Although the 2021 Kia Sportage may not be the most fuel-efficient compact crossover, it is stylish and sporty. The Sportage is sandwiched between the smaller Sorento and smaller Seltos in Kia’s showroom. It competes with standouts like the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V in a crowded segment. The interior is spacious and comfortable, with plenty of space for passengers. However, the luggage capacity is not as good as it could be. Every Sportage is fun to drive and offers a smooth ride. However, the top-ofthe-line model has a turbocharged engine that’s extremely fast. The Kia’s standard driver assistance and infotainment features will be appreciated by buyers.
What’s new for 2021?
The only changes to the Sportage lineup for 2021 are the Nightfall Edition and Nightfall Edition premium options. These appearance packages are reserved for the S trim level and replace last year’s Sunroof Premium and Premium packages. They feature 18-inch wheels with black centers caps and a variety of black exterior accents. The new Sportage badge spans the rear liftgate.
Pricing and Which One To Buy
We love the turbocharged model’s speed, but it is difficult to justify the price. The less powerful engine is still fun to drive. The bottom line can vary depending on the trim level. All-wheel drive will add $1500-$1700 to your cost. The EX trim offers the most features for a fair price. Each Sportage comes with dual-zone climate control and heated front seats. Passive entry is also available. There’s even a power-operated liftgate. We recommend the EX Technology package for more luxury. It includes adaptive cruise control, leather surfaces and heated front seats.
Engine, Transmission, & Performance
The turbocharged Sportage is the fastest compact crossover. We were impressed by the acceleration of the last front-drive Sportage SX Turbo. It ranks amongst the fastest in this class. The base powertrain will be satisfied by a reliable six-speed automatic transmission or a quiet, but powerful nonturbo four cylinder. The engines are all equally enjoyable, with the exception of the SX Turbo which can make mundane milk runs fun. All Sportages offer above-average handling.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
The Sportage is a segment that ranks near the bottom in fuel-sipping, far below the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V. According to the EPA, the Sportage without turbo gets 23 mpg in cities and 30 mpg on highways. All-wheel drive reduces these numbers by 2 and 5. The turbo model’s EPA estimates are 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. However, these figures drop to 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on highway when all-wheel drive is added. Our extensive testing program included a 75-mph highway fuel economy route that the front-drive SX Turbo Turbo returned 27 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, & Cargo
Some editors have said that the interior of this Kia has been compared to Audi’s, which is a good sign that Kia is doing something right. The Sportage’s interior is beautifully executed, and it has a pleasant mix of quality materials as well as nifty functional features. The cabin is spacious enough for passengers, but not cargo. Although the rear seats will comfortably fit adults, some may complain about the placement of the cushion. The class has limited cargo space and little storage for small items. However, the adjustable load floor and seats-down carry on luggage capacity make up some of this.
Connectivity and Infotainment
Each model comes with an 8.0 inch touchscreen infotainment system, which includes both standard Apple CarPlay functionality and Android Auto capabilities. Although the system is intuitive thanks to the physical buttons and knobs, the menus are not as well-designed as the rest. Wireless device charging and integrated navigation are desirable options.