2020 Kia Sportage

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Updated: April 24, 2020

2020 Kia Sportage

The 2020 Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV with distinctive looks, strong turbo power, and good cargo space.

For 2020, the Sportage gets a new and sportier-looking S model. All models get updated with new headlights, wheels, front and rear bumpers, and more standard equipment including an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

It also gains standard automatic emergency braking with active lane control. Blind-spot monitors are optional.

The Sportage is powered by either a 181-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-4, or a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo, both mated to 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.

The base Sportage LX is rated at 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined with front-wheel drive and just 22/26/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. The SX with the more powerful turbo engine is rated at 20/28/23 mpg with front-wheel drive and just 19/24/21 mpg with all-wheel drive.

The NHTSA gives the Sportage five stars overall in safety, with four stars in crash tests for the front driver’s side and rollover.

Model Lineup

The 2020 Sportage comes in LX, EX, SX and the new S trim levels.

Standard equipment on the LX includes cloth upholstery, power features, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The EX adds leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, and blind-spot monitors. An optional package adds a panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, LED interior lights and more; a Technology Package adds navigation and a Harman Kardon sound system.

For a considerably higher price, the SX adds power, from its turbocharged engine.

The new S is all cosmetic. It comes with sporty styling and upholstery, plus the blind-spot monitors that the other models lack, but not the turbo engine.

Kia’s warranty is excellent, at 5 years or 60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, and 10 years or 100,000 miles for the powertrain.

Exterior

The 2020 Sportage certainly stands out, although its styling might not be for everyone. Even though it’s smaller than most compact crossovers, it has a long wheelbase, and then short overhangs. That gives it a planted look. The all-wheel-drive models have more ground clearance, that go with new aluminum-effect skid plates. All these things make it look a bit lifted, as well as rugged.

New wheels give the Sportage a more contemporary look, and the full-width taillight design is handsome as well as contemporary.

Interior

The Sportage’s cabin is near the top of its class, with a clean design that abounds with soft-touch materials and high-quality surfaces in most places. That said, the base LX can feel a bit chintzy, although even the LX has a smattering of soft-touch surfaces. The EX and SX replace the cloth upholstery in the LX and S with leather that feels a cut above its price bracket.
The new standard 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment takes center stage between air vents, and above a row of redundant buttons if you don’t like trying to touch the screen with a sometimes bouncing finger, or taking your eyes off the road to focus on an icon.
The cabin is remarkably quiet during normal driving, however the rasp of the base engine under hard acceleration is intrusive. Rearward vision is restricted by the large roof pillars.

Besides thick pillars, the windowline is high, so rear passengers might feel a bit claustrophobic, although there’s plenty of room for two of them, or three in a pinch.

Although it’s a bit smaller than some other compact crossovers, for example the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the Sportage offers good cargo room, with 31 cubic feet behind the second row and just over 60 with the rear seats folded flat.

Driving Impressions

The LX, S, and EX come with front-wheel-drive and a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine that makes 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The handling is competent and the ride composed. The LX has the softest ride with its 17-inch wheels and tires with wider sidewalls, while the EX is a bit stiffer with its 18-inch wheels.

The handling on those models is taut and competent.

The Sportage SX is more fun to drive thanks to the power from its 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, which makes a strong 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It has more than enough grunt for passing on two-lanes. It also has firmer springs, different dampers, and tweaked steering, so its ride and handling is that much more advanced.

The optional all-wheel-drive system performs adequately in slippery conditions, although it doesn’t make the Sportage an off-roader.

Final Word

For many, the 2020 Kia Sportage will tick all the right crossover boxes. The SX is the most entertaining to drive, with its turbo-4 engine, but utility and smart features—and a great warranty—put any Sportage on most economy-car shopping lists.

—by Sam Moses, with driving impressions by The Car Connection