2018 Kia Sportage

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2018 Kia Sportage Review

The 2018 Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV that has evolved from a budget-friendly choice to a direct rival of the more established players in its class. It comes in the LX, EX, and SE trims with all trims available in either front-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. The LX and EX come with a 2.4 liter, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated gasoline engine which makes 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The SE comes with a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine which makes 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. All trims are equipped with the same six-speed automatic transmission. The Kia Sportage has built a good reputation over the years for being a reliable, affordable SUV with decent features. That tradition continues with the 2018 model, and this time it's taking on rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tucson - stiff competition, but the Sportage is up to the challenge.

Read in this review:

7.2
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2018 Kia Sportage Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2017 Sportage?

The Kia Sportage had a complete redesign in 2017 so there aren't any radical changes, just some tweaks here and there. The Popular Package gets updated with a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; the LX gets stain-resistant upholstery as well as more optional safety features such as blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert systems; while the EX sees the addition of more driver aids such as rear cross traffic alert and blind-spot detection. An electronic parking brake has also been added to the SX Turbo model.

Pros and Cons

  • Great infotainment features
  • Long warranty
  • Option of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • Good quality interior
  • Potent turbocharged engine
  • Polarising styling
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Small cargo area

Best Deals on 2018 Kia Sportage

2018 Kia Sportage Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$23,600
EX
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,400
SX Turbo
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$32,900
See All 2018 Kia Sportage Trims and Specs

2018 Sportage Exterior

2018 Kia Sportage Right Side View Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Three Quarter Front Right Side View Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Three Quarter Front Left Side View Kia
See All 2018 Kia Sportage Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Height 64.4 in
  • Max Width 73.0 in
  • Front Width 63.5 in
  • Rear Width 64.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,305.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Hyper Red +$295
  • Snow White Pearl +$395
  • Black Cherry +$395
  • Pacific Blue
  • Mineral Silver
  • Burnished Copper
  • Sparkling Silver
  • Clear White

2018 Sportage Performance

2018 Kia Sportage Three Quarter Front Right Side View 1 Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Three Quarter Rear Left Side View Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Engine Kia

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.4L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Kia Sportage is one of the better handling crossover SUVs out there and performs admirably whether on small city roads or the freeway. The steering is responsive and direct, launching the Sportage around bends with ease and making the car feel light. Kia seems to have found the elusive sweet spot between the ride being too soft and too firm. The result is that while occupants are cushioned from the bumps on the road, there is still little body roll compared to other SUVs, and when cornering at speed the Sportage maintains its composure. There's the option of Normal, Sport and Eco modes to tweak the driving experience with the Sport mode particularly useful on the LX and EX trims to sharpen throttle programming and shift patterns to maximize the lack of power.

The brakes on the Sportage are firm and provide the same consistent response at all the speeds tested. With comfortable, supportive seats, and a distinct lack of road noise, the Kia Sportage provides a very relaxed and easy driving experience, but one that's more than capable of handling whatever most users might throw at it.

2018 Sportage Interior

2018 Kia Sportage Infotainment System Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Rear Passenger Seats Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Gear Shifter Kia
See All 2018 Kia Sportage Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.1 in

2018 Sportage Trunk and Cargo Space

2018 Kia Sportage Rear Passenger Seats 1 Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Rear Passenger Seats 2 Kia
2018 Kia Sportage Full Luggage Space Kia

2018 Sportage Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2018 Kia Sportage A Good SUV?

The Kia Sportage has slowly evolved from being a budget option to being a real contender in its class due to continuous improvement. There are a few downsides to the Sportage such as mediocre fuel economy, and of course, having less cargo space than key competitors. It's also not the best for towing, but as a crossover, it'll seldom be called in for heavy duty work.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives, giving buyers a fine balance between ride comfort and composure, as well as outright capability. The turbo engine is a boon for usable performance, without sacrificing much in the way of gas mileage, while all-wheel-drive is available on all trims. The interior is also immensely classy, high quality, and feels like it's been built solidly. Standard features are impressive, and safety is top of the line.

The Sportage stands halfway between the practicality of the Honda CR-V and the premium-feel and performance of the Mazda CX-5, making it an ideal middle-option for buyers not wishing to compromise in either area.

2018 Kia Sportage Comparisons

Honda CR-V Honda
Mazda CX-5 Mazda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Kia Sportage187 hp25/32 mpg$26,290
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$31,610
Mazda CX-5 187 hp24/30 mpg$26,700

2018 Kia Sportage vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is renowned as the class leader because of its brilliant all-rounder attributes, but the Kia Sportage is a worthy challenger. The 2.4-liter on the LX and EX model Sportages only makes 181 hp with fuel economy figures of 23/30/26. In comparison, the equivalent CR-V 2.4-liter engine makes 184 hp with much better fuel economy numbers of 26/32/29 mpg. Of course, both offer turbo motors but the Sportage offers the more potent force-fed motor. The Honda also has substantially more cargo and passenger space than the Sportage, and both boast premium-feel cabins. The CR-V has better safety equipment, but Kia's infotainment system is definitely the more intuitive of the two. Ultimately, practicality necessitates the CR-V, while if you can sacrifice cargo volume, the Sportage is sportier and slightly more premium.

See Honda CR-V Review

2018 Kia Sportage vs Mazda CX-5

Unlike the Kia Sportage, the Mazda CX-5 has stunning looks and fantastic driving dynamics. When it comes to performance, the base Mazda offers a 2.5-liter engine which makes 187 hp, only six more than the base Sportage and without a range-topping turbo alternative. The Mazda's fuel economy is a combined 28 mpg compared to the Sportage's 26 mpg and it's a better engine to drive, too. Cargo space is comparable on both models, but the CX-5 lacks the rear passenger space of the Sportage and is one of the most cramped models in the segment. But the interior feels opulent, and the levels of technology are exceptional. Both cars deliver a great ride compared to many of the competitors in their class, but the CX-5 is the most dynamically talented. If you're after a driver's SUV, the CX-5 can't be beaten, but the Sportage gives you turbo power and more cabin space, compromising just a little handling ability for the sake of greater practicality.

See Mazda CX-5 Review

2018 Kia Sportage Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2018 Kia Sportage:

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