features and innovative storage solutions.
The advanced digital cockpit of the Sportage looks truly modern, even if the base LX's small touchscreen looks a bit forlorn next to the other trims' stylish curved dual-display setup. Stylishly unconventional upright air vents bookend the digital displays. The dashboard is of solid construction, and the materials used are beyond reproach, bordering on premium in upper trims. The separate touch-sensitive HVAC controls above LX level revert to media controls when HVAC functionality isn't required, but this can be confusing until you're used to it and know where the switch for swapping displays is. The Sportage is refined and quiet on the move, with very supportive seats complemented by a soft ride.
Cabin space is class-leading and narrowly beats even the commodious Honda CR-V, with lots of room even in the second row for taller adults. The base trims' front seats aren't as extensively adjustable as those in the upper trims, but they're very supportive, and it's easy to arrive at your ideal driving position. A relatively flat second-row bench means a fifth passenger is accommodated fairly easily, but three abreast in the rear is tight on hip and shoulder space. There is class-leading cargo and interior space on offer, and getting inside is easy thanks to the crossover-like ground clearance and tall doors. It's easy to see out of, while rear parking sensors and a backup camera help with parking. Upper trims get a surround-view camera.
Trunk space also ranks at the top of the class, with a cavernous 39.6 cu-ft available with all the seats in use, or 74.1 cu-ft with the 60/40-split second row folded flat. These figures are nearly the same for the hybrid Sportage, which hardly suffers from the addition of the hybrid hardware with figures of 39.5 and 73.7 cu-ft. The PHEV's trunk volume takes more of a hit with the large 13.8-kWh battery eating up space, leaving it with totals of 34.5 and 65.5 cu-ft. It's all relative, though, and this is still more than the Mazda CX-50's 31.4/56.3 cu-ft - and that's not even a hybrid.
Cabin storage is above average as well, and besides the typical glovebox, you get four roomy door pockets, a lidded under-elbow storage bin in the center console, and a big uncovered bin further ahead, which has cupholders that pop out of its sidewall. Ahead of the shifter, there's a nifty space for your phone, which is also the wireless charger when fitted. The rear passengers get dual cupholders and seatback pockets.
|Kia Sportage||2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid||Toyota RAV4||Toyota RAV4 Hybrid|
|37.8-39.6 in. front|
38-39.4 in. rear
|37.8-39.6 in. front (HEV)|
37.8-39.1 in. rear (HEV)
37.8 in. front (PHEV)
38 in. rear (PHEV)
|37.7-39.5 in. front|
39.5 in. rear
|37.7-39.5 in. front |
39.5 in. rear
|41.4 in. front|
41.3 in. rear
|41.4 in. front|
41.3 in. rear
39.5 in. rear (PHEV)
|41 in. front|
37.8 in. rear
|41 in. front |
37.8 in. rear
|39.6-74.1 ft³||39.5-73.7 ft³ (HEV)|
34.5-65.5 ft³ (PHEV)
|37.6-69.8 ft³||37.6-69.8 ft³ |
33.5-69.8 ft³ (PHEV)
The base LX comes only with Saturn Black cloth upholstery, but the upper trims get standard SynTex leatherette upholstery and access to more interior colors. Perforated SynTex features in the EX in Saturn Black or Misty Gray - it remains to be seen if Hybrid trims get the two-color Triton Navy/Misty Gray interior from 2023. The SX can be had in Saturn Black perforated SynTex or perforated quilted Carmine Red SynTex, and the SX Prestige gets the same two colors but rendered in perforated and quilted SynTex only. The X-Line, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige all get perforated and quilted X-Line SynTex in either Saturn Black or Sage Green.
The steering wheel is trimmed in leather on all trims above the LX, while the shifter knob gets the same treatment from SX level and up. From SX, the door handles are also rendered in Satin Matte. Only the two X-Pro trims get stainless-steel pedals.
All Sportages are well-equipped, but the LX gives away its base status with its manually adjustable seats, manual air-conditioning, and small touchscreen. It does have a 12.2-inch digital gauge cluster, though, and some other notable features include keyless entry, a one-touch up-and-down driver's window, a manually adjustable tilting/telescoping steering column, rear-seat air vents, rear privacy glass, and a dual-level cargo floor. All the other trims get a far bigger touchscreen, heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. Additional features on the upper trims include power-adjustable and/or ventilated front seats, a wireless charging pad, a heated steering wheel, and more.
The LX, EX, and X-Line trims get a 12.2-inch digital gauge cluster, while SX, X-Pro, and X-Line Prestige trims get an upgraded 12.3-inch screen. The infotainment system in the LX has an eight-inch touchscreen, but the system incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a front and a rear USB port, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system. Every other Sportage gets a bigger 12.3-inch touchscreen with additional features, namely Kia Connect, remote start, SiriusXM, a wireless charging pad, and an additional second-row USB port. Only the SX, X-Pro, and X-Line Prestige trims get an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
|Heated front seats, leatherette upholstery|
|Digital gauge cluster|
|Dual-zone climate control|
|8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system|
The base engine is weak and not particularly fuel-efficient; the hybrid should be the best powertrain in the lineup. It offers strong performance and can manage up to 43 miles to the gallon on the highway.
The engine in the Kia Sportage's regular gas trims is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder with 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. It transmits its power to an eight-speed automatic transmission through either of two drivetrain configurations - front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive - depending on the trim. Performance with this engine is lethargic, giving the Kia Sportage a 0-60 mph sprint of around nine seconds and making it hard work on the highway and when overtaking or climbing hills, with the transmission frantically hunting for the correct ratio to keep the underpowered engine on the boil. Trailering saps the last bit of enthusiasm from the engine.
We assume the hybrid and plug-in will carry over from last year as well, which includes a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in conjunction with an electric motor to produce totals of 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, linked to a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of FWD or AWD, depending on the trim. This gets it to 60 mph in a far swifter 7.2 seconds and is our Sportage powertrain of choice. The plug-in hybrid has the same 258 lb-ft but a higher power output of 261 hp, which more than compensates for the additional mass, enabling the PHEV to just squeak in under the seven-second barrier for the 0-60 sprint. It's only available with AWD and the six-speed auto.
Top speed isn't important in an SUV, but for what it's worth, the Sportage is limited to between 124 and 130 mph, depending on the powertrain. Towing capacity isn't class-leading, but the maximum of 2,500 lbs that the gas Sportage can tow is enough for a small boat or trailer. The hybrids can tow a maximum of 2,000 pounds. The Sportage isn't made for off-roading, but it can take on rough roads and slippery tracks in AWD guise, with at least 8.3 inches of ground clearance providing peace of mind. The FWD trims' 7.1 inches is marginal for an SUV, though.
The Sportage is built for comfort, not speed, and the entire package feels that way inclined. The seats are very supportive, the suspension is tuned for a soft ride, the steering is light but short of feedback, and both the brakes and accelerator pedals have a soft initial response. It's certainly quiet and refined, without the irritating CVT drone of some rivals, though the hoarse base engine can be heard laboring away when trying to move the Sportage in a hurry. This is no CX-5 then, with none of the Mazda's crisp responses or sense of fun. The Sportage leans a bit and can feel somewhat underdamped when it encounters mid-corner bumps, which sets it bobbing before it settles. The gas Sportage is spoiled by its breathless engine, and the hybrid is a lot snappier, even though the power delivery can occasionally be a bit inconsistent, probably due to fewer gear ratios, turbo lag, and the blended-in electric assistance trying to balance each other out. The PHEV is swift and refined, yet despite being the quickest Sportage, it never feels sporty due to its extra weight dulling its responses.
The regular gas Kia Sportage's mpg figures are average: the FWD has EPA estimates of 25/33/28 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, dropping to 23/26/25 mpg for the AWD version. The X-Pro achieves gas mileage in between this, with figures of 23/30/26 mpg. For comparison's sake, a FWD RAV4 has significantly more power, yet returns 30 mpg combined. With a fuel capacity of 14.3 gallons, expect a fuel range of between 358 and 400 miles, depending on the drivetrain.
The gas mileage of the Sportage Hybrid is a lot better, although 2024 figures haven't been released yet. For 2023, the FWD derivative returns 42/44/43 mpg and the AWD 38 mpg across the board. These models get a smaller 13.7-gallon gas tank, so the FWD models can reach up to 589 miles on a tank, and the AWDs up to 521 miles.
The AWD-only PHEV gets a big 13.8-kWh battery and more powerful electric motor to give it 84 MPGe combined, 35 mpg on gas alone, and a 34-mile electric range. Due to there only being space for a small 11.1-gallon gas tank, its maximum combined range is limited to a still-decent 430 miles. The PHEV has a 7.2-kW onboard charger that can fully charge the battery in two hours at a Level 2 charge station. DC fast charging is not supported, so it makes longer road trips impractical, given how long you must wait to charge it. It's best when charged at home overnight.
|2.5L Inline-4 Gas|
|1.6L Turbo Inline-4 HEV|
|1.6L Turbo Inline-4 PHEV |
|187 hp||227 hp||261 hp|
|124 mph||130 mph||130 mph|
|25/33/28 mpg - FWD|
23 /26/25 mpg - AWD
23 /30/26 mpg - X-Pro
|42/44/43 mpg - FWD|
38/38/38 mpg - AWD
|84 MPGe |
35 mpg combined
34-mile electric range
|9 seconds||7.2 seconds||6.9 seconds|
Safety levels are excellent, and besides top-class crash results, even the LX comes with a suite of driver assists. Upgraded headlights and rear-seat side airbags are added this year.
At the time of writing, there was only a partial NHTSA safety review of the 2024 Kia Sportage, with a full five-star rating for the frontal crash and four stars for the rollover test. These results mirror last year's full review, which included a five-star overall rating, and the identical 2024 model should be just as safe. Last year, the IIHS awarded the Sportage with upgraded LED projector lights, a Top Safety Pick award. Since LED projector lamps are now standard across the range, we're likely to see an even better score with the relevant accolades for the 2024 Sportage.
Kia has upped the airbag count from six to eight this year by making rear-seat side airbags standard on all trims. Naturally, ABS, stability control, a backup camera, and tire-pressure monitoring are present. To these, Kia adds a suite of driver assists even on the LX. Fitted as standard are front-collision alert with pedestrian and cyclist detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure alert, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, rear parking sensors, driver-alertness monitoring, and rear-occupant alert. The EX adds to these safe-exit warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance. More features are added from SX level, notably junction-turning detection for the front-collision system, navigation-based adaptive cruise control with stop & go, and Highway Driving Assist. These apply to the X-Line Prestige PHEV too. The SX Prestige, X-Pro Prestige, and X-Line Prestige PHEV are the only trims that get a camera-based blind-spot monitor, a surround-view camera, front parking sensors, and automatic reverse braking.
|Front-collision alert with auto braking|
|Lane-departure alert with lane-keep assist|
|Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert|
|Adaptive cruise control with stop and go|
|Surround-view and blind-spot monitors|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The JD Power rating for the 2024 Kia Sportage's reliability comes in at 83 out of 100. Interestingly, that's a lot better than the related Tucson's score of 77, beating the CR-V and RAV4 as well. There have so far been no recalls for the 2024 Sportage, but the 2023 gas model was recalled five times for a loss of brake assistance, an electric oil pump that may cause a fire, improperly deploying curtain airbags, a loose alternator nut, and a blank gauge cluster. Of these issues, the only one applying to the hybrids is the blank gauge cluster.
There should be very little reason for concern for the average buyer, as one of the biggest selling points of the 2024 Kia Sportage is its stellar warranty. The basic warranty is valid for five years/60,000 miles - the same as the roadside assistance - while the powertrain warranty runs for a hugely impressive ten years/100,000 miles.
The Kia Sportage is no wallflower and manages to stand out with a distinctive design without being offensive. The dynamic visage incorporates a floating variation of the Tiger Nose grille, flanked by dramatic boomerang-style DRLs encompassing standard LED-projector headlights on all trims. LED taillights are standard, too, while top trims get LED foglights. Though lacking the Tucson's sharp bodyside creases, the Sportage's curves rise and fall seductively to break up the side view and prevent it from looking slab-sided in profile.
The two base trims don't get roof rails, but rails of some or other style or description feature on all the other trims. The LX and X-Pro trims run on 17-inch alloys, with the X-Pros sporting all-terrain tires. The other have either 18- or 19-inch wheels. Exterior details vary by trim, with the upper trims featuring more blacked-out exterior trim. A panoramic sunroof is fitted from SX level and up, and to both PHEV trims. This is optional on the X-Line and the EX Hybrid via a package.
The Kia Sportage doesn't put a foot wrong, and in this market segment, it offers a compelling package with plenty of interior space, a myriad of gas and hybridized powertrain options, value pricing, many features, and futuristic styling. But this is the most hotly contested class of passenger car in the US, and while comfortable, the Sportage's forgettable handling and weak base engine count against it, especially considering the really quick RAV4 Prime PHEV and the fun-to-drive Mazda CX-5. So it's not a matter of being an unsatisfactory product, but rather one of the competition being so good. The Sportage may not excite, but it cossets, looks great, and makes one of the best hybrid SUVs you can buy in the compact class. And let's not forget about its excellent reliability and class-leading warranty. It might not be the top contender, but it will be the ideal crossover for a lot of people.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Kia Sportage: