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2018 Kia Sportage Review

The 2018 Kia Sportage earns a good predicted reliability rating, and it boasts a handsome, roomy cabin and a gentle ride. This Kia edges into the top third of the compact SUV class, despite its tiny cargo hold and lackluster acceleration.

Pros & Cons

  • Premium interior
  • Two rows of spacious seats
  • Agile handling and smooth ride
  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Unimpressive engines
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Smaller cargo hold than rivals

Rankings & Awards

The 2018 Kia Sportage's #4 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Compact SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2018 Best New Cars for Teens award. Currently the Kia Sportage has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 24 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Kia Sportage Overview

Is the 2018 Kia Sportage a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2018 Kia Sportage is a great used SUV. In fact, we named it one of our 2018 Best New SUV for Teens for its combination of overall quality, predicted reliability, high safety ratings, and accident-avoidance technologies. However, this compact SUV isn’t without its faults.

The 2018 Sportage has several strengths:

  • More back-seat headroom and legroom than most rivals
  • High-quality interior materials
  • Quiet, stylish cabin
  • Balanced ride
  • Good projected reliability rating
  • Low average list price for the class

It also has a few weaknesses:

  • Both the standard and available engines provide weak acceleration
  • Subpar fuel economy for the class
  • One of the smallest cargo capacities in the segment
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Kia Sportage review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 24 sources and combined them with concrete data such as fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Kia Sportage?

There are about 660 listings for the 2018 Kia Sportage on our site, with an average list price of $18,000. That’s one of the lowest average list prices in the class. Prices range from $14,900 to $25,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Kia Sportage Cost to Own?

The 2018 Sportage’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $23,160, or about $4,630 per year. That’s about average for a compact SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sportage?

The new 2019 Kia Sportage starts at $23,750, and in many ways, it's a step back from the 2018 model. Kia removed features such as heated rear seats for 2019. The base LX trim also lost some available features. A used 2018 Sportage may come with these features and cost you less than a new model without them.

Read about the new Kia Sportage »

The 2018 Kia Sportage is part of a generation that started with the 2017 model. Aside from some shuffling of feature availabilities, the 2018 Sportage didn’t change much from the previous model year. We recommend the 2017 model, which was fully redesigned, gaining a standard 5-inch touch screen and rearview camera, as well as updated styling and more room for passengers and cargo.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sportage »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Kia Sportage?

The 2018 Kia Sportage has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Sportage reliability »

2018 Kia Sportage Recalls

At the time of this writing, one recall has been issued for the 2018 Kia Sportage:

  • High pressure fuel pipe may leak

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Kia Sportage safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Sportage Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Kia Sportage comes in three trim levels: LX, EX, and SX Turbo. The base Kia Sportage LX trim has enough features to satisfy your basic tech needs, but the Kia Sportage EX trim is a better value, adding many more comfort, safety, and convenience features. That said, if you choose the LX or EX trims you’re stuck with the underpowered four-cylinder base engine. The stronger turbo-four is exclusive to the SX Turbo trim, though its acceleration is still sluggish. The Sportage SX Turbo trim also gets you a larger touch screen with navigation and several more driver assist features.

  • Kia Sportage LX: The Kia Sportage LX base model comes with a four-cylinder engine, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, six speakers, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port.  
  • Kia Sportage EX: The midrange Sportage EX adds genuine leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.
  • Kia Sportage SX Turbo: The range-topping SX Turbo comes with the 240-horsepower turbocharged engine, a panoramic sunroof, a hands-free power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Harman Kardon audio system, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and the upgraded UVO system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation.

See 2018 Kia Sportage trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty as well as a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Sportage?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2018 Sportage a Top Safety Pick and gave it the highest rating of Good in six crash tests. The headlights in most trims received the lowest rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead, although some models earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable. Properly equipped Sportage models earned the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Sportage an overall rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane departure warning
  • lane change assist
  • automatic pre-collision braking
  • automatic high beams
  • front and rear parking sensors

See Sportage safety scores »

2018 Kia Sportage Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Sportage or 2018 Mazda CX-5?

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Sportage are both good picks, but the Mazda is a better one. The main reason to pick the Kia is for its easier-to-use infotainment system, which is available with features you can’t get in the Mazda, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. However, the CX-5’s engaging handling gives it the edge in this comparison. The CX-5 is a joy to drive, with crisp steering and strong brakes, and it maintains a cushioned ride on most road surfaces. The Mazda also feels more energetic than the Kia, and it's better on gas to boot.

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Sportage or 2018 Honda CR-V?

If you need cargo space more than you do technology, take a look at the 2018 Honda CR-V. Its 75.8-cubic-foot cargo hold is one of the largest in the class, outsizing the Sportage’s cargo capacity by more than 15 cubic feet. Both vehicles provide handsome cabins and good ride quality. The Kia has more standard and available features and a better predicted reliability rating, but the CR-V has lower select ownership costs and higher safety scores. Go with the SUV that best matches your needs.

Compare the Sportage, CX-5, and CR-V »

2018 Sportage Performance

How Does the 2018 Kia Sportage Drive?

The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 181 horsepower. It generates sufficient power around town but lacks the acceleration needed for confident highway passing. A 240-horsepower (237 horsepower in all-wheel-drive models) turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available. However, the Sportage feels lethargic even with the more-potent engine under the hood. The Sportage’s suspension absorbs bumps well, so its ride is comfortable. Steering is sharp, brakes are sturdy, and the SUV maintains composure around corners. Still, this Kia isn’t quite as fun to drive as a few other compact SUVs.

  • Base engine: 181-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Kia Sportage Get Good Gas Mileage?

With the base engine, the Kia Sportage’s fuel economy estimates are below average for the class. Fuel numbers decline in models with the available turbocharged engine or AWD.

  • 2.4-liter, FWD: 22/29 mpg city/highway
  • 2.0-liter, FWD: 21/26 mpg
  • 2.4-liter, AWD: 21/25 mpg
  • 2.0-liter, AWD: 20/23 mpg
2018 Kia Sportage Towing Capacity

The Sportage can tow up to 2,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about Sportage performance »

2018 Sportage Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Sportage Seat?

The 2018 Sportage seats five people in two rows. Up front, the seats are comfortable, and visibility is good from the driver’s seat. The back row is exceptionally roomy for the class, providing ample headroom and legroom, even for tall passengers. There’s also a bonus feature that few rivals offer: reclining back seats. The Sportage’s quiet cabin is all-around lovely. Kia built the interior with upmarket materials instead of the class’ typical hard plastics.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • genuine leather seats
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • heated front seats
  • ventilated front seats
  • heated rear seats
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Kia Sportage?

The 2018 Sportage has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated this system Acceptable for its ease of use.

2018 Kia Sportage Features

The Sportage comes with an impressive number of features for the class. Smartphone users will appreciate features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both the standard and upgraded infotainment systems are user-friendly, with quick responses to inputs and straightforward menus. The dashboard also contains physical controls for some audio and climate functions.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, six speakers, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: Kia’s UVO infotainment system, a 7- or 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a USB port, navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system
  • Other standard features: remote keyless entry
  • Other available features: heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key, push-button start, and cruise control

See 2018 Kia Sportage specs »

Read more about Sportage interior »

2018 Kia Sportage Dimensions

Kia Sportage Cargo Space

The Kia Sportage doesn’t have much cargo space for a compact SUV. With the rear seats up, it has 30.7 cubic feet of space. Fold them, and there’s 60.1 cubic feet of room. Despite the limited space, the fold-flat rear seats make it easy to load bulky cargo, and you can stash items in a small space beneath the cargo floor.

A hands-free liftgate is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Kia Sportage Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 7 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,305 pounds to 3,997 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Kia Sportage Built?

Kia built the Sportage in South Korea.

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Sportage Shoppers Should Also Consider...

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Ford Escape 2018 2018 Ford Escape

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Honda CR-V 2018 2018 Honda CR-V

#4 in 2018 Affordable Compact SUVs

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