It’s a year of minor changes for the Sportage, a compact crossover Kia redesigned last year to give this affordable little utility a distinctly upscale look.
Those updates include the addition of a front passenger seat height adjustment in EX and EX Premium trims and, more notably, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and front parking sensors in EX Premium and EX Tech trims.
As before, the Sportage range is split into LX, EX and SX trims, the former two powered by a 2.4L four-cylinder engine making 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque and the latter getting the exclusive use of a 2.0L turbo motor that cranks out 237 hp and 260 lb-ft.
A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available, and AWD is an option in the LX and standard in EX and SX trims.
The offer of a turbo engine suggests Kia feels there’s still an appetite for fun in this category, but the reality is this is a heavy vehicle that needs that boosted engine to feel adequately quick. Another downside of such a potent motor is that it makes the Sportage thirsty, especially compared to the Honda CR-V, whose little 1.5L turbo is an economy champ.
But power is power, and Kia finds itself in league with the likes of Ford’s Escape and the Chevrolet Equinox for offering something to satisfy heavy right feet.
Where Kia used to be a value leader that crammed features into its vehicles at bargain prices, this South Korean brand now finds itself being challenged on that front by the likes of Honda and Toyota. Sportage pricing starts at an attractive $25,000 tag, but tops out at $39,600 in SX Turbo form. At least it looks like it’s worth that kind of money and comes with niceties like navigation, eight-inch infotainment screen, upgraded stereo, wireless smartphone charging, hands-free power tailgate, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a full suite of active safety features.
Fuel consumption estimates are 10.3/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway) for a 2.4L FWD model and 11.3/9.5 when AWD is added. SX Turbo models are rated at 11.9/10.2 L/100 km.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed