New 2019 Kia Sportage SUV New 2019
Kia Sportage SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

As compact-crossover SUVs go, the 2019 Kia Sportage still has a leg up on many of its rivals. Beyond its attractive pricing, unbeatable 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and long list of standard and available equipment, the Sportage offers one of the most powerful turbocharged engines in this class. With Subaru dropping the turbocharged Forester XT and Toyota relying on the hybrid RAV4 as its performance champ, the Sportage now only has to chase down the Ford Escape and Jeep Cherokee in the horsepower wars. Of course, the Sportage also comes with a less powerful but more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine, the option of all-wheel drive and a host of optional driver assists, many of which are standard on the Sportage’s competition.

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You'll Like This SUV If...

The 2019 Kia Sportage is a reasonably priced compact-crossover SUV with very sporty looks, a powerful turbocharged engine option and loads of cool high-tech features. It also provides comfortable seating for four adults, decent cargo space and favorable resale and reliability ratings.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

You’ll find more interior room and better fuel economy from a Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester, both of which offer standard driver assists that are optional on the Sportage. Those seeking to venture off-road would be better off in a Jeep Compass or Subaru Crosstrek.

What's New for 2019

For 2019, the LX trim loses the Technology Package and along with it the option of autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot warning and lane-departure warning. The rest of the Sportage line carries over with little change.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

It'd be easy to just point to the 240-horsepower turbocharged Sportage SX as the model to get, thanks to its additional power, but the reality is that few will complain about the standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and its 181 horsepower. It's a surprisingly eager combination, with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission unobtrusive in its operation, just as it should be. The bonus is that it also gets notably better fuel economy than the turbo. That's not to say that the turbo's additional power isn't without its charms of course, and if you're looking for maximum acceleration, then the SX and its turbo engine are the way to go. Kia has improved its electrically assisted power steering to the point where it feels more natural than before, and the suspension overall, even in SX models, is smoother than in the previous Sportage.

Favorite Features

GLORIOUS KNOBS
Rejecting the temptation to turn the Sportage into a rolling tablet, Kia has wisely retained a generous portion of old-fashioned knobs and hard buttons for things like climate control and fan speed. The touch-screen infotainment system is the one exception, but even it has proper knobs for volume and tuning.

LUXURY AMENITIES, MAINSTREAM PRICE
Once the sole domain of expensive luxury SUVs, the Kia Sportage’s available equipment list includes such high-end features as heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 320-watt harman/kardon audio system, a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The 2019 Kia Sportage is a very nice place to spend time. The seats are supportive and comfortable on long trips, the controls logically placed and the dashboard’s bright red backlighting is easy on the eyes at night. There are cubbies and storage spots galore and on upper-end trims, heated rear seats. The roomy rear seat features reclining seatbacks and plenty of space to stretch out, although headroom takes a hit when the optional panoramic sunroof is onboard. The Sportage’s 30.7 feet of cargo space is pretty good, but far short of what is offered by the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.

Exterior

You either like the high-mounted headlights or you don't, so you can make up your own mind there. As for the rest of the stubby little Sportage, we're quite fond of it. The lines are clean and crisp. The "tiger-nose" grille treatment works well here, both aesthetically and in establishing the Sportage as a Kia from first glance. The SX Turbo models get dual exhausts and cool LED fog lights. If you opt for all-wheel drive (AWD), you get a bit more ride height versus the front-wheel-drive models (FWD), and a unique nose with a steeper approach angle.

Notable Standard Equipment

The base Sportage LX model adds stain-resistant YES Essentials upholstery as standard equipment, which includes a 5-inch touch-screen display and rearview camera, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with USB input and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, drive-mode selector (Sport, Normal, Eco), and automatic headlights. The mid-level EX is an even better deal, especially since blind-spot detection, cross-traffic alert, power-folding outside mirrors with turn signals, and glossy interior trim were added to a standard-equipment list that includes a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, power driver's seat, leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control.

Notable Optional Equipment

All models offer Kia's Dynamax AWD that includes locking differential for improved traction on slick surfaces. Beyond the powerful engine, the top-line SX Turbo includes navigation with an 8-inch touch screen, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. There's no CD player with the premium 320-watt harman/kardon sound system, but its Clari-Fi technology improves the sound of digital music files. We particularly like the power hatch, which features Kia's hands-free operation: Just stand near it when you have the key, and the hatch opens automatically.

Under the Hood

The Sportage’s standard engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder good for 181 horsepower, which is about the norm for a compact SUV. Fuel economy, on the other hand, is far from impressive, especially the city figures. The optional 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is anything but the norm, with an impressive 240 horsepower on tap and only a slight reduction in fuel economy; it’s the engine of choice for those who can afford it. A 6-speed automatic transmission serves as the only transmission option, although every trim offers the option of front- or all-wheel drive. The Sportage is tow rated up to 2,000 pounds.

2.4-liter inline-4
181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
175 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD, LX), 22/29 mpg (FWD, EX), 21/25 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (237 horsepower for AWD models)
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/26 mpg (FWD), 20/23 mpg (AWD)

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Pricing Notes

The base 2019 Kia Sportage LX with front-wheel drive starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $24,750. However, you really want the Sportage EX, with its additional features and a reasonable price just a hair under $27,600. If you want turbo power, the SX starts at just over $34,000. Bring an extra $1,500 if you want all-wheel drive on the LX, EX or SX. Generally speaking, those prices are comparable to the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4, and even better in a few cases. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Sportage. The Sportage's resale value has traditionally been mid-pack, trailing leaders like the CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester.

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