2022 Kia Sportage

By November 3, 2021

The 2022 Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV with front- or all-wheel drive, room for up to five people, and a choice of turbo-4 or non-turbo engines. It’s due for a replacement next year, so the 2022 Sportage makes few changes. The former Sportage S becomes the Nightfall Edition, and the EX gains a standard power sunroof. The Sportage LX and SX Turbo are mostly unchanged. Automatic emergency braking is standard equipment.

The base engine, a 181-hp inline-4, has enough acceleration for most drivers, but, teamed with a 6-speed automatic, it won’t be rushed. With all-wheel drive it’s more sluggish. The available 240-hp turbo-4 surges with peaky power—for a price.

Four large adults can fit in the Sportage in reasonable comfort. It can carry 60.1 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seatbacks folded.

The 2022 Sportage earns EPA ratings of 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined. All-wheel drive is 22/26/23 mpg.

The turbocharged Sportage SX front-drive models get 20/28/23 mpg, and 19/24/21 mpg with all-wheel drive

The NHTSA gives the Sportage five stars overall, with a four-star rating for front-impact and rollover protection. The IIHS give the SX Turbo a Top Safety Pick rating, with its LED headlights rated “Acceptable.” The headlights on the other models are rated “Poor.”

Every Sportage has automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control come with higher trim levels.

Model Lineup

The $25,265 Sportage LX comes with power features, cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Value Edition package adds 18-inch gray wheels, keyless start, heated front seats, a power driver seat, and blind-spot monitors. All-wheel drive is available on every model.

The new Nightfall Edition replaces the former Sportage S, and gains standard blind-spot monitors and nicer upholstery.

The Sportage EX for $29,565 adds 18-inch wheels and dual-zone climate control—and for 2022, a standard panoramic sunroof. Options include premium audio, navigation, a power front passenger seat, leather upholstery, and wireless smartphone charging

The Sportage SX Turbo gets all these features plus the turbo engine, but costs $36,425 with all-wheel drive.

Every Sportage has Kia’s long 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Exterior

The Sportage cuts a dashing profile. It dresses down and doesn’t try too hard. With a long wheelbase and short overhangs, the stance is poised and athletic. A taut roofline pulls the shape back toward its heels like a high-top sneaker. It looks tidy and trim, without an ounce of fat.

Interior

A high grade of trim complements a clean dash design, except for the 8.0-inch touchscreen that cuts into the sightlines. The tall cowl and rising door line confine the interior, as does the black trim.

The front seats get casual knit cloth in LX and Nightfall models; EX and SX Turbo wear leather. The cushions could be thicker, but the front seats have good support; in top trims they’re power.

There’s 38.2 inches of leg room in back, while head room is on the slim side. Don’t expect to squeeze in three full-sized adults without a fight.

The fold-down rear seats can expand cargo space from 30.7 cubic feet to 60.1 cubic feet. The load floor is not too high.

Driving Impressions

Most of the Sportages sold are with the base 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, which is the least punchy version. But the 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque provide adequate acceleration. The engine doesn’t sound particularly refined, but noise doesn’t intrude too much into the cabin.

The 240 hp and 260 lb-ft generated by the Sportage SX Turbo’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 is more interesting. Its vigorous power creates torque steer in front-drive versions, joined by a giddy rush of power.

With a strut and multi-link suspension and 17- or 18-inch wheels, the Sportage takes a mild approach in corners. It steers without fuss. Like many cars of its size, It jostles passengers over highway divots, but cuts corners cleanly and with enthusiasm.

The Nightfall and SX Turbo suspensions are slightly stiffer, the steering is heavier and has more feel, and they use bigger wheels. The ride and handling are closer to sporty.

Final Word

The 2022 Kia Sportage gives drivers a choice between a fuel-conscious version and a thrusty turbo edition. In either case, the Sportage handles well, and offers up lots of cargo space with two people on board. Best of all are Kia’s warranty and technology, almost without rivals in this price segment.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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