2018 Kia Sportage Review

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride quality
  • Spacious seating front and rear
  • Attractive dashboard layout with many appealing features
  • Quiet interior at highway speeds
  • Fuel economy isn't as good as some top rivals
  • Relatively modest cargo capacity
List Price Range
$13,905 - $25,868

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Which Sportage does Edmunds recommend?

Going with the 2018 Kia Sportage LX will get you a respectable number of features for an affordable price. Also consider getting the Popular and Technology packages, which add some useful and desirable extras, including an upgraded touchscreen interface and accident avoidance tech.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.0 / 10

The Kia Sportage has typically been an "alternative" choice for a compact crossover SUV. Prior versions weren't as well-rounded as other, more popular crossovers, but a lower price, plentiful standard features and lengthy warranty helped get people into the driver's seat. Well, those value-oriented attributes are still present, but the 2018 Kia Sportage, coming off last year's full redesign, is improved to the point that it deserves to be among those SUVs you consider first rather than the one you settle on after looking at the price tag.

For starters, it's a more refined and comfortable vehicle than previous versions. Its ride quality is impressively comfortable, even with bigger wheels, and its cabin stays nice and quiet on the highway. Interior quality is also better than most, and it looks good, too. Other advantages include a big back seat and large doors that make it easy to get in and out.

If you are looking for lots of utility, the Sportage probably isn't the right choice. You get 30.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seatbacks, which trails class leaders by about 4 to 6 cubic feet, while folding down those seatbacks opens up a similarly modest 60.1 cubic feet. The Sportage's fuel economy is also disappointing compared to rival SUVs.

Still, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get an appealing Sportage. Even the base trim level is well equipped, and unlike some rivals, you don't have to step up to an upper trim to get desirable things such as advanced safety tech and Apple or Android smartphone control. So, yes, the Sportage is just as much of a value-packed alternative as always, but it's also good enough now to be in the big leagues. 

2018 Kia Sportage models

The 2018 Kia Sportage is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in LX, EX and SX Turbo trim levels. Front-wheel drive is standard on all of them, but all-wheel drive is an option. The LX and EX have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The SX Turbo has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 hp (237 hp with all-wheel drive) and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Standard equipment on the LX includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, driver-selectable driving modes, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding and reclining back seat, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, a CD player and one USB port. The LX's Popular package adds roof rails, UV-reducing glass for the front windows and windshield, a windshield wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), heated front seats, and Kia's 7-inch Uvo touchscreen interface that includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Kia's eServices remote and emergency services.

The EX includes all of the above items plus 18-inch wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, upgraded exterior and interior trim, keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery and a rear USB charging port. The EX's Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Sport Appearance package adds LED foglights, special exterior trim and a flat-bottom steering wheel. It is not available with the Premium or Technology (see below) packages.

The LX Technology package adds forward collision warning and automatic braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam control and power-folding mirrors. The EX Technology package adds those items plus a hands-free liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, a spare tire, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. This package includes heated rear seats with all-wheel-drive Sportages.

The SX gets a more powerful engine plus a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED foglights, an electronic parking brake, special exterior trim, the flat-bottom steering wheel, a larger gauge display, and the contents of the EX Technology and Premium packages.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Kia Sportage EX (2.4L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).


The base 2.4-liter engine yields adequate but unremarkable acceleration. The pricier SX's turbo engine is punchier, though not to the degree promised by its higher than average horsepower output. True to the Sportage name, handling is a strong point as is braking. A solid performer overall.


The EX feels sprightly at first, but its energy wanes at higher speeds. Zero to 60 mph takes 8.8 seconds, which is average for the class. The turbo SX has more punch, but it lacks the emphatic passing power we expect from an optional engine.


You get predictable and consistent pedal responses in normal driving. In our emergency braking test, the EX stopped from 60 mph in 117 feet, a short distance for this segment.


The Sportage responds quickly to inputs, and the effort required to turn the wheel is appropriate for a vehicle in this class. It tracks confidently on the highway, and the steering wheel itself feels thoughtfully designed and sporty.


Kia's goal is to add a splash of driving excitement to all of its vehicles, and that's roughly what the Sportage delivers. Although the Mazda CX-5 is even better in this respect, the Sportage does feel composed and nimble around corners.


We like the six-speed automatic transmission. It shifts smoothly and predictably, although the lack of torque in the EX requires more downshifting compared to the more powerful SX.


The AWD Sportage can handle a typical dirt road, but there's not enough ground clearance to make this vehicle a serious contender off-road. The AWD system has a 50/50-split locking center differential at least.


This is an area where the Sportage excels. The ride is compliant on rough pavement, and the seats provide firm, long-lasting support. Wind noise and road noise are remarkably well-suppressed, further distinguishing this Kia from many similarly priced crossovers.

Seat comfort

The Sportage's seats are firm yet welcoming, with an agreeable shape for long journeys and a position that delivers a commanding view. Power adjustments for the driver are standard on EX, while a power passenger seat is optional, as are cooled front seats.

Ride comfort

Ride comfort is class-competitive, even with the larger 18-inch wheels and tires.

Noise & vibration

The lack of typical road and wind noise is apparent in the Sportage's cabin. On concrete freeways, the outside world seems unusually far away. It gives the Sportage an upscale character at speed, a rare thing in this price range.


The Sportage's well-appointed interior is above average by segment standards. The front cabin features a sporty dashboard with intuitive controls, and the rear has an unexpected abundance of legroom for a small crossover. The compromise is limited cargo capacity.

Ease of use

Kia's touchscreens (there are multiple sizes) feature sharp graphics and quick responses. Major controls are clearly labeled and easy to use. The center stack tilts toward the driver, putting more controls within close reach.

Getting in/getting out

The tall front doors open wide for easy entry. The rear doors are enormous, facilitating entry and exit. There's no issue with head clearance despite low rear roofline. Feet slide easily underneath the front seats.


No shortage of head- or legroom up front. Surprisingly, the same is true in back — two 6-footers fit without issue. The back seat is remarkably roomy for a compact crossover, and the seat itself is mounted high for good thigh support.


The side windows are large enough to keep track of nearby traffic, and the sizable side-view mirrors also help. The standard rearview camera can be paired with parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning.


Materials quality has improved in the latest Sportage and now ranks among the segment's best thanks to low-gloss plastics and soft-touch surfaces. We noted no squeaks or rattles, though the driver's foot rest came loose in daily use.


The Sportage falls short in terms of overall utility due to a cabin that puts its priority on passenger space rather than cargo space. The cargo area is pretty small. But small-item storage is good, and towing capacity is a bit better than that of class best-sellers.

Small-item storage

There are plenty of storage bins, including deep door pockets and a variety of center-console spaces. The cupholders are big and useful. The Sportage offers good utility without looking utilitarian.

Cargo space

This is an SUV that puts its emphasis on space for passengers rather than for their stuff. The cargo area is still fairly useful, but there's significantly less cargo capacity in the Sportage compared to other compact SUVs.


The Sportage's 2,000-pound towing capacity is above-average for the class. However, trailer brakes are required to handle the full 2,000 pounds. Otherwise, the limit is 1,650 pounds.


Kia's touchscreen interfaces are refreshingly easy to use, with the larger two featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All trim levels can be equipped with accident avoidance tech.


Overall7.0 / 10

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Kia Sportage.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Sportin' a Premium Sportage (1yr update)
The Ted,03/02/2018
SX 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
We've put nearly 25,000 miles on the car since its purchase in January 2018. The car still feels solid and is still squeak and rattle free. Fuel economy is averaging 3-4 mpg above the EPA combined rating. Turbo engine is legitimately happy with regular gas. Car has been very reliable. The only times the car has seen a mechanic is for scheduled maintenance. EDMUNDS editors say the optional engine "lacks punch" in their reviews. An AWD vehicle of this ilk, doing 0-60 in less than 7 seconds makes the Sportage SX among the fastest compact SUV's available. Also, its mid-range acceleration times that are posted in Car and Driver and other magazines are at or very near the top of its class. (Original review that follows still stands up) Purchased a pacific blue/beige interior AWD SX, a bit over a month ago, after shopping for a replacement for my wife's 180,000 mile 2007 Mitsu Endeavor SE AWD. We checked out/test drove the Mazda CX5 GT, Subaru Outback Limited 2.5, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rouge before making a decision to buy the KIA. We didn't test drive the Honda CR-V or a Chevy Equinox/GMC Terrain because she wasn't fond of their appearance (the CRV exterior looks low rent with all the plastic looking chrome stuck all over it). There were multiple things that sold us on the KIA over the others. The first of which was the premium, well designed interior that has more than enough room for us empty nesters. The interior quality and materials are better than any new Buick. There's enough room for a 6 foot + passenger to sit behind 6'1' me with any front seat position compromises. The second thing is how the KIA performs and feels. I feels solid like it is made out of one hunk of metal. No flexing or squeaking over bumps. It rides like a good German car. There's no float, it feels planted and its seriously quiet. KIA has come a very long way over the last 5 or 6 years. Acceleration to 60mph is sub-seven seconds and engine has very good low to mid-range torque. The last thing of note that sold us on the Sportage is its unique looks. It has a good stance and the satin finished and gloss black highlights compliments its shape nicely.I also own a 2012 KIA Forte5 SX which is my work commuter. It's been very reliable over the 75,00 miles I've driven it. Just normal maintenance and tires. But the difference between it and the Sportage fit and finish and build quality wise is nuts. There are couple things its missing that would of put the second cherry on the sundae. It lacks memory seat and mirrors. Also the front seat bottoms could use a bit more length for a little more thigh support.
Luxury in a Spunky mid range SUV.
SX 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I've shopped for an SUV since 2016 (in prep for my move to snow country). I was set on the Subaru Forrester originally so why did I buy the KIA? In a nutshell... Comfort, warranty & pricing. I drove the Sportage LX AWD 1st, then the Forrester. Compared to the Sportage, the Forrester felt like a sturdy work horse (acceleration was better but road noise, comfort & sound system were so-so). Acceleration was important but Subaru would not budge on the 38K sticker price so I went back to KIA and drove the Sportage SX Turbo GDI AWD. The zippy Turbo, Luxurious interior, sound system and low road noise made it a slam dunk. I felt so pampered. I drive a lot on rural roads so acceleration (for passing) is a MUST and the SX gets 5 stars. For an SUV, it has a tight turning radius, low road noise, Car Play Hands Free and a wonderful sound system. The only things that do not surpass the Forrester are the mileage and visibility. (the Subaru made me feel a little exposed and vulnerable with all that glass tho). This SUV really feels like a luxury car. It has 3 drive modes (ECO, sport and normal). I've only used sport mode for the snow so far so cannot rate the 4 wheel drive lock feature. Speaking of the 4 wheel lock, it should be on the dash, not on the console. I've set my purse on it and accidentally turned it on twice. I'd like the front windows of the KIA to be higher at the curve because I hit my head a couple times when I got in (my legs are short and I like to sit high so I have the seat lifted to its max and almost all the way forward). My brother, however, is a large 6'2" and had no problem when he adjusted the seat down and back. His wife commented that the back seat is a lot more comfortable than her brother's Honda CRV. When I can keep my foot out of it, I can get descent mileage but most of my road trips have mountains and rural roads so not the optimum conditions for maximizing the MPG (28 is the best, 23 worst). The car MPG gauge is pretty close to the calculated mileage if you zero it between fill-ups. The stirring wheel controls are very driver friendly and intuitive. (trip instrumentation, cruise controls, hands free etc) but I am not crazy about the Navigation system. The graphics and screen size are awesome and the route guidance accurate but controls are not at all intuitive. The Nav system also only lets you save 10 favorites. The backup camera shows the vehicle angle in red plus where you will go (in yellow) if you do not adjust. I learn a little more each trip but may have to resort to reading the Nav system & Multi Media manuals to get the full benefit. I've only had this car a month so I really can't rate reliability but I have put 2500 on the odometer in road trips and this car is great to drive. I highly recommend the Sportage SX Turbo GDI AWD. Updated at 7 months Updated at 9 months: I've driven this car for almost 8000 miles & I still love it. I upgraded the safety to 5 stars because visibility was just a matter of adjusting from a small car and using the mirrors. After going through a very hot summer I upgraded climate control to 5 stars. Cooling a large space like the Sportage interior quickly is a big deal. The air conditioning kicks hinny in this high desert summer. I have an older (2002) everyday bump around car but always drive the Sportage on the hot days. The car still feels like luxury, and still has a new car smell. I kept the interior to 4 stars because there are some things that really bug me. 1) I metioned in the inital review, that the 4-wheel Lock being on the console is a design flaw and I stick to that. No matter how careful I am I still set something on the lock 3.) The hidden key hole and only one external key lock. I needed to unlock the door manually once and my key did not work. At least I thought it didn't. Even the tow truck driver did not know that the little slot on the underside of the drivers door handle is not for the key but a button that pops off a cap over the actual lock. That adds absolutely nothing to the attractiveness of the car and is confusing even to the service department in most shops. It serves no purpose. Positives are still positive: The lumbar/seat comfort are outstanding. I am still happy I bought the KIA over the Subaru and highly recommend this SUV. I love it more than when I bought it. Everyone who gets into my Kia has a comment on the luxury and comfort. My son just bought a GMC Arcadia and we compared the interior. The KIA seats are a lot more comfortable, and has more back seat leg room with the cargo spaces being about the same. His highway mileage is lower than mine. Best mileage on my KIA has improved. I've gotten as high as 29.5 hwy by closely watching and using the mileage monitor, with no cruise control. The hwy avg mpg is 28, around town about 24. I still feel the trade off for the speed and luxury of this vehicle are well worth the lower mpg.
A surprising 5 star car, with some caveats
SX 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
PROS: Truly a good looking and unique looking SUV in a field of station wagon looking models. Great features including a very well laid out and intuitive control system. For example, turning on the rear wipers initiates a status change on the dash info area letting you know the wiper change. Parking assist beeping uses the stereo system so you know where the obstruction is without even looking. Every feature (almost) is customizable, if you don't want the auto liftgate, for example. A very fun car to drive, which is a hard to put on paper feature. Also an easy to follow feature and model set, compared to say the RAV4 which has (if you can believe) 10 different models that cannot even all fit on a screen to tell which is which. The visibility is astounding and the sunroof is almost like a convertible. And on the Turbo model the power is unreal, almost feels too fast for an SUV, but again fun to drive. CONS: The biggest con is the MPG, which is truly crap. However, even the much heralded Subaru Forester is just 5MPG higher than the Kia which translates to about $200/year. Not nothing but not worth paying thousands more for the Subaru. The reality is that car companies should not be crowing about 5MPG here and there, most SUVs get crap MPG. In 2018 MPG should all be in the 30s or 40s and not crowing about tiny differences in MPG. OTHER: I am a bit confused about the features that are available worldwide that are not standard throughout. Such as heated front windshield, heated rear seats, wireless charger, auto parking assist (SPAS system), etc depend not on what you spend but where you live....seems odd. Storage is an odd thing to complain about in this SUV because it is one of the smallest SUVs in it's class. It of course won't store more than a car that is a foot longer, but it's also going to be easier to maneuver. Kia also included a unique "Auto Hold" feature that keeps the brake applied when at stop lights to avoid foot fatigue or accidental rear endings...but oddly you have to turn it on manually every time you start the car. So there are quirks but they are minor in a sea of great. NOTE: I have only owned the SUV for a few weeks so I can't comment on the reliability but I will if something noteworthy occurs.
Don't overlook this one...
LX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
If you're looking for a compact SUV then you'd be making a huge mistake to overlook the Kia Sportage. I had just moved and had a little bit more of a commute so I wanted something more comfortable than my Ranger, with better gas mileage. When I started looking, what drew me in was the warranty and, as I looked more, the good reviews got me to test drive one. I think the exterior can be somewhat polarizing but I like the look and I like the choice in colors besides black, blue, silver, white, and red. Mine is copper and I think it looks great, and different from other cars on the road. What really sold me on this SUV was the interior. The quality, feel, fit and finish of the interior is outstanding. It feels like a much more expensive vehicle than any sub $25k SUV has the right to be. All the controls are laid out logically and you don't need an instruction manual to figure everything out. You have multiple ways to control things, like the infotainment system. On the base model LX I have a 5 inch touchscreen AM/FM/CD/SAT player with aux input, USB, bluetooth, and rearview camera. I can control the system using the knobs and buttons, the touchscreen, or the steering wheel controls. No cumbersome menus to go through, super simple to use and I think it sounds good. As a plus I plug my iPod into the USB port and can also control it from the steering column. The driver information system is controlled from the steering wheel and allows for a lot of adjustment to suit individual tastes. The heating/AC system is also very easy to use and works well. The LX only comes with single zone climate controls but I don't find that an issue for me. The steering is nicely weighted and the handling is very good. The six speed transmission is good and don't find it hunting for gears. The main complaint that I see in professional reviews of the Sportage is the engine and gas mileage. I think 181hp is more than adequate and I certainly don't have any trouble keeping up with California highway traffic in mine. As for mileage, I commute about 13 miles one way to work on a back country, twisty 2 lane road with about a 1,000 ft elevation change and I average 25-26mpg. I keep my Sportage in Eco mode and I didn't notice any difference in performance and I'm very happy that I can go over 2 weeks without having to fill it up. Also, my Sportage is all wheel drive and I haven't noticed any mileage penalty for that either but I feel that it contributes to the great grip in corners that it has. Another nice feature of the all wheel drive in the ability to lock the center differential which could come in handy this winter. The LX also comes with standard with 17 inch alloy wheels which look great. I would rate brake feel and overall braking as excellent. The doors, both front and rear, have large openings that make entry and egress very nice, even for very tall people. The drivers seat is very comfortable and has manual controls and nice shaping that even fits my large frame well. Manual tilt and telescope steering column also allow the Sportage to adjust to a wide range of bodies. The rear liftgate on the base LX isn't powered but I don't find that an issue. The other major complaint I read about the Sportage was a lack of storage space, which was usually pegged at between 4-6 cubic ft less than it's competitors. This hasn't been an issue for me and I think the storage space is more than ample for my needs and has plenty of tie downs to assist in organizing the space. The base LX also has tinted rear windows and a soft cargo area cover to keep unnecessary eyes from prying. Frankly, combining all these features on a base model LX with no options for less than $25k with Kia's outstanding warranty made this a no brainer for me.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2018 Kia Sportage features & specs


Our experts like the Sportage models:

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
Detects pedestrians and stopped or suddenly slowing vehicles. Warns the driver and automatically brakes if needed.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
Warns the driver if the Sportage drifts out of its lane without the driver using a turn signal.
Blind-Spot Detection System (BSD)
Monitors your blind spots and alerts you to other vehicles through lights in the side mirrors.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover15.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2018 Kia Sportage

Used 2018 Kia Sportage Overview

The Used 2018 Kia Sportage is offered in the following submodels: Sportage SUV. Available styles include LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SX 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and SX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Kia Sportage?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Kia Sportage trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Kia Sportage LX is priced between $13,905 and$22,332 with odometer readings between 14488 and68981 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Kia Sportage EX is priced between $15,987 and$24,992 with odometer readings between 11261 and83388 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Kia Sportage SX is priced between $20,407 and$25,868 with odometer readings between 14040 and50615 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 Kia Sportages are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Kia Sportage for sale near. There are currently 83 used and CPO 2018 Sportages listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,905 and mileage as low as 11261 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Kia Sportage.

Can't find a used 2018 Kia Sportages you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Sportage for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,169.

Find a used Kia for sale - 12 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $25,032.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Sportage for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,960.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 2 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $21,003.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Kia Sportage?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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