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2021 Kia Sportage Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2021 Kia Sportage?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James MurdochNorman Ruckpaul

Are You Considering a 2021 Kia Sportage? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

With the latest standard tech packed into the 2021 Venue, you'll always stay connected and safe on your journeys. The eight-inch touchscreen makes accessing real-time information a breeze, as well as giving compatibility with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto for cell phone integration conveniently done in one spot. Plus it's so user friendly that no matter how technologically savvy you are - getting up to speed is easier than ever.

What's New for 2021?

Kia continues to impress with its newest 2021 edition models. This year they tweaked their design even further by removing the S Sunroof and Premium packages, while introducing two new options-the Nightfall Edition and Nightfall Edition Premium. Both of these exciting additions are only available for Kia's mid range model - the S trim!

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2021 Kia Sportage – The Pros

1. Spacious Seating in Both Rows

Do not let the compact label fool you, the Kia Sportage is designed so that people in both rows of seating have enough space. Models without the available moonroof offer nearly 40-inches of headroom in both the front and back. Throw in 41.5-inches of front legroom and just over 38-inches of rear legroom and you can see how everyone can get comfortable in the 2021 Sportage. Just be aware that if you do want the sunroof, you will lose about two inches of headroom for both rows.

2. Strong Emphasis on Safety

The 2021 Sportage has received five out of five stars in crash testing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Kia gives the family-oriented SUV standard driver aids such as forward collision mitigation with both automatic braking and pedestrian detection. It also has automatic high beams, a driver attention monitor, and lane departure warning to help keep you safe. Upper trim levels get even fancier, adding things like front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.

3. Quiet Ride at Highway Speeds

Thanks to the design of the Sportage, very little road or wind noise manages to leak into the cabin. This is true while zipping around town or getting up to highway speeds. Sound-absorbing windshield glass, which is standard on all models, plays a big part in this. Both solar control glass and privacy glass are standard as well, helping the Sportage feel like a safe and comfortable place to relax.

4. Sporty and Stylish Exterior

Kia says that the shape and style of the Sportage were designed to mimic a fighter jet. This is evident when you consider the sharp edges along with the smooth surfaces. All models sit on alloy wheels, with lower trims going with 17-inches while upper trims jump up to 19-inches. There are eight different paint options to choose from. Sparkling Silver, Hyper Red, Black Cherry, and Burnished Copper are just some examples of the exciting choices.

5. Well-Equipped Entry-Level LX

The Sportage built its reputation on being affordable. Over the years, it has gotten more sophisticated while still maintaining the value, particularly with its lower trims. Stick with the base model in 2021 and you will get an 8-inch touchscreen, USB port, Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. It also has handy features like a dual-level cargo floor and driver-selectable modes. The cabin uses sophisticated materials to give the Sportage an upscale appearance. Plus, it has plenty of high-tech driver assistance features, making it a strong choice overall.

6. Available with Turbocharged Power

Those seeking some extra oomph in the Sportage should look no further than its turbocharged 2.0L engine. With 240 horses and 237 lb-ft of torque, you'll have plenty of power for exhilarating rides with a sport-tuned suspension to match. If that's not enough, the base model still has respectable 181 Horses under the hood.

7. Smooth and Satisfying Ride

Vehicles are usually either comfortable or sporty when it comes to their ride and handling. The Sportage is an SUV that manages to strike a balance between the two better than most. Thanks to its body design, the minor bumps on the road are typically not felt inside the cabin. For the driver, the 2021 Sportage offers an engaging drive and responsive steering. In short, this is an SUV that is pleasant to be inside, no matter where you are sitting.

8. Hard-to-Beat Warranty

Kia offers superior peace of mind with its comprehensive warranty plan. The Sportage is covered under a basic limited warranty for up to 5-years or 60,000 miles and an extended powertrain coverage lasting 10 years or 100,000 miles. To provide added security on the road ahead, you'll also receive roadside assistance protection that lasts 5-years or 60,000 miles - all from one convenient package.

9. Nightfall Edition Packages Available

New for 2021 are two packages that tweak the outer appearance of the Sportage S. Both the Nightfall Edition and Nightfall Edition Premium add things like black satin window surrounds and a gloss black radiator grille. There are many other black exterior accents to be found, like skid plates, bumper trims, and side sills. Of course, there are also many black Night Edition badges so that everyone knows exactly what they are looking at. Going with the Premium package will also give the S trim some luxury features usually reserved for the EX model. Either option is sure to turn heads with its sleek look.

10. Luxury Features Available on Higher Trims

Although the Sportage is known as being affordable, it also offers upscale features on its higher trim levels. You can get things like heated and ventilated front seats, for example. Other things found on the top trim include an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener, wireless charging, and genuine leather upholstery. Also available are sporty features such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel and stainless steel pedals.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2021 Kia Sportage – The Cons

1. Low on Cargo Space

With the back seats up, there are just over 30 cubic feet of space in the cargo area. The maximum capacity is just over 60 cubic feet. While these numbers may not sound that bad, they are lower than most of the competition. It is clear that Kia prioritized space for passengers over space for your gear. Still, the Sportage has things like an adjustable-height cargo floor and fold-flat seats to help make up for this shortcoming. You can also get a power liftgate to make things even easier.

2. Fuel Economy Numbers Don't Wow

Sticking with front-wheel drive and the base engine will have the Sportage getting 23mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway. These are the best numbers for any combination of drivetrains and engines and are frankly not great. Many rivals do better, which may be a good enough reason to pass of the 2021 Sportage. Going with the turbo engine and all-wheel drive will mean getting only 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

3. The Base Engine is Blah

The standard engine for the Sportage is best described as adequate. It gets the SUV going, but not quickly. The sluggish acceleration with this engine is frustrating. Further adding to this frustration is the fact that it is the only available engine for three out of the four trim levels.

4. Poor Forward Visibility

In an effort to make the Sportage stand out, Kia places the standard 8-inch touchscreen in the dash rather than on up on top of it. While this certainly looks cool, it means the dashboard is higher than it really needs to be, which negatively impacts your view when behind the driver's seat.

5. Questionable Off-Road Ability

For some time now, many SUVs have prioritized comfort and technology over things like actual sportiness. Still, there is an expectation that an SUV can handle itself off-road. Although it does offer all-wheel drive, the Sportage just does not have the ability to handle much more than broken pavement. This does not detract at all from its ability to be a great family vehicle. It may, however, deter some of the more adventurous shoppers out there, especially considering how capable some of the Sportage's rivals truly are.

How it Stacks Up to the Competition:


2021 Kia Sportage vs 2021 Hyundai Tucson

These two SUVs are pretty similar in many ways. The Tucson shares the lack of cargo space problem with the Tucson. Still, it is a feature-packed SUV option with a lot of appeal. Buyers will want to keep in mind that the standard engine for the Sportage produces the same amount of horsepower as the turbo option for the Tucson. That means that while the Tucson tops out at 181, the Sportage can go to 240. The Sportage is also more fun to drive, further helping it to come on out on top in the matchup.

2021 Kia Sportage vs 2021 Honda CR-V

If you're shopping for a compact SUV, the 2021 Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V are two excellent options. The CR-V offers more cargo space as well extended efficiency but falls short with power compared to the Sportage's powerful engine option. Plus, you'll get access to an array of features when opting for a Sportage that doesn't come standard in other SUVs - not to mention its lower starting price point than the competition.

Final Thoughts

The 2021 Kia Sportage offers a generous features list and two decent engines, making it an ideal choice for drivers looking to transport their family safely. However, its low fuel economy ratings may make lengthy road trips costlier than desired – plus the cargo area is on the small side. Off-road capabilities are also limited in comparison with other SUVs of similar size. With no full redesign since 2017, perhaps this upcoming year will present an opportunity for Kia to give their popular SUV some much needed upgrades that include more spacious storage capacity as well as improved off-roading power and better efficiency at the pump.

Used 2021 Kia Sportage:
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