• Car Review

2020 Kia Sportage Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 19, 2020

Quick Facts:


  • New advanced safety features.
  • Solid infotainment system with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • Smooth ride and quiet interior.


  • Tight cargo area.
  • Fuel economy lags behind the competition.
  • Busy styling.

Vehicle Type:
The Kia Sportage is a compact crossover.

Price Range:
$25,110 to $34,710, including destination but before options.


  • The Sportage comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque.
  • The SX Turbo model comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.
  • Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive as standard equipment. All-wheel drive is optional.

More Photos: See more 2020 Kia Sportage photos here.



The Kia Sportage, in some ways, has been an also-ran to the more popular offerings from Toyota and Honda. But that’s not to say it’s not a solid offering with plenty to like. The 2020 Sportage has been updated with refreshed styling, new interior features, and a newly-standard eight-inch touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Most versions of the Sportage come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Power reaches either the front wheels or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The SX Turbo trim comes with a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 260 lb-ft of torque. It comes paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox as well.

The 2020 Kia Sportage comes in four trims: LX, S, EX, and SX Turbo. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional.

The Sportage competes with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Hyundai Tucson. It is targeted at new car buyers that want the extra utility afforded by a crossover and a long warranty.

At the end of the day, the Sportage’s lack of name recognition shouldn’t be taken as a knock on its overall quality, design, or value. It’s got the tech, safety, and driving dynamics to be a real standout in its segment.

Kia has come a long way in recent years, and though its prices have risen over time, they’re still among the best value in the business, especially considering their generous warranty.

Overall Score: 7.9/10

Safety Features: 7/10


Standard safety features include a traction control system, forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection, a driver attention warning system, downhill brake control, a lane keep assist system, and electronic stability control.

Many advanced safety features are optional. They include forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, and lane departure alerts. The top SX Turbo trim comes standard with these features, and they can be added to other trims in an options package.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Sportage with a Top Safety Pick designation for the 2020 model year. The crash testing agency rated it ‘Good’ in all areas of crashworthiness and ‘Superior’ for its standard crash prevention technologies. The Sportage’s headlights were rated differently depending on the trim, with ratings ranging from ‘Poor’ to ‘Good.’

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Sportage five out of five stars overall. This includes four stars for front driver-side impact, five stars for front passenger side impact, five stars in all side crash tests, and four stars for rollover resistance.

Value: 8/10


Even at its lowest trim level, the Sportage is well equipped with standard power, convenience, and safety features.

The mid-range trims are where the Sportage really stands out. The EX comes with plenty of comfort, convenience, and tech features and still manages to undercut the top SX trim by thousands. An available Technology package adds in many of the things that the EX is lacking, but the price hike of $4,500 makes it a hard sell against the SX Turbo, which has a better engine.

The SX Turbo model undercuts top trims of the RAV4 and CR-V while also outperforming them. The turbo engine is a real performer and makes the Sportage one of the quickest crossovers in its segment.

Kia offers one of the longest and most comprehensive warranties on the market. Basic coverage extends to five years or 60,000 miles, while the powertrain warranty coverage lasts for ten years or up to 100,000 miles.

Tech Features: 9/10


Kia’s UVO infotainment system is simple, easy-to-use, and responsive. Menus are well-thought-out, and the entire system can be operated without much distraction to drivers.

Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB ports, a 100-watt six-speaker sound system, auxiliary inputs, an eight-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, voice recognition, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and a drive mode select system.

Optional features include a dual-zone climate control system, navigation, a wireless device charging pad, additional USB ports, a smart key system with welcome functions, a Harman Kardon 320-watt sound system with eight speakers and subwoofer, and a smart power tailgate.

The base audio system fills the small crossover with rich sound, and the Sportage’s excellent sound insulation helps as well. The Harmon Kardon sound system is louder than most people will ever need and offers high-quality sound at any level.

Practicality: 7/10


The Sportage’s cargo area is slightly smaller than its competition. With the second-row seats folded up, there’s 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space. With the second row folded down, that number climbs to 60.1 cubic feet. That’s nearly ten cubic feet shy of the RAV4 and over 15 cubic feet short of the CR-V.

The Sportage’s interior features clever storage spaces that allow passengers to stash smartphones, purses, and other small items with ease.

Despite its smaller cargo area, the Sportage’s rear space is wide and fairly tall, which allows for easy loading and unloading of large gear.

Though it’s got a smallish back seat, the Sportage’s rear door openings are large enough for parents to easily load children in and out, and there’s plenty of room for tall adults to enter and exit the vehicle with ease.

Styling & Design: 8/10


The Sportage was mildly updated for 2020 with bold updates and a sleeker appearance overall. The look may still be too busy for some buyers, as the front end is full of vents, scoops, and shapes.

That new look serves to make the Sportage more aggressive-looking and gives it a stronger stance overall.

Kia has leaped forward with its interior quality in recent years, and the Sportage is a great example of that progress. Materials are of high quality, solid, and premium feeling textures. The Sportage’s interior is driver-focused and ergonomic. All controls and displays are easy to view from the driver’s seat and easy to reach, even for shorter drivers.

Despite its lack of overall cargo space when compared to its rivals, the Sportage’s cabin is roomy for passengers. The front seats are wide, and the front legroom is generous, while even the back seat is manageable for adults on longer trips.

Driving Experience: 8/10


The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides ample acceleration and maintains its composure in most driving scenarios. For an around-town companion, there’s nothing wrong with the base engine, but it isn’t going to wow anyone with its power. The six-speed automatic gearbox is refined and smooth and matches well with the four-cylinder engine.

With the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the Sportage can crack off a 0-60 mph run in just under seven seconds. That puts the Sportage among the quickest crossovers in the segment. In addition, the Kia is a fun vehicle to drive, aided by sharp handling and well-controlled suspension.

The Sportage’s front-wheel-drive layout makes it competent in most weather conditions, but buyers that live in climates that receive regular snow will want to opt for all-wheel drive. Though it’s not the sportiest setup for a vehicle named the Sportage, the layout provides the best traction and most stability for the widest array of road conditions.

Fuel Efficiency: 7/10


With FWD and the base 2.4-liter engine, the Sportage is rated at 23/30/26 mpg city/hwy/combined. With AWD, those numbers change to 22/26/23 mpg.

The 2.0-liter turbo engine and FWD gives the Sportage fuel economy ratings of 20/28/23 mpg. With all-wheel drive, those numbers shift to 19/24/21 mpg.

In almost all of its trims, the RAV4 does better, and the CR-V is better in some areas as well.

Kia doesn’t offer a hybrid or plug-in hybrid option for the Sportage. Toyota offers a hybrid for the RAV4, and a plug-in is due out in 2021.

What’s it Going to Cost Me?


The base 2020 Kia Sportage starts at $25,110 after a $1,120 destination charge. Standard features include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, a six-speed automatic transmission, a matte black grille, body-colored door handles, a rear spoiler, power mirrors, privacy glass, LED running lights, projector headlights, high beam assist, 17-inch wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, Bluetooth, MP3 playback, Siri Eyes Free, six speakers, a rear camera, forward-collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warnings, steering wheel audio controls, drive mode select, auxiliary inputs, 12-volt power outlets, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, manual climate controls, a rear ventilation duct, cloth seats, and manual seat adjustments.

All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option.

The Sportage S starts at $27,260 and comes with roof rails, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, SOFINO synthetic leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, and alloy sport pedals.

All-wheel drive is a $1,700 option.

The Kia Sportage EX starts at $28,410 and comes with a smart welcome system, a smart power liftgate, rear USB charging ports, one-touch up/down window for the driver, a smart key system with push-button start, dual-zone climate controls, 10-way power seats, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and piano black trim.

AWD is a $1,500 option.

The 2020 Sportage SX Turbo starts at $34,710 after destination, and comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, LED front fog lights, LED tail lights, dual-outlet chrome exhaust, 19-inch wheels, a compact spare tire, voice-command navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, a Harmon Kardon premium surround sound system with 320 watts and eight speakers, a parking assist system with front and rear sensors, smart cruise control, an electronic parking brake, a wireless phone charging pad, chrome inside door handles, LED interior lighting, leather upholstery, eight-way power passenger seat adjustments, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel with sport functions, paddle shifters, alloy sport pedals, and metal door scuff plates.

AWD is a $1,500 option.

If we were shopping for a Sportage today, our money would go toward the EX trim.

It’s got many luxury and convenience features that we’d expect from vehicles costing thousands more and retains a reasonable starting price overall.

The base 2.4-liter engine is a perfect companion for the small Sportage and makes it a more than capable urban runabout. There won’t be any screaming performance, and it lacks some of the high-end features that the SX Turbo has, but it’s the value we’re after here.

The EX is available with a $4,500 Tech package that includes power seats, heated and ventilated seats, LED interior lights, a panoramic sunroof, wireless device charging, and more, but at that price point, there’s no reason not to opt for the range-topping SX Turbo trim.

More Photos

See more 2020 Kia Sportage photos here.