Best Bet
  • (4.4) 44 reviews
  • MSRP: $9,416–$20,468
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 22-25
  • Engine: 176-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 5
2013 Kia Sportage

Our Take on the Latest Model 2013 Kia Sportage

What We Don't Like

  • Modest cargo room
  • Highway steering and ride
  • Visibility
  • Poor small-overlap crash tests
  • Resale value

Notable Features

  • Power-folding side mirrors now standard
  • Available turbo four-cylinder
  • FWD or AWD
  • Available Uvo connectivity
  • Six-speed manual or automatic

2013 Kia Sportage Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

The 2013 Kia Sportage remains sharp inside and out, but increasing issues with the car demand attention — from Kia and shoppers alike.

Stylish and nimble, the five-seat Sportage SUV remains compelling for shoppers who drive solo, but it hasn't evolved like some of its competitors have to accommodate small families. And too many issues — a poor crash test here, a steering problem there — cause concerns. I evaluated an all-wheel-drive Sportage EX, which is a middle trim level that's higher than the base and LX and just below the SX. (The base comes only with front-wheel drive, while other trims have front- or all-wheel drive.)

For a photo gallery, click here.

Going & Stopping
Drive solo and the Sportage's 2.4-liter four-cylinder gets to highway speeds capably enough thanks to balanced low-end power and snappy accelerator response. The six-speed automatic transmission's shifts, however, are a bit muddy at times, and it hunts for gears during rapid elevation changes. Base models employ a six-speed manual.

The weight of three adults on board required most of the drivetrain's reserves to maintain highway speed. If you frequently haul passengers, sticking with front-wheel drive saves 169 pounds, which should free up some passing power. Or opt for Kia's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which makes 260 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque — considerably more than the 2.4-liter's 176 hp and 168 pounds-feet. Alas, it's available only on the Sportage SX. Lesser trims employ only the 2.4-liter four.

Major competitors have surpassed the Sportage's gas mileage, if only by a smidgen. EPA numbers with the six-speed auto and 2.4-liter four-cylinder are 21/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined. That's 1 mpg combined short of the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. All-wheel-drive Sportages get an estimated 20/27/23 mpg, which matches the Equinox's combined figure but falls 2 mpg short of the others. With either Sportage driveline, the 2.0-liter turbo loses 1 mpg combined. All Sportages have the same four-wheel-disc brakes with the required antilock braking. Repeat hard stops delivered linear, fade-free pedal response. Another bonus: The Sportage's 34.7-foot turning circle makes for easy U-turns, where the Escape (38.7 feet) and Equinox (40 feet) need three-pointers.

Ride & Handling
I can't heap similar praise on the Sportage's highway composure. At moderate speeds, the steering delivered quick, nimble cuts, with little body roll in our EX test car, but on the interstate it gravitates toward a numb, distant sensation when the wheel is at 12 o'clock. The Sportage dials back power assist well enough — it's not too light or buoyant — but the wheel never settles in; it wanders off-center too easily, and the constant corrections to keep the SUV on track wear you down. It's characteristic of too many vehicles from Kia and its parent company, Hyundai. Kia's new Cadenza sedan shows signs of progress, but the evolution has yet to reach the brand's SUVs.

Fitted with upgraded rear shock absorbers a year ago, the Sportage filters out individual bumps well enough, but highways still expose the gritty busyness that's characterized the nameplate since its 2011 redesign. Our test car had higher-performance shocks, as well as 18-inch wheels and P235/55R18 tires. Both come on the EX and SX but not the base or LX trims, though all Sportages will adopt the upgraded shocks for 2014.

The Inside
The Sportage's raked windshield sacrifices some forward visibility, but the cabin gets high marks for design. Inventive textures cover the dash: piano-black center controls and some chrome around the gearshift. Alas, cabin materials underline the SUV's sub-$20,000 starting price: thin seats, harsh plastics and padding-free upper doors. The Mazda CX-5 and up-level versions of the Ford Escape have richer materials.

Despite a high center console — as opposed to the upright, minivan-like dash in the Honda CR-V — the Sportage had enough knee room for my 6-foot frame. (The Escape's console is even wider, and several editors found it pinned their knees in.) But the six-way powered driver's seat on EX and SX trim levels forgoes a cushion-angle adjuster, and some may find the fixed angle lends too much or too little thigh support.

For an SUV that's a few inches shorter than the Escape, CR-V and RAV4 — and more than a foot shorter than the Equinox — the Sportage's backseat has adequate knee room. Unfortunately, the seat sits low to the floor, so adults may find their knees uncomfortably elevated. What's more, the Sportage lacks any backseat adjustments, which many SUVs in this class offer.

Cargo space behind the rear seats totals a modest 26.1 cubic feet; the Equinox, RAV4, Escape and CR-V all have 30-plus cubic feet. Fold the seats down, and the Sportage tops out at 54.6 cubic feet — 9.1 to 18.8 cubic feet short of the group's maximum figures.

Safety, Resale Concerns
In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Sportage earned top marks in front, side and rear impacts, as well as in a roof-strength test. But the SUV scored poorly in IIHS' new small-overlap crash test, which simulates hitting an object from your front-left corner. (Read about the test here.) The 2014 Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport fared well in the test, but most other Sportage competitors also did poorly.

Standard safety features on the Kia include six airbags plus the required antilock brakes and electronic stability system. The Sportage does not offer blind spot, lane departure or forward collision warning systems — increasingly widespread safety options among some competitors. Click here for a full list of safety features on the Sportage, and see how it accommodates child-safety seats in our Car Seat Check.

In its two years on the market, the Sportage has shown exemplary reliability, even in a class known for few problems. Resale value, however, is concerning. Residuals calculator ALG projects five-year resale values for the SUV to range from 34 to 38 percent, depending on trim level. That's closer to the Equinox (31 to 34 percent) than the CR-V (38 to 40 percent) and Escape (37 to 40 percent). ALG has yet to calculate residuals for the redesigned RAV4.

Features & Pricing
The base Sportage starts around $20,000, including destination charge. That's thousands less than its major competitors, and it gets you a stick-shift car with 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, cruise control, and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

It would seem like a good deal, but the automatic transmission — for which nearly all SUV shoppers opt — requires stepping up to the LX (about $22,000). It also adds larger alloy wheels, headlight washers and remote entry with a car alarm, but that's embarrassingly little to justify the $2,000 difference. Pile up the options on an EX or SX, meanwhile, and you can get leather seats and heated front seats — along with a cooled driver's seat that works pretty well, considering most cooled seats are as effective at cooling you as a cup of decaf is at waking you up. You can also get a panoramic moonroof, navigation and a backup camera. All-wheel drive runs an affordable $1,500 on the LX, EX and SX.

Load up an all-wheel-drive Sportage SX and the total runs about $32,500.

Sportage in the Market
Kia's larger Sorento overshadows the Sportage, outselling its smaller sibling at a rate of more than 3.5 to 1. More popular compact SUVs, meanwhile, outsell the Sorento by double or more. Kia's two-SUV strategy in this group gives shoppers more choices, but the smaller of the two seems increasingly entry-level as the years go by. Small families will find better versatility among some of the Sportage's competitors, particularly the CR-V. It should still appeal to solo drivers, but consider the drawbacks before jumping in.

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Consumer Reviews

(4.4)

Average based on 44 reviews

Write a Review

Great Reliable Car

by lindsays18 from Sherman, TX on October 16, 2017

I really like my Kia! It has a lot of room on the inside and has great windows as well. Is very easy to see out of and is quite comfortable. My only complaint would be that the position of the air ve... Read Full Review

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7 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2013 Kia Sportage trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Kia Sportage Articles

2013 Kia Sportage Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Kia Sportage Base

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Kia Sportage Base

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Kia Sportage Base

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Kia Sportage Base

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There is currently 1 recall for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

60mo/60,000mi

Powertrain

120mo/100,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/60,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years