Car Review

Car Review : Kia Sportage 2025
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LThe Kia Sportage stands out with its comfortable ride quality, spacious seating and massive rear cargo area. It also comes with some appealing technology features and advanced driver aids. The Sportage’s biggest shortcomings are its slow acceleration and underwhelming fuel economy.


Stylish, quiet and high-tech interior

Roomy seating and a huge cargo area

Added off-road capability with X-Pro trim


Standard engine supplies leisurely acceleration

Subpar fuel economy

What’s new

A mild styling update is likely in the cards

Otherwise, no major changes are expected

Part of the fifth Sportage generation introduced for 2023


Kia has packed a surprising amount of style and features into the compact footprint of its Sportage SUV. Always a good value for the money, the Sportage received a full redesign in 2023 that made it one of the most distinctive-looking SUVs on the road regardless of price. Available in front- or all-wheel drive, the Sportage uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for motivation. Kia also offers a hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions but we review those separately. Even with its recent redesign, we think Kia will update the Sportage’s styling yet again for 2025 based on Kia’s typical product cycle. Other changes will likely be mild and could be limited to simple trim updates and a shuffling of standard and optional features.

Competitors to consider

There’s no shortage of compact SUVs to choose from, but our top picks would be the stylish Mazda CX-50, the evergreen Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. The Mazda offers significantly more power than the Sportage, while the RAV4 is more efficient and the CR-V offers a more refined driving experience. Read our Expert Rating to learn all about the Kia’s strengths and potential drawbacks.

Performance 6.5/10

How does the Sportage drive? The Sportage fails to impress in day-to-day driving. The mildly off-road-focused nature of the X-Pro trim we tested, with its all-terrain tires, makes on-road handling feel a bit softer, but that’s less of an issue than the lack of power. It took our Sportage test car more than 9.5 seconds to reach highway speeds of 60 mph, which is very slow and seconds behind class leaders. There are no other engines offered unless you opt for the Sportage Hybrid, which we highly recommend checking out.

The engine makes most driving scenarios more work than they should be. The transmission is constantly hunting for the right gear to maximize available power, and the driver needs to plan for passing maneuvers well ahead of when they might need to happen. We otherwise found the steering easy and accurate and the brakes smooth and responsive. Replace the engine with something else and it would be a much better experience.

Comfort 8.5/10

How comfortable is the Sportage? The Sportage has you covered if comfort is a priority. The seats may not offer an extensive amount of adjustments, but they offer excellent support and cushioning in all the right places. The upholstery isn’t fancy but feels durable, and if you opt for the higher trim models, the front seats include ventilation and heat functions. The rear seats have a lot of adjustable recline, which will certainly make your rear passengers happy.

The Sportage suspension is very softly tuned. That allows the Sportage to absorb bumps and broken pavement well but sometimes causes it to uncomfortably bob up and down around a little more if the road is undulating. Kia also did a great job at keeping unwanted noise out of the cabin and keeping the interior free of squeaks or rattles.

We think the climate control layout is pretty slick — the touch panel controls convert to media controls when not in use — but we could see some people not liking it. Interface aside, the system performance is strong and effective at maintaining your target cabin temperature.

Interior 8.5/10

How’s the interior? A thoughtful and user-friendly interior is another Sportage strong suit. Kia has leveled up the look and design of the interior without sacrificing functionality. Maybe the new touchscreen iconography, which resembles neon signs, won’t be to everyone’s taste but it at least looks modern, and Kia has retained many useful physical buttons. All-wheel-drive Sportages have more ground clearance, 8.3 inches, than front-wheel-drive models (7.1 inches), which makes step-in height marginally higher as well. But it’s still a relatively easy vehicle to slide in and out of, especially with its nice squared-off door openings.

Visibility is great thanks to big windows and body dimensions that are easy to gauge from the driver’s seat. And for those who want even better visibility, the Prestige trims include an excellent surround-view camera system. Passenger space is generous throughout the cabin as well, with the exception of front headroom. Although people 6 feet tall or shorter should have no issues, we wonder if the exceptionally tall will feel too close to the roof in the front seat.

Technology 8.0/10

How’s the tech? Kia offers loads of in-car tech and driver aids with the Sportage. Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a plethora of USB-A and -C ports in both rows. Our test vehicle was equipped with a wireless charging pad as well as 12.3-inch displays for both the instrument cluster and infotainment system. Onboard navigation, which our test Sportage had, is straightforward to operate, though it’s a bummer that it doesn’t have live traffic information. Also, the touchscreen inputs lock out when you’re on the move.

The Sportage is available with loads of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, a surround-view monitor and parking assist. We like how it all works in real-world use. The adaptive cruise holds good gaps without constantly tapping the brakes, and we didn’t have any false alerts with any of the collision systems. Smart Park will pull the Sportage out or into a parking spot using just the key fob. It’s a neat party trick.

Storage 8.5/10

How’s the storage? Storage has become a hallmark of any modern small SUV worth its mettle, and the Sportage delivers. With 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 74.1 cubic feet with that row folded down, the Sportage is one of the most spacious vehicles in this class. The load floor is wide and flat, and the rear seats can be folded down from the hatch. The rear seats have car seat anchors that are pretty easy to locate and access, and the rear seat is spacious enough for even larger rear-facing car seats.

Storage in the rest of the cabin is excellent, too. The center console has a small lidded bin in front of the shifter that houses USB ports and a wireless pad, though it’s large enough for more than just a phone. The cupholders are clever too, and they can retract into the walls to make space for larger beverages or create another bin for other things. The Sportage can tow up to 2,500 pounds when properly equipped. That’s average for a small SUV and enough for a small trailer or boat.

Fuel Economy 6.0/10

How’s the fuel economy? In all-wheel-drive form with its all-terrain tires, the Sportage X-Pro (which is what we tested) gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined. This isn’t that great, considering many competitors manage to be more efficient. Adding insult to injury is how slow the Sportage is in return. Usually you give up one quality for another. We managed 26.4 mpg on our mixed-driving evaluation route, which indicates the Kia should meet its economy estimates. But if you’re like us and see yourself being heavy on the gas around town, expect this number to decrease.

Value 8.0/10

Is the Sportage a good value? The Sportage packs in a lot of features and feels like good value for the money, but it doesn’t have as big of a price advantage over its competitors as it used to. What it provides in return is an attractive cabin with sound build quality and some premium luxuries like ventilated seats that some competitors simply don’t offer. Our loaded Sportage X-Pro Prestige test model had nearly every feature you’d want in a modern small SUV.

Kia offers a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and covers the powertrain for 10 years/100,000 miles. That’s stellar stuff that no one, other than sister company Hyundai, can really match. Kia also includes five years/60,000 miles of roadside assistance.

Wildcard 7.0/10

We think this Sportage is an improvement over the previous model in appearance, but we’re not convinced the styling will be for everyone. It’s aggressive and bold and maybe just a hair over the top. But, hey, maybe you love that! We do love the interior direction Kia has taken and think most people will too.

While the X-Pro trim is designed to pull more off-road duty, and even looks a little rugged, we aren’t sure it can step up in a real way. The powertrain is probably the weakest link here, and with most of our time being spent on the road, it’s what spoils the experience for us.

Kia Sportage models

The Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV. It comes in LXEXX-LineSXSX PrestigeX-Pro and X-Pro Prestige trim levels, each equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (187 horsepower, 178 lb-ft of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Most Sportages have standard front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available as an option. The X-Line, X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige come with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. You can also choose the Sportage Hybrid or Sportage Plug-in Hybrid, each reviewed separately. Keep reading for our rundown of the Sportage’s significant features for each trim level.

Highlights from the standard equipment lists include:


The Sportage LX is the base trim level, but it’s not basic thanks to:

17-inch alloy wheels

LED headlights with automatic high-beam operation

Digital instrumentation display

Height-adjustable driver’s seat

60/40-split folding and reclining back seat

8-inch touchscreen display

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration

Six stereo speakers

Several driver assist and safety features are also standard on the Sportage:

Driver attention warning (issues an alert if sensors determine you are becoming fatigued)

Forward collision warning with automatic braking (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)

Lane departure mitigation (warns you of a lane departure when a turn signal isn’t used and can automatically steer to maintain lane position)

Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)

Rear parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible behind the vehicle when parking)


The Sportage EX doesn’t cost much more but adds a generous list of upgrades:

18-inch alloy wheels

Dual-level cargo floor

Hands-free keyless entry with push-button engine start

Remote engine start

Dual-zone automatic climate control

Synthetic leather upholstery

Power-adjustable driver’s seat

Heated front seats

The EX also comes with:

12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system

Kia Connect connected services

Onboard navigation system

Wireless smartphone charger

Rear USB charging ports

Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning (alerts you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse)

Rear passenger safe-exit system (can prevent a rear passenger from opening a door into traffic approaching from behind)


This version of the Sportage provides an off-road-ready look with:

19-inch gloss black alloy wheels

All-wheel drive including a center locking differential

X-Line exterior styling with gloss black trim

Gloss black roof rails

Premium synthetic leather


For an upscale look and feel, the Sportage SX adds the following to the EX equipment:

18-inch matte gray alloy wheels

Satin chrome and gloss black exterior trim

Gloss black low-profile roof rails

Hands-free liftgate

Panoramic sunroof

LED interior lighting

Memory for the driver’s settings

Upgraded 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display

Eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system

Intersection collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision during a left turn and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)

Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Kia and the car in front)

Kia’s Highway Driving Assist (combines the adaptive cruise control and the lane keeping system when driving on highways)

SX Prestige

This version of the Sportage offers more luxury and technology, with:

19-inch gloss black alloy wheels

Upgraded LED headlights and taillights

LED foglights

Solar-control window glass

Premium synthetic leather

Power-adjustable front passenger seat

Ventilated front seats

Heated steering wheel

Camera-based blind-spot monitor (shows the driver a live view of what’s in the Sportage’s blind spots)

Parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible in front of or behind the vehicle when parking)

Surround-view camera system (gives you a top-down view of the Sportage and its surroundings for tight parking situations)

Rear automatic braking (applies the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision with an object behind the vehicle)


Equipped with X-Line and SX features, the Sportage X-Pro also has:

17-inch matte black alloy wheels

All-terrain tires

Multi-terrain driving modes

LED foglights

Heated windshield

Heated steering wheel

Alloy pedal covers

X-Pro Prestige

At the top of the Sportage lineup, the X-Pro Prestige includes X-Pro and SX Prestige equipment (has the X-Pro wheels and tires).


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