The Kia Sportage is usually an alternative choice for a compact crossover SUV. The previous versions are not well-rounded as the more popular crossover, but its cheaper price, plenty of standard features, and long warranty attract many buyers attention. The value-oriented attributes still exist, but the 2018 Kia Sportage, which was fully designed last year, is upgraded to the point that it deserves to become one of the SUVs you consider first without looking at the price tag.
This is a more refined and comfortable vehicle than the previous version. The ride quality is very comfortable, even with bigger wheels, the cabin remains nice and quiet on the highway. Interior quality is also better and looks good than most competitors. Its own advantages include spacious rear seats and large doors that make it easy to get in and out.
If the utility is your main focus, the Sportage may not be the right choice. And the Sportage fuel economy is also disappointing compared to its rival SUV. But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the Sportage. Even the base trim is well equipped, and unlike some competitors, you do not have to choose a higher trim to get the desired features such as advanced safety tech and Apple or Android smartphones integration. So, the 2018 Kia Sportage is as good as a value-packed alternative as ever, but now it’s also good enough to be at the top of the class.
Trim Levels and Features
The 2018 Kia Sportage is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV that available in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX Turbo.
Standard features for the base LX includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a height-adjustable driver seat, driver-selectable driving modes, a 60/40-split folding and reclining back seat, Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and one USB port.
The LX optional Popular package adds a windshield wiper de-icer, UV-reducing glass for the front windows and windshield, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar, Kia 7-inch Uvo touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Kia eServices remote and emergency services.
The 2018 Kia Sportage EX includes all of the above items along with keyless ignition and entry, 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, foglights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, upgraded exterior and interior trim, and a rear USB charging port.
The EX Premium package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a panoramic sunroof, and a heated steering wheel. The Sport Appearance package adds special exterior trim, LED foglights and a flat-bottom steering wheel.
The LX Technology package adds automatic high-beam control, lane departure warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, power-folding mirrors, forward collision warning and automatic braking. The EX Technology package includes those items plus a spare tire, front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The all-wheel-drive Sportages with this package includes heated rear seats.
The 2018 Kia Sportage SX gets the EX Technology and Premium packages contents plus special exterior trim, 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED foglights, xenon headlights, an electronic parking brake, the flat-bottom steering wheel and a larger gauge display.
The 2018 Kia Sportage LX and EX are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The Sportage SX model gets a stronger turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come standard with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, with all-wheel drive available as an option.
EPA fuel economy for the Sportage LX returns 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) with front-wheel drive and 22 mpg combined (21 city/25 highway) with all-wheel drive. The Sportage EX estimates at 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) with FWD and 23 mpg combined (21 city/25 highway) with AWD. The SX drops to 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway) with FWD and 21 mpg combined (20/23) with AWD.
In performance testing, the 2018 Kia Sportage EX AWD accelerates from zero to 60 mph takes 8.6 seconds. The SX reach 60 mph in quick 6.7 seconds, while the AWD-equipped model in 6.8 seconds.
Although these numbers are better than the previous Sportage, they’re still unimpressive for a small crossover with a four-cylinder engine. Many competitors, especially with AWD, are typically better.
Inside, the 2018 Kia Sportage boasted an impressively executed interior. The dashboard has a substantial upscale look and filled with a wide central control layout that directs to the driver, giving the cockpit a sporty character. Material quality is very competitive in its class. The LX base model is somewhat less equipped by today’s standards, but it gives you most of what you need, including a small touchscreen, Bluetooth and USB port. The higher trim can be equipped with a high-resolution 8-inch touchscreen that features fast response time and sharp graphics. But the LX is qualified for an upgrade to the EX standard 7-inch Uvo touchscreen interface that can be integrated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2018 Kia Sportage passenger space and comfort is outstanding for this class. And as expected from a crossover, the driver and front passenger have plenty of headroom and legroom, and the available power seats include bottom cushions that tilt independently for additional customization. The rear passengers are also just as good, with the 6-footer in the driver’s seat, the other 6-footers can sit in the back without problems, and will enjoy a plenty of thigh support. This level of accommodation is usually found in midsize crossovers, a surprise on the compact Sportage.
With all the space devoted to making the rear passengers comfortable, the 2018 Kia Sportage does not provide many cargo areas. There are a 30.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which trailed the class leader about 4-6 cubes, while folding flat the seatbacks opened a modest 60.1 cubic feet. However, there is still a lot of hauling ability, so it’s good to look at dealers to see if you really need more.
Release Date and Price
Official price for the base LX trim starting at $23,600 (including $895 destination charges) for FWD model and $25,100 for AWD models. The Sportage EX starts at $26,400 for front-drive and $27,900 for all-wheel drive. The SX turbo starts at $32,900 (FWD) and $34,400 (AWD).