Kia Sportage [QL] (2018 - 2020) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive (2023)

Kia Sportage [QL] (2018 - 2020) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive (1)

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Kia Sportage [QL] (2018 - 2020) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive (2)

(Video) Kia Sportage SUV 2020 in-depth review | carwow Reviews

(Video) Kia Sportage SUV 2019 in-depth review - Carbuyer

By Jonathan Crouch


The fourth generation Kia Sportage mid-sized SUV enhanced its offering in this improved post-2018 form, an enhanced version of the MK4 'QL'-series model which sold until 2021. This revised model offered two fresh approaches to diesel power, smarter looks and more sophisticated media connectivity. But the reasons why so many people like this car remained much the same.


5dr SUV (1.6 GDi, 1.6 T-GDi / 1.6 CRDi, 2.0 CRDi, 2.0 CRDi 48V)


How did the Kia Sportage quietly develop from an also-ran to a front runner in the mid-sized SUV segment? By offering more of what people want, that's how. This improved post-2018 version of the brand's fourth generation 'QL'-series model was affordably priced, got an all-new entry-level diesel engine and even delivered mild hybrid diesel technology for the first time. Plus there were smarter looks, more safety kit and extra media connectivity.

The Sportage model line dates back to the launch of the MK 'NB'-series design in 1993, but it wasn't until the launch of the third generation 'SL'-series version in 2010 that buyers really began taking it seriously. More than any other car that Kia has made, that MK3 design was the one most influential in turning around the fortunes of the brand - to the point where by the time of the launch of its fourth generation successor in early 2016, the Sportage was accounting for nearly a third of the brand's total sales volume in this country.

(Video) Kia Sportage SUV 2018 review | Mat Watson Reviews

From launch, this MK4 'QL'-series design's immediate goal was quite simply to be our market's favourite mid-sized SUV. What really helped in this regard was the way that Kia kept prices affordable; the only mainstream rivals that could match the entry-level price of a Sportage when new - not much more than £20,000 - were slightly smaller designs. All of which was crucial at a time when a significant number of buyers were being priced out of the SUV market.

This is something Kia not only recognised, but also put itself in prime position to capitalise on with the much improved version of that fourth generation model, launched in mid 2018 and the car we look at here, which sold until the introduction of the fifth generation 'NQ5'-series model in late 2021.

What You Get

Looks have always been high on the list of reasons why customers have bought themselves a Sportage. Should you be already familiar with this design, you probably won't notice too many changes to this improved version of the MK4 model - unless you're able to stretch to one of the upper-spec variants. If you can do that though, you'll get yourself a car that in this updated form made a little more of a driveway statement, thanks to an evolved version of the brand's familiar 'Tiger nose' grille, which on 'GT-Line' models featured a black 'Blade' mesh finish.

Inside, Kia didn't make too many changes for this update. The design of the ventilation controls was a bit smarter, plus the three-spoke wheel was re-styled and the instruments you viewed through were more clearly designated. It's probably more significant though, to note the improvements made to infotainment provision. A larger 'fameless'-style 8-inch screen now featured with top trim levels, but even on the cheapest variants, a clear, effective improved 7.0-inch screen with 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring was provided as standard.

And in the rear? Well, if you've previously owned or test driven a rival comparably-priced Qashqai or Ateca from this period, you should notice how much extra leg room was freed up by this Kia's slightly lengthier body; it really is significant and was aided by scalloped front seat backs. Headroom's reasonable too, despite the sloping roofline. Out back, petrol models offer 491-litres of cargo space, while the 1.6-litre diesel has 467-litres and this mild hybrid 2.0-litre diesel offers 439-litres.

(Video) Kia Sportage 2018 Car Review

What You Pay

Please contact us for an exact up-to-date valuation.

What to Look For

Almost all the owners in our MK4 Sportage survey seemed very happy with their cars, but inevitably, there were a few issues. One buyer complained of a clutch judder (which apparently is a known issue) and an engine misfire. One owner said the steering wandered on the highway, guided by the tyres (check on your test drive). And we had issues reported concerning the central locking and the infotainment screen. One owner had his car stall and revert to 'limp home' mode. And another reported rattles in the rear cabin and an auto gearbox that tended to hang on to 4th & 5th for too long. Otherwise, check for the usual things - interior child damage for instance. And insist on a fully stamped-up service history. It's extremely unlikely that the Sportage you're looking at will have been seriously used off road (particularly if it has a higher-spec trim level), but just in case, check the underside of the car for dents and scrapes. It's more likely that you'll find scratches on the alloy wheels caused through ham-fisted parking.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2019 Sportage 1.6 CRDi - Ex Vat) An oil filter is in the £18 bracket. An air filter is in the £25 bracket and a pollen filter costs typically between £13 and £16. A tail lamp is in the £127 bracket and a wiper blade is around £11-£28. Front brake pads sit in the £122 bracket; rears will sit in the £39-£85 bracket. Front brake discs sit in the £45-£111 bracket. A fuel filter is around £53.

On the Road

On the move, you'll find that this Sportage is among the more firm-riding SUVs in this segment, which keeps body roll in check round the bends but isn't enough to give this car class-leading driving dynamics. A huge amount of work went into improving the engineering of the improved version of this fourth generation model, some of which paid off immediately. Into that category fell the new 'U3'-series 1.6-litre CRDi diesel powerplant, which was quieter and more flexible than the rumbly 1.7-litre unit it replaced. It's the engine we'd recommend for this car, offered in 114 and 134bhp guises and in its perkier form available with 7-speed auto transmission and AWD, should you require these things. There are two alternative petrol options - a base 130bhp 1.6-litre GDi normally aspirated unit that's a bit lacking in pulling power and refinement. And a preferable 174bhp 1.6 T-GDi turbo powerplant that represents your most affordable route to AWD if you want it with this car.

Further up the range was a 2.0-litre CRDi mild hybrid diesel model, which used a lightly electrified 48-volt 'EcoDynamics+' powertrain to try and silence the diesel doubters. Here, a 'Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator' (or 'MHSG') unit was linked up to a compact little 48-volt lithium-ion battery. This could store energy generated when decelerating, under braking or when coasting, then deploy it to give a 16bhp boost to the 184bhp combustion unit when needed, reducing the load on the engine and improving economy; Kia quoted figures of 48.7mpg on the combined cycle and 154g/km of CO2 (both NEDC figures). The battery and the 'MHSG' also supported a 'Moving Stop & Start' function which automatically turned off the engine during in-gear deceleration and braking. And the whole thing was mated with a super-smooth 8-speed auto gearbox specifically developed for this variant.

(Video) Kia Sportage 2018 Car Review


This fourth generation Sportage model epitomised many of the reasons why buyers like this car so much, particularly in this facelifted 2018-2021-era form. You get more space for less money than almost any other mid-sized SUV in the class from this period. Yet the looks have the suggestion of a pricier premium model. It's better equipped than most rivals and the Slovakian factory builds it better too. A segment-leading seven year warranty was the icing on the cake.

And in summary? Well yes, you could pay much more for an apparently more sophisticated family SUV of this kind. But after trying a Sportage, you might well end up questioning the need to. Which says it all really.


What was the good year for used Kia Sportage? ›

The best Kia Sportage model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2019, 2014, 2010, and 2008. The worst model years of the Sportage are 2017, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1999, and 1998. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

How many miles will a 2018 Kia Sportage last? ›

Ultimately, expect somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. But in rare cases, a Kia Sportage can clock a quarter of a million miles or more.

Is Kia Sportage a reliable car? ›

Buying a car with a good reliability rating is essential, and the Kia Sportage has an excellent reliability rating of 88/100 from J.D. Power. Reliability scores determine how vehicles hold up and how likely owners are to experience problems. Vehicle reliability scores are based on: Level of defects.

Which is better Kia Sportage diesel or petrol? ›

The 2022 Kia Sportage GT-Line is a near-impeccable mid-sized SUV that eclipses the outgoing model in every aspect. However, it's best if you ditch the petrol engine and dual-clutch and instead opt for the diesel.

What are the main problems with the Kia Sportage? ›

Common problems with the Kia Sportage
  • Engine problems.
  • Transmission problems.
  • Fuel tank leaking.
  • Check engine light problems.
  • Brake problems.

Which is the best Kia Sportage engine? ›

We think the latest 1.6-litre CRDi Ecodynamics+ diesel is the best Kia Sportage engine, particularly given the useful boost in response delivered by its 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. It has a decent 134PS and is capable of averaging over 52mpg.

Is Kia Sportage low maintenance? ›

KIA Sportage Maintenance Costs

A KIA Sportage will cost about $7,873 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular SUV models by $1,260. There is also a 23.71% chance that a Sportage will require a major repair during that time.

Is Kia as good as Honda? ›

Honda has the edge over Kia performance-wise, and the brand also has an advantage with predicted reliability. Honda currently sits at #5 on Consumer Reports' list of most reliable car brands.

Do Kias last as long as Hondas? ›

They can. As with any car, truck, and SUV out on the open road, how you maintain your ride will determine just how long your car lasts. In the past 10 years, Kia has upped its reliability game considerably and now competes with Toyota and Honda. It's not unheard of for newer models to last well past 200,000 miles.

Are Kia cars good to buy? ›

It's one of the most commonly referenced studies that measures both dependability and reliability of new vehicles. In dominating fashion, Kia earned the title of Most Dependable Non-Luxury Brand in the 2021 J.D. Power VDS with a score of 97 PP100.

Are Kia cars good quality? ›

When it comes to reliable vehicles, nothing contests Kia reliability. This year Kia ranked first for all vehicles in J.D. Power's 2022 dependability study, and first in non-luxury vehicles.

Is Kia Sportage fuel efficient? ›

How many miles per gallon does the Kia Sportage get? The 2023 Kia Sportage gets up to an EPA-estimated 32 miles per gallon on the highway; the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid mpg is even more impressive at 44 miles per gallon, while the 2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid is capable of the equivalent of 84 miles per gallon!

Which is better Ford or Kia? ›

Not only does the Kia brand outweigh Ford in terms of options and features, but it gives shoppers an overall better value. With low prices and noteworthy warranties, the Kia brand reigns supreme in this Battle of the Brands.

What is Kia Sportage comparable to? ›

Even though the 2023 Kia Sportage is better than ever, it has some stiff competition, including the Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota Rav4, Ford Escape, and Honda CR-V.

Which Kia Sportage is the cheapest? ›

The base 2023 Sportage LX starts at $25,990, with midtier trims priced between $27,990 and $34,990. The range-topping X-Pro Prestige model is priced from $36,790.

What year did Kia have engine problems? ›

Hyundai and Kia's modern engine issues date back to 2015, and the 2011 and 2012 model year Sonata. A class action lawsuit in May of 2015 alleged the Theta engine in the Sonata was defective. In particular, it was claimed the 2.4-liter version of the Theta II engine suffered from connecting rod bearings issues.

Is Kia cars high in maintenance? ›

With these provisions, Kia has managed to bring the maintenance cost of the 2022 Carens MPV to as low as Rs 37 paise per km. The Kia Carens has a starting price of Rs 9.59 lakh (ex-showroom) which goes up to 17.70 lakh. It competes against the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and XL6 in the under Rs 20 lakh MPV category.

Is Kia Sportage made in China? ›

The Kia Sportage (Chinese: 起亚智跑; pinyin: Qǐyà Zhìpǎo), in the Chinese market, is a compact crossover SUV produced by Dongfeng Yueda Kia.
Kia Sportage (China)
AssemblyChina: Yancheng (DYK)
Body and chassis
ClassCompact crossover SUV
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Which model of Kia is best? ›

Best Kia Cars & SUVs
  • 2023 Kia Sportage. Pros. Now offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. ...
  • 2023 Kia Carnival. Pros. Assertive, SUV-like exterior design. ...
  • 2023 Kia Sorento. Pros. Comfortable cabin with plenty of standard features. ...
  • 2023 Kia Telluride. Pros. Attractive styling. ...
  • 2023 Kia Soul. Pros. ...
  • 2023 Kia Seltos. Pros.

Which Kia Sportage is top of the line? ›

The top model, the Sportage X-Pro Prestige, begins at $36,790. This all-new Kia Sportage arrives in early 2022 as a 2023 model. It marks the fifth generation of the Sportage, and it's based on the same chassis that underpins its Sorento sibling and Hyundai Tucson cousin.

Do Kias lose value fast? ›

Cars lose the most value in the first year, and depreciation continues for about five years. A car can lose up to 20% of its value in the first year, and over the first five years fall to around 40% from the original price. That means it loses about 15% of the value each year after the first year.

Are Kias known for engine problems? ›

Hyundai and Kia recalled as many as 1.2 million vehicles in the US in 2017 due to engine issues, setting aside 3.36 trillion won in provisions in 2020 because of costs related to a 2019 settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by American drivers over an alleged defect that caused certain engines to catch fire.

Do Kias lose value quickly? ›

Kias, unfortunately, rank in the bottom half when it comes to resale value by brand, and certain models can depreciate by up to 60% after three to five years of ownership.

Who has better warranty Kia or Honda? ›

Warranty: The Kia vs. Honda warranty showdown is no match at all. The Kia warranty provides 10-years/100,000 miles of coverage, while the Honda plan only offers 5-years/60,000 miles of protection.

What car brand is most reliable? ›

What are the most reliable automotive brands?
  • Toyota.
  • Lexus.
  • BMW.
  • Mazda.
  • Honda.
  • Audi.
  • Subaru.
  • Acura.
15 Nov 2022

Does Kia Sportage have 360 camera? ›

360 Surround-View Monitor

Knowing your surroundings is key to keeping you and your vehicle safe. This is done through four available exterior-mounted cameras that let you see 360 degrees around your 2023 Kia Sportage.

What car is better than a Honda? ›

The Toyota vehicles also consistently last longer than any Honda. According to statistics based on consumer reports, Toyota is the second most reliable automaker after Mazda, and Corolla is the most reliable model.

Can you trust Kia? ›

A Kia model is now known as a practical and reliable family car. While the brand isn't known for luxury, it's made great strides in terms of reliability. One of the best features of a Kia is its long warranty period - most Kia models offer a five-year bumper to bumper warranty and a ten-year powertrain warranty.

Is Kia a cheap car to maintain? ›

As an accessible brand with high-reliability ratings, Kias tend to be significantly cheaper to maintain than the average automobile, with an annual repair cost of around $474—far less than the average vehicle maintenance cost of $652.

What is the most reliable used vehicle to buy? ›

5 of the Most Reliable Used Cars You Can Find
  1. Honda Civic. They're sporty, they're simple, and they're one of the most reliable compact cars on the market: there's a reason the Honda Civic is one of the most popular used cars in America! ...
  2. Toyota Corolla. ...
  3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500. ...
  4. Mazda3. ...
  5. Honda CR-V.
29 Apr 2022

How far can a Kia Sportage go on a full tank of gas? ›

The 2022 Sportage has a 426-mile driving range on the LX, Nightfall Edition, and EX trim levels with FWD.

Which Kia has the best fuel economy? ›

Kia Vehicles with the Best Gas Mileage Ratings

2022 Kia Niro – The 2022 Kia Niro is a hybrid that offers the best fuel economy of any 2022 Kia model currently available. It offers an EPA estimated 53 mpg in the city, 48 mpg on the highway, and 50 mpg combined.

Do KIAS hold their value? ›

Recognizing this, we wanted to provide you with the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to those vehicles that perform well in holding their value - and equally so, those that don't.
Brands with the Best Resale Value.
RankBrand5 Year Resale Value
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Is the Kia Sportage the same size as the Ford Escape? ›

The Escape is a little longer at 181.3 inches compared to Sportage, which is 176.4 inches long. It's also an inch wider than the Kia, which means that you may feel a bit of a squeeze when parking the Ford in tight spaces.

Is Kia Sportage bigger than Ford Escape? ›

The 2022 Kia Sportage and the 2022 Ford Escape are both smart choices in the compact SUV space — but they suit different types of buyers.
Which One is Right for Me?
2022 Kia Sportage2022 Ford Escape
Overall Length176.4 inches180.5 inches
Width73.0 inches74.1 inches
Height64.4 inches66.1 inches
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Is Kia the most reliable? ›

All three land in the top five for dependability, with Kia the most dependable overall brand and Genesis the most reliable luxury marque.
Rank by Manufacturer:
RankManufacturerProblems per 100 Vehicles
27 more rows
11 Feb 2022

Is Tucson or Sportage better? ›

The Sportage has lighter controls, so at lower speeds it's slightly easier to move around. Conversely, the Tucson feels brilliantly stable and solid at high speeds. Both are more focused on comfort, but the Tucson is a little softer, something that we prefer from an SUV like this.

Is Kia a Hyundai or luxury? ›

What's the difference between Kia and Hyundai? Kia designs its vehicles with a sporty aesthetic, while Hyundai offers a more luxurious and flowing design. Reaching a broader target market with a slightly more diverse selection of vehicles, Kia's lineup includes a minivan, the Sedona.

Which Kia model is value for money? ›

Kia Sonet: Most Value For Money Variant
Kia SonetHTEHTK+
Smartstream G 1.2 PetrolRs. 6.71 lakh (5MT)Rs. 8.45 lakh (5MT)
G 1.0 Turbo GDIRs. 9.49 lakh (6iMT)/Rs. 10.49 lakh (7DCT)
Diesel 1.5 WGTRs. 8.05 lakh (6MT)Rs. 9.49 lakh (6MT)
Diesel 1.5 VGTRs. 10.39 lakh (6AT)
19 Sept 2020

How much should you pay for a Kia Sportage? ›

2021 Kia Sportage MSRP and Invoice Price
TrimsMSRPEdmunds Suggested
LX Most Popular$25,265$25,852
SX Turbo$34,925$35,562

Is Kia Sportage AWD or 4wd? ›

Kia All-Wheel Drive SUVs and Crossovers

Kia Sportage: AWD is available on every trim of the Kia Sportage, and Trenton drivers will be glad to see that it is a perennial Top Safety Pick as rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Kia Sorento: AWD is also available on every trim level of the Kia Sorento.

Is used Kia Sportage worth buying? ›

Kia Sportage is among the best compact SUVs on the market and can be a very smart choice. It's been nearly 30 years since the birth of the Kia Sportage, and it's been a staple name in the compact SUV game as one of the most reliable vehicles in the class.

What is Kia's most reliable vehicle? ›

Kia J.D. Power Awards

For example, four 2020 model year vehicles each won the Highest Quality award that year: the Kia Soul, Forte, Sorento, and Sedona. Also, the 2016 Kia Soul won a J.D. Power Dependability award in 2019.

Which is better Kia Sportage EX or LX? ›

Moving up to the EX model carries over all the features and technologies from the LX and adds heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, leather upholstery, a rear USB charging port, foglights and much more.

Which Kia Sportage models are recalled? ›

Kia is recalling over 71,000 Sportage SUVs from the 2008 and 2009 model years because they may catch fire while driving or parked. The automaker says owners should park outside and away from structures and other vehicles until the recall repair has been performed.

Are Kia engines reliable? ›

When it comes to reliable vehicles, nothing contests Kia reliability. This year Kia ranked first for all vehicles in J.D. Power's 2022 dependability study, and first in non-luxury vehicles.

Is Toyota or Kia better? ›

Exceptional reliability is the name of the game with both Toyota and Kia. A 2019 study done by J.D. Power found Kia is highest in U.S. initial quality in the non-premium category. J.D. Power also ranked the 2016 Kia Soul, as well as the 2016 Toyota Corolla, Prius, and Prius V among the most dependable cars on the road.

Is a Kia as good as a Hyundai? ›

So, the verdict is in – while Kia and Hyundai offer similar vehicles, Kia models offer better value and better quality, with bolder styling and a more dynamic driving experience. Simply put, Kia vehicles are all-around better vehicles, no matter what you value most in your car.

What SUV is comparable to Kia Sportage? ›

8 Top Kia Sportage Competitors
  • Jeep Cherokee.
  • Honda CR-V.
  • Mazda CX-5.
  • Ford Escape.
  • Chevrolet Equinox.
  • Toyota RAV4.
  • Nissan Rogue.
  • Subaru Forester.
11 Aug 2022

What does the Kia Sportage compare to? ›

The power, performance, and reliability of the gas-powered 2023 Kia Sportage are on par with similar SUVs like the Nissan Rogue and Toyota Rav4.

Do Kia Sportage have engine problems? ›

There have been many different engine issues with the Kia Sportage. Luckily, most of those problems have been minor ones. In some cases, the Sportage has suffered engine failure. The cause of this problem is typically traced back to a faulty engine sensor.


1. Kia Sportage 2018 review
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4. Kia Sportage In-Depth Review | New for 2019 – should you buy one?
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