2022 Kia Sportage

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
May 5, 2021

Buying tip

Skip the pricey, thirsty Sportage SX Turbo. Base models have all the gear and warranty you’ll want in a compact crossover.

features & specs

EX AWD
EX FWD
LX AWD
MPG
22 city / 26 hwy
MPG
23 city / 30 hwy
MPG
22 city / 26 hwy
MSRP
$29,890
MSRP
$28,390
MSRP
$25,590

The 2022 Kia Sportage ushers in another year of good looks and great standard features in base models, while fuel economy in pricey turbo editions give us pause.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Kia Sportage? What does it compare to?

The 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 a rival for vehicles like the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape.

Is the 2022 Kia Sportage a good crossover SUV?

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We give it a TCC Rating of 6.7 out of 10, boosted by its excellent features and safety scores. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Kia Sportage?

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.

Without much change to its shape, the Sportage continues to cut a dashing profile. Its taut shape reminds us of our favorite high-top sneakers; the cabin reminds us how nice it would be to have taller windows and better outward vision, though it’s composed well and has a big touchscreen for infotainment.

The 181-hp inline-4 that powers most Sportage crossovers will suit nearly all its drivers just fine. With its 6-speed automatic it won't be rushed, and with available all-wheel drive it’s close to sluggish. We’d still choose it over the peaky and thirsty 240-hp turbo-4; we love its gutsy acceleration, but the lofty sticker price makes us blanch. The SX Turbo also upgrades its handling with a stiffer setup and bigger wheels, but still pulls up shy of what we’d define as “sport.”

Four large adults can fit in the Sportage in reasonable comfort, and the crossover can tote up to 60.1 cubic feet of cargo with its rear seatbacks folded down. The priorities are yours. The safety’s yours, too: every Sportage gets automatic emergency braking and fine NHTSA crash-test scores, though the IIHS’s more fickle formula gives only the SX Turbo the Top Safety Pick award.

How much does the 2022 Kia Sportage cost?

It’s $25,265 for a Sportage LX with power features, 17-inch wheels, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That’s the best value, but it’s tempting to add the new Value Edition package and its 18-inch wheels, keyless start, power driver seat, and blind-spot monitors. All in, the $36,425 Sportage SX Turbo has all the goodies, but at that price, it needs to be bigger and more assertive.

Where is the 2022 Kia Sportage made?

In South Korea.

7

2022 Kia Sportage

Styling

No trendy lines or awkward angles here.

Is the Kia Sportage a good-looking car?

Still crisp and handsome after a handful of model years, the 2022 Sportage dresses down to upstage some of its rivals. It doesn’t try too hard, and that wins us over. We give it a point for interior and exterior styling, for a 7 here.

The athletic, poised stance of the Sportage comes in part from its relatively long wheelbase and short overhangs. But it’s the taut roofline that pulls the shape back toward its heels like a good athletic shoe. It looks tidy and trim, without an ounce of visual fat.

In the Sportage cabin, a high grade of trim complements a clean dash design. Kia plants an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the dash, and that cuts into the Sportage sightlines. The tall cowl and rising door line confine the interior, as does the black trim.

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5

2022 Kia Sportage

Performance

The Sportage hugs the centerline; SX Turbo crossovers can clip apexes.

More drivers will buy the Kia Sportage with the lower-power engine and without all-wheel drive. We give it a 5 based on that version’s middling all-around performance—knowing full well that the available turbo-4 turns the Sportage from cushy walking shoe into a cross-trainer.

How fast is the Kia Sportage?

With the stock 2.4-liter inline-4, not very. It builds up 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, and sends it through a 6-speed automatic to the front wheels for perfectly adequate acceleration. It’s not particularly refined in its engine note, but 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 altogether more interesting. It notches up the boost to deliver a third more power through the same 6-speed automatic. It’s thirsty, both for fuel and for well-kinked roads, and delivers its power vigorously, with torque tugging at the wheel in front-drive versions.

Is the Kia Sportage 4WD?

Every model comes with an option for all-wheel drive. In something vaguely sporty like a Sportage, we’d skip it, unless you’re putting miles on in the Snow Belt. The fuel-economy hit is substantial.

With a strut and multi-link suspension connecting 17- or 18-inch wheels to the pavement, the Sportage’s handling takes a mild tack as it tackles corners. It jostles passengers over highway divots like many cars its size, and steers without fuss. The Nightfall and SX Turbo editions dial in a slightly stiffer ride, more steering weight, and add the bigger wheels for a ride-and-handling combination we’d peg closer to sporty.

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7

2022 Kia Sportage

Comfort & Quality

Four adults can get cozy inside the compact Sportage.

With space for up to four large adults and a reasonable amount of cargo, the Sportage earns a 7 here. It’s a car capable of performing multiple tasks all at once.

Task number one is ferrying the driver and front passenger in relative peace, and it does so with aplomb. The front seats get casual knit cloth to wear in LX and Nightfall versions; Sportage EX and SX Turbo crossovers wear leather. We’d like thicker cushions but the front seats have good support and get power adjustment in top trims.

The back seat’s 38.2 inches of leg room make way for most long-legged passengers, though head room is on the slim side. Three big adults won’t squeeze in without a shoehorn and blue words, though.

The fold-down back seats can expand cargo space from 30.7 cubic feet of cargo to 60.1 cubes, and the load floor’s not too high.

The Sportage has a nicely finished interior, but either engine can sound strained when pushed near the redline.

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8

2022 Kia Sportage

Safety

Crash-test scores are good, with the right lights.

How safe is the Kia Sportage?

It’s safe, but to drive a Top Safety Pick-rated model, you’ll have to buy the SX Turbo. It comes with LED headlights rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, along with great crash-test scores; other versions have “Poor” headlights that don’t qualify for the honor.

The NHTSA gives the Sportage five stars overall, but a four-star rating for front-impact and rollover protection.

Every Sportage has automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control come with higher trim levels. All said, it’s an 8 here.

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9

2022 Kia Sportage

Features

The Sportage has a better warranty and smarter infotainment than many luxury cars.

The Sportage doesn’t try to elbow bigger crossovers aside. It runs around them with an excellent warranty, lots of standard features, a great infotainment system—and in non-turbo versions, good value. That’s a 9 for us.

Which Kia Sportage should I buy?

The $25,265 Sportage LX nearly does it all, with its standard power features, cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, and 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We’d keep it simple, but a Value Edition package adds 18-inch gray wheels, pushbutton 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, but not much more. The Sportage EX may be worth the price to some; for $29,565 it adds heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, 18-inch wheels, keyless start, and dual-zone climate control—and for 2022, a standard panoramic sunroof. With options it can gain premium audio, navigation, a power front passenger seat, leather upholstery, and wireless smartphone charging

How much is a fully loaded Kia Sportage?

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.

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4

2022 Kia Sportage

Fuel Economy

Sportage fuel economy isn’t great.

Is the Kia Sportage good on gas?

It’s lackluster, given its size. At its best, the 2022 Sportage earns EPA ratings of 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined. The base front-drive model’s scores fall to 22/26/23 mpg when all-wheel drive is ordered. That gets a 4 here.

The turbocharged Sportage SX fares worse. Front-drive models check in at 20/28/23 mpg, and 19/24/21 mpg with all-wheel drive—ratings almost identical to the big Telluride SUV across the showroom floor.

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$24,090
MSRP based on LX FWD
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6.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy 4
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2022 Kia Sportage Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Kia Sportage available; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $189 per month for 36 months
  • Rebate: Up to $750 customer cash
  • Finance: From 0.9% APR for 60 months
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