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2019 Kia Sportage: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 2/4/2019 U.S. News & World Report
a car driving on a mountain road: 2019 Kia Sportage© Kia Motors America 2019 Kia Sportage

The 2019 Kia Sportage combines above-average performance with one of the best interiors in the class, earning it a spot in the top third of our compact SUV rankings.

The 2019 Kia Sportage is ranked:

Is the Kia Sportage a Good SUV?

Yes, the Kia Sportage is a good SUV. It provides a comfortable ride and composed handling. Inside, you'll find one of the most spacious, upscale interiors in the class and plenty of user-friendly tech features. We also named it a finalist for our 2019 Best Compact SUV for the Money award. Few compact SUVs can match the Sportage's all-around quality. However, many rivals have more cargo space and get better gas mileage.

Should I Buy the Kia Sportage?

If you're looking for a new compact SUV, the Sportage certainly deserves consideration. In addition to the plaudits above, the Sportage features a lower starting price than many class rivals and provides plenty of bang for your buck. It also has one of the highest predicted reliability ratings in the class. There are alternatives worth considering, like the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, and Toyota RAV4, but you're making a solid choice if you go with the Sportage.

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Sportage?

The 2019 Sportage belongs to a generation that started with the 2017 model year. There aren't many changes for 2019. There also weren't many changes for 2018, but the 2017 redesign added more passenger and cargo space as well as new standard features like a touch screen and a rearview camera.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used model, but know that you'll miss out on the redesign's features and benefits if you buy a pre-2017 model. If you are interested in a used Sportage, check out our reviews of the 2017 Kia Sportage and 2018 Kia Sportage. Also stop by our Used Car Deals page to see what kind of savings and discounts you can find on a used vehicle.

We Did the Research for You: 19 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Sportage generation, which runs from 2017 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Kia Sportage Cost?

The Sportage carries a base price of nearly $24,000, which is below average for the class. There are two higher trims, with the SX Turbo (the top trim) starting at just above $33,000. That's in the middle of the pack for a top trim in this class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Sportage Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson?

The Hyundai Tucson is near the Sportage in our class rankings. Both SUVs provide solid handling, decent power, and a comfortable ride, but the Hyundai is slightly more fuel-efficient. Inside, you'll find plenty of passenger space in both vehicles. The Sportage is more upscale and offers more features than the Tucson, but it also costs more. You’ll have to decide if the Kia is worth the extra money.

Which Is Better: Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5?

The Mazda CX-5 sits near the top of our compact SUV rankings. It's arguably the most athletic and fun-to-drive vehicle in the class, and it has an upscale cabin. The Sportage offers a few features the CX-5 doesn't, but both SUVs feature two rows of roomy seats and have comparable cargo capacities. The Mazda might be a hair better than the Kia, but these are both fine choices.

Which Is Better: Kia Sportage or Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 is popular, but it can't match up with the Sportage. The Kia is more upscale inside and offers more passenger room, though the Toyota has more cargo space by a wide margin. The Sportage is more powerful and more agile than the RAV4, and fuel economy is a wash. The Kia also has a lower starting price. This is an easy call: Go with the Sportage.

Sportage Interior

How Many People Does the Sportage Seat?

The Sportage seats five, and its seats rank among the best in the segment. Both rows provide enough space for adult passengers, and the seats remain comfortable even on long drives.

Sportage and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The system earns an Acceptable rating (the second-highest rating) for its ease-of-use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Sportage Interior Quality

This Kia features one of the most upscale interiors in the class. The cabin is quiet and looks upscale, and the materials would be at home in a luxury vehicle.

Sportage Cargo Space

When it comes to cargo capacity, this Kia trails most of its rivals. Still, you get a usable amount of space – nearly 31 cubic feet with all seats in use and just over 60 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

Sportage Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 5-inch touch screen. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7- or 8-inch touch screen.

The available UVO infotainment system is easy to use. The touch screen responds well to inputs, and it's angled so it's easy to see from the driver's seat. There are redundant physical controls for audio and climate functions.

Sportage Performance

Sportage Engine: Door A or Door B?

The Sportage gives you a choice between its 181-horsepower four-cylinder base engine and the 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder found in SX Turbo trims. The turbo-four definitely feels stronger, especially on the highway, but it won’t blow you away. Most drivers will be fine with the base engine.

Sportage Gas Mileage: Subpar Ratings

Many compact SUVs get better fuel economy than the Sportage, which earns 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. You'll spend more on gas driving the Sportage than you would in rivals like the Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5.

Sportage Ride and Handling: Not Too Shabby

The Sportage delivers a smooth ride and absorbs road imperfections easily. It doesn't feel particularly sporty, but the Sportage handles well and is more enjoyable to drive than some class rivals.

Sportage Reliability

Is the Kia Sportage Reliable?

The 2019 Sportage has an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power. That's one of the highest ratings in the class.

Kia Sportage Warranty

Kia backs the Sportage with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That's one of the longest powertrain warranties in the class.

Sportage Safety

Sportage Crash Test Results

The 2019 Sportage earned a perfect five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests performed. The IIHS also gave it the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention, but it only received a Marginal rating (second lowest) for headlight visibility. 

Sportage Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Sportage. Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, lane change assist, and automatic pre-collision braking.

Which Kia Sportage Model Is Right for Me?

You have three trim options when picking out a Sportage: LX, EX, and SX Turbo. All trims come with front-wheel drive, and you can add all-wheel drive for $1,500. If you want the 240-horsepower turbo-four engine, you'll need the SX Turbo – the only trim to feature that engine.

If you're OK with the base engine, however, then it comes down to the level of technology and comfort you want. The base LX trim offers some nice features and makes sense for budget shoppers. The EX offers the best balance between features and price, as it offers more driver assistance and convenience features than the base trim but still costs much less than the top trim.

Kia Sportage LX

The Sportage LX has a base price of $23,750. It comes standard with a 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 5-inch touch screen.

In addition to the standard features, you can add two option packages. The LX Popular package ($1,200) includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

Kia Sportage EX

The Sportage EX has a starting price of $26,600. In addition to the LX’s standard features, the EX comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

Available packages include the EX Premium package ($1,700) and the EX Technology package ($2,900). The Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof and a heated steering wheel, while the Technology package adds lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free power liftgate, a power-adjustable passenger seat, a Harman Kardon audio system, and the upgraded UVO system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation.

Kia Sportage SX Turbo

The Sportage SX Turbo is the highest trim, and it has a starting price of $33,100. This trim comes with the 240-horsepower, turbocharged engine, a panoramic sunroof, a hands-free power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Harman Kardon audio system, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and the upgraded UVO system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

The Final Call

The 2019 Kia Sportage finishes in the top third of our compact SUV rankings. Its spacious cabin and agile handling are just a couple reasons to like this well-rounded vehicle. If you're shopping for a small SUV, the Sportage is worth a look.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Kia Sportage review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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