$10,477 - $14,861

2013 Kia Sportage Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Kia Sportage was new.


Performance: 7.4

Although its ride isn’t as comfort-tuned as some affordable compact SUVs', reviewers say that sharp handling and an optional turbocharged engine make the 2013 Kia Sportage one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs in the class.

  • "The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine is impressively smooth and quiet for a 4-cylinder, becoming vocal only at lofty engine speeds. The SX's engine is noisier in general, but not enough that it becomes annoying." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2013 Kia Sportage's taut suspension and powerful engine choices put the ‘sport’ in Sport Utility Vehicle." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Truth be told, the Sportage's 176-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine is merely adequate. But this is outweighed by firm suspension tuning that makes for nimble handling." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Sad to say, the marginal performance combined with aggravating ride comfort and handling really knocked it down in the rankings." -- Motor Trend (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2013 Kia Sportage comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 176 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive come standard, while a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are optional. Sportage SX models add the automatic to the list of standard features, as well as a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 260 horsepower. The EPA reports that the 2013 Sportage gets up to 21/30 mpg city/highway, which is fairly good for a compact SUV. Still, rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV Crosstrek use less fuel.

Reviewers agree that the 2013 Sportage provides competent acceleration with the base engine, while the Sportage SX’s additional power makes it one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs on the segment. One test driver also notes that the Sportage’s automatic transmission is smooth and refined.

  • "Sportage LX and EX offer decent acceleration from a stop. Passing power is limited, but the smooth, responsive automatic transmission helps as much as it can by quickly downshifting to a lower gear." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2.4-liter is more than capable in climbing steep hills and handling quick passing maneuvers, but the turbocharged 2.0-liter adds a new level of driving fun." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The turbocharged engine is energetic, though its impressive fuel economy numbers are predicated on your being conservative with the throttle." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Everyone judged its six-speed automatic as the most seamless and responsive." -- Motor Trend (2012)

Handling and Braking

Many reviewers say that the Sportage’s firm suspension system means that it doesn’t ride as comfortably as many rival SUVs. However, test drivers also say that it offers composed handling, which makes it one of the sportier affordable compact SUVs.

  • "The firm suspension feels well controlled, but Sportage doesn't do as good of a job filtering out bumps as many of its class competitors." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The taut suspension delivers predictable response to rapid inputs and quick adjustments and the nicely-weighted steering wheel helps minimize the amount of play in the steering." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Every personality has its character flaws, though. In this case, it's a ride quality that might be too harsh for some people's tastes -- especially in SX form." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "Our testers all complained about suspension and chassis issues, calling the ride harsh yet poorly controlled." -- Motor Trend (2012)

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