2019 Kia Sportage

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2019 Kia Sportage Review

The 2019 Kia Sportage is a stylish, refined, and modern compact crossover SUV, without the exorbitant price tag. Available with either its tried and trusted 2.4-liter motor or a 2.0-liter turbocharged option, both inline four-cylinders deliver reliable performance at 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque; and 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque respectively. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, power is sent to the front wheels or all four with the optional Dynamax All-Wheel Drive. Competing against the likes of the Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5, the Sportage finds itself lacking in both cargo space and safety features but still manages to stay a strong competitor in the segment, packing high levels of specification, an upscale interior, and an athletic drive into a compact package with Porsche Macan-inspired looks.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 6 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 6 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2019 Kia Sportage Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 Sportage?

With no exterior design changes present between 2018 and 2019, you'd need to look at features to spot the difference. We see Kia's restructure of trim levels coming into effect here, with the Technology Package exclusive to the EX trim, and no longer available on the LX, meaning the base model no longer has access to any active safety features. Heated rear seats have also been discontinued for 2019, while Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are now standard on the EX.

Pros and Cons

  • Exceptional Warranty
  • Premium interior look and feel
  • Optional turbocharged motor is a potent performer
  • Extensive list of standard and available features
  • Athletic chassis with a comfortable ride
  • Below average fuel economy
  • Limited cargo space
  • No active safety features available on LX trim
  • Polarizing exterior design

What's the Price of the 2019 Kia Sportage?

In its entry-level base configuration, the 2019 Kia Sportage LX starts at an MSRP of $23,750, excluding tax, licensing, registration, and a $1,045 destination charge. A slight bump up in cost nets you the EX trim, with a starting MSRP of $26,600. If a full-featured powerhouse of the Sportage is more to your liking, the SX Turbo trim tops the range and price point at $33,100. Incentives are frequent amongst Kia dealerships however, so a bit of browsing before you buy is highly recommended.

Best Deals on 2019 Kia Sportage

2019 Kia Sportage Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
SX Turbo
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Kia Sportage Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

2019 hands us a surprising compact SUV in the sense that, despite its obvious size, it handles like a much smaller vehicle as it always has. Comfort and versatility are the key weapons in the Sportage's arsenal, and it shows. The cabin is well insulated from road noise, acceleration and braking are largely forgiving, and body roll around tighter turns is kept to a minimum, without the suspension robbing you of comfort. Kia's refinements to the electronic steering certainly show improvement over the previous generations too, with steering feedback feeling well balanced. With the Sportage's Drive Mode Select (DMS for short) you have your pick of Eco, Normal and Sport modes. Sport mode sharpens the throttle response, stiffens up the steering by quite some margin, and has gear shifts happening much later, breathing a new life into the Sportage.

Bumps and dips in the road are absorbed remarkably well too as you make your way across town, giving a very refined driving experience as a whole. Paired with it's all-wheel drive, gravel and snow don't pose much of a challenge either, keeping its composure and making it a rather capable SUV when and where it's needed. Whether it's stacking the roof or hitching a caravan, it feels like the Sportage has you covered, without compromising on the driving experience to get you where you want to go.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Kia Sportage A Good SUV?

The 2019 Kia Sportage is undeniably a strong competitor in the segment, with low entry-level cost, a good range of optional features and extras, and essential driver comforts as standard. It doesn't excel in terms of fuel economy or practicality, but it does provide a good balance between versatility, capability, comfort and distinct styling that makes it appealing and relevant to a youthful audience. Compared to its more frugal CX-5 counterpart, it outshines with its excellent warranty but lacks in technology, albeit at a cheaper price. There isn't a lot left to be desired, and the interior cabin is as comfortable and welcoming as the exterior is definitive and strong. In short, yes it's a good car. Should you buy one? If you like Kia and its recent updates to styling and features, and want a compact SUV for family vacations, camping trips, and still have an all-weather run-around, then the Sportage is a great choice for you and one of the best compact crossovers on the market.

What Kia Sportage Model Should I Buy?

With the vast jump in price point from the EX to the SX Turbo trim levels, and the feature-deprived nature of the LX in comparison, the EX is the recommended buy here. Adding available safety features as well as the highly recommended Technology Package puts the Sportage in line with the top of the range SX Turbo trim for specification, without the turbocharged motor, but at a discounted price. The 2.4-liter may be down on power when compared to its turbo counterpart, but it's certainly still a capable motor for the Sportage as a daily driver, and if value-for-money is what you're after, the base engine and EX equipment is definitely the best bang-for-buck combination.

2019 Kia Sportage Comparisons

Hyundai Tucson Hyundai
Mazda CX-5 Mazda

2019 Kia Sportage vs Hyundai Tucson

Sharing a great deal of hardware between each other, including the motor and gearbox, the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are different takes on the same platform. Both manufacturers offer exceptional warranties, both have similar fuel consumption and dimensions, with cargo capacity ever so slightly in favor of the Tucson. The powertrain is a similar story, but it leans in favor of the Sportage here as the Tucson has a lesser base engine, and the Sportage offers the optional higher powered motor as its standard. The Tucson offers superior technology as standard when compared to the Sportage's base model, too. The most notable difference between the vehicles comes in terms of styling, where the Tucson expresses more mature and conventional looks. The Sportage may be the older design between the two, but it certainly has the more modern and expressive style. Either way, both are impressive crossovers and buyers would be happy with either.

See Hyundai Tucson Review

2019 Kia Sportage vs Mazda CX-5

First things first, powertrain. The CX-5 offers a more powerful base motor with 187 hp to the Sportage's 181 hp, and it does this whilst still offering better fuel economy. The CX-5's party trick is its own turbo engine that simply decimates the Sportage performance-wise, aided by a more involving chassis that leans towards the needs of driving enthusiasts more than the Sportage does. The Sportage inches ahead in terms of interior space and cargo capacity, being the smaller of the two vehicles but utilizing the available space better. However, the CX-5's cabin is a nicer place to be, feeling more premium and with higher levels of available technology on the pricier trims. The Mazda also draws on a long line of excellent build quality both for the interior and exterior, although the Sportage receives more optimistic predicted reliability ratings. In terms of the warranty, the Sportage dominates, and the base model is $2,000 cheaper. If it's value for money that matters most, the Sportage is great, but if a premium feel and endearing driving experience are what makes your heart beat faster, the CX-5 can't be beaten.

See Mazda CX-5 Review
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