- 2020 Kia Sportage starts at $25,795 before freight and delivery charges.
- Roomy cabin, good performance and handling, attractive design.
- Among the least fuel-efficient in its class, stiff ride.
How time flies. The current-generation Kia Sportage was introduced for the 2016 model year, which honestly wasn’t that too long ago, but tough competition being was it is, the Korean compact crossover is starting to show its age.
More importantly, it’s started to get crowded on the showroom floor with the addition of the 2021 Kia Seltos, which could very well start stealing sales away from the Sportage. The Kia Sorento is also quite popular with two- and three-row variants offered at a relatively affordable price. And while the 2020 Kia Telluride isn’t a threat from a size perspective, in only further makes the Sportage look out of date.
And yet, the 2020 Kia Sportage does have its charm, with its Porsche Macan-like styling and muscular stance. It has just received revisions to its front and rear fascias, although it takes a keen eye to spot them. There are new headlight clusters with LED turn signals, optional LED headlights, reshaped bumpers and taillights as well as revised alloy wheel designs.
Inside, the Sportage now features a standard eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is also included. The options list also adds wireless phone charging.
All trim levels except the range-topping SX are equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, mixed with a six-speed automatic transmission. A front-wheel drivetrain is found on the entry-level LX variant, while AWD is an option on the LX and standard on LX S, EX, EX S, EX Premium, EX Premium S, EX Tech and SX trims.
The 2020 Kia Sportage SX benefits from a turbocharged, 2.0-litre four that belts out 237 horsepower as well as 260 pound-feet of torque that peaks from 1,450 to 3,500 rpm.
Competitors to the Sportage are numerous, and include the Honda CR-V, the Mazda CX-5, the Ford Escape, the Chevrolet Equinox, the Nissan Rogue, the Subaru Forester, the Toyota RAV4, the Volkswagen Tiguan, the GMC Terrain, the Hyundai Tucson and the Mitsubishi Outlander.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Kia Sportage
The Korean crossover offers a lot of comfort and convenience features for the asking price. While the $25,795 LX—before freight and delivery charges—includes a basic equipment list, the Sportage can be dressed up with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, a windshield wiper de-icer, dual-zone climate control and a Harman/Kardon sound system.
The Kia Sportage dishes out surprising performance in SX kit, thanks to the strong low-end torque provided by the turbo engine. However, the 2.4-litre engine will do the job nicely for most buyers, and it offers about as much power as its rivals.
Cockpit ergonomics are flawless. With plenty of well-position buttons on the steering wheel and rows of physical buttons on the centre stack, it’s easy to fiddle with the audio and climate systems without taking our eyes off the road, and without having to use the distracting touchscreen.
The 2020 Kia Sportage serves up good handling characteristics. It’s one of the best-driving compact SUVs out there, alongside the Mazda CX-5.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Kia Sportage
No matter which engine we choose, we’ll be stuck with below-average fuel economy. With AWD, the 2.4-litre engine boasts a combined city/highway rating of 10.0 L/100 km, and only the Tucson and the Tiguan do worse. We averaged 11.7 L/100 km during our winter test, which is nothing to write home about. As for the turbo engine, it’s rated at 11.0 L/100 km, worst among higher-performance compact crossovers with similar powertrains. At least both use regular unleaded.
Many newer crossovers include a full suite of advanced driver assist systems as standard equipment, but not the Kia Sportage. We must move up to the EX trim to get autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist, and up to the EX Tech to benefit from blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.
The Sportage is spacious, both for passengers and for cargo. However, some adversaries are more accommodating, and the Kia is beaten out by the CR-V, the RAV4, the Tiguan and the Forester.
Although it handles well, the 2020 Kia Sportage’s suspension is a little firmer than we’d like, and more road noise, too.
It’s stylish, it performs and handles well, and it’s got a lot of features for the price. The 2020 Kia Sportage can easily handle the family-hauling duties and there’s ample space for everyone. However, its fuel economy could be much better, the ride is stiff and to be honest, while the Seltos isn’t as powerful, it will satisfy the needs of people on the go for less money. Meanwhile, uplevel trims cost as much as a lightly-equipped Sorento, which offers more room and refinement.