2019 Kia Sportage

Starting Price: $24,745 | Price Yours

Above Average: Optional strong turbocharged engine; outstanding warranty; knobs and buttons for climate control and other things (not all touchscreen); some nice luxury even in the entry-level model

Below Average: Not great off-road; a bit tight inside for passengers and cargo compared to others

Consensus: The Kia Sportage is a solid little compact SUV that offers a lot in a small package. It comes with plenty of options right out the gate, included heated and ventilated front seats. a 320-watt Harman Kardon stereo, and an excellent warranty. It’s comfortable, fun, and looks sporty, and has an excellent and strong optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. There are better choices off-road, however.


2019 Ford Escape

Starting Price: $25,200 | Price Yours

Above Average: Great handling; nice range of engine choices; respectable towing capacity.

Below Average: Small backseat, cramped cargo space; there are better choices off-road

Consensus: The 2019 Ford Escape is a spunky little compact crossover SUV that’s great to drive and comes with a wide variety of engine choices. With the top engine, it boasts an impressive 3,500-pound tow rating. It’s not the best choice off-road, however, and its interior and cargo-holding space are average at best. 

As American consumers increasingly turn from cars to crossovers and SUVs, more and more manufacturers have tossed their hats into the very competitive ring. In the compact/subcompact class, Kia offers its 2019 Sportage, while Ford offers the Escape. Both have a lot to recommend them, from optional powerful turbocharged engines to decent levels of features in entry-level models. Neither is particularly roomy, however, with seating that’s realistically practical for a maximum of four passengers and cargo space that’s bested by others in the class. They are both fairly fun to drive, with decent handling and comfort.


Comparable prices; both have optional turbocharged engines; both claim seating for five, but realistically seat four in comfort

Kia Sportage Advantages

Longer warranty; more power and slightly better fuel economy

Ford Escape Advantages

Better handling; more fun to drive; larger choice of engines

Final Recommendation

In nearly every category, we have to say the 2019 Kia Sportage is the winner here.

While the Ford Escape may lead slightly in the handling department, Kia has addressed the Sportage’s steering for 2019, making it a bit more fun to drive as well. The Ford is also a bit long in the tooth (a new one is coming in 2020), with Kia only adding to the Sportage’s appeal with its 2020 restyle.

Other than that, the base Sportage makes slightly more power with better fuel economy, it comes very generously equipped out of the gate with some nice touch points and a great Harman Kardon stereo, and there’s even a powerful turbocharged engine for those seeking more oomph. Add that to the Kia’s comfortable and supportive seats and its outstanding warranty and it makes a very strong case for itself.

About the only category in which the Escape leads is its 3,500-pound towing capacity with the upgraded engine, but if towing isn’t a factor, then the Sportage is the clear winner.

Ready to buy a Ford Escape or Kia Sportage? Start your search with KBB!

  2019 Kia Sportage 2019 Ford Escape
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.4-liter I4 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower 181 hp @ 6,000 rpm 168 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 175 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 170 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-Spd Automatic, 6-Spd
Fuel Economy 25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy) 24 mpg (21 city/29 hwy)
Also Available 2.0-liter turbo I4 1.5-liter turbo I4; 2.0-liter turbo I4
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 105.1 inches 105.9 inches
Overall Length 176.4 inches 178.1 inches
Width 73.0 inches 81.8 inches 
Height 64.4 inches 66.3 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 38.8 feet
Headroom, Front 39.3 inches 39.9 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.1 inches 39.0 inches
Legroom, Front 41.5 inches 43.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.2 inches 37.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.1 inches 55.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.1 inches 55.2 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 129.3 cu. ft. 98.7 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 60.1 cu. ft. 68.0 cu. ft.
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