Kia punches way above its weight class with the 2021 Sportage that features outstanding comfort, safety, and advanced technology.

What’s New for the 2021 Kia Sportage? 

Not much has changed for the 2021 Kia Sportage lineup. There are two new packages, the Nightfall Edition and the Nightfall Edition Premium, that replace the Sunroof and the Premium packages from 2020, respectively.

2021 Kia Sportage -

2021 Kia Sportage – |  Shop 2021 Kia Sportage on

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $25,265





Fuel Economy

23 City / 30 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats


Seats 5

The Breakdown

Above-average comfort

Great power from turbo engine

Killer warranty coverage

Limited cargo space

Rivals are more fuel efficient

Turbo engine is pricey

2021 Sportage Specs

Trims & Pricing

LX - $25,265
S - $27,765
EX - $28,565
SX - $34,925

2021 Kia Sportage Powertrain

2021 Kia Sportage 2.0L I4 -
2021 Kia Sportage 2.0L I4 -

There are two very distinct engines for the 2021 Kia Sportage. The larger 2.4-liter I4 is far less peppy and frankly, less fun. The 181 horsepower engine is best used around a cityscape, because when it needs to zoom up to highway speeds, it will take a little while. Nevertheless, the 2.4L is smooth and seamless when allowed to dottle. We especially appreciate how quiet the interior is.

Go for the smaller, yet more powerful, 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine and you’ll end up with a properly enjoyable powertrain. It makes 240 horsepower and also adds paddle shifters to the steering wheel, which are surprisingly effective. Impressively, every single trim in the lineup handles like a champ. Typically, we’d suggest paying a bit more for the optional all-wheel-drive, but even without it, the Sportage is good fun in the corners. It loads up well and maintains a steady balance even when pushed toward the limit.

2021 Kia Sportage -
2021 Kia Sportage -

The pedals provide good feedback too. We especially appreciate how easy it is to bring the Kia Sportage to a smooth stop from any speed. Steering is well balanced with just a touch of numbness on center with more progressive feedback as corners tighten.

2021 Kia Sportage Fuel Economy & MPG

Some of the best cars in this segment reach up to 30 mpg combined, so the 2021 Kia Sportage falls short of that with a maximum rating of 26 mpg combined. Of course, the more powerful 2.0-liter engine drops even further down to just 21 mpg combined when it’s equipped with all-wheel drive.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

The 2021 Kia Sportage might only cost some $25,000, but the interior would never give that away. The materials are far nicer to touch and feel. They look good too. Panel gaps are tight and consistent throughout. The seats are heated and supportive throughout the lineup. It’s tough to find a sincere gripe anywhere inside.

The climate control is fast and effective, the center control stack is easy to incorporate into everyday life, and there are no major visibility issues. If we had to pick anything to complain about, it would have to be storage space. Kia doesn’t offer too many of the same nifty innovative storage features that others do. That means you’ll have to make do with the 30 feet of cubic storage space in the rear that expands to a maximum of 60 when the seats are folded down.

Entertainment & Technology

2021 Kia Sportage -
2021 Kia Sportage -

Including a bright and fast 8-inch touchscreen on every 2021 Kia Sportage is just the start of what ends up being an impressive technology suite. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both included and buyers who opt for the EX or SX will get GPS and a premium sound system too. The sound system in particular is one of the better ones we’ve found, especially considering it only packs eight speakers. The inclusion of physical buttons and knobs for vital controls is appreciated. The only downside is that the voice controls can be less than accurate and the navigation system can’t be used in unison with the smartphone integration.

Safety Features

It’s hard to beat the 2021 Kia Sportage when it comes to safety per dollar. Not only was it rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, but it also scored a five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA. Add to that the bevy of advanced driver safety aids like lane-keeping assist and it’s hard to think of something better.

2021 Kia Sportage Trims & Pricing

2021 Kia Sportage LX -
2021 Kia Sportage LX -

LX – $25,265

The base 2021 Kia Sportage is very well equipped compared to others in its class. It features an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and six speakers, 17-inch wheels, rear privacy glass, and different driving modes. Standard safety features include lane-keep assist, forward collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, and driver attention monitoring. Each of the first three trim levels comes with a 181 horsepower engine and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is an available option.

2021 Kia Sportage S -
2021 Kia Sportage S -

S – $27,765

Bump up to the S model and buyers will get larger 18-inch wheels, simulated leather upholstery, roof rails, fog lights, and heated mirrors. It also adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

2021 Kia Sportage EX -
2021 Kia Sportage EX -

EX – $28,565

The Sportage EX gets gloss black interior trim, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free tailgate, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

2021 Kia Sportage SX -
2021 Kia Sportage SX -

SX – $34,925

While it’s a pricey choice, the SX is by far the most engaging model. It gets a 240-horsepower turbocharged engine, LED headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, leather upholstery, a heated flat-bottomed steering wheel, and an upgraded infotainment system. It also adds integrated GPS navigation and a premium Harman Kardon sound system with eight speakers. The SX also gains adaptive cruise control and parking sensors, both front and rear.


While Kia doesn’t offer any complimentary maintenance, it does offer the best warranty coverage in any class from any brand. The 2021 Kia Sportage powertrain is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles and limited warranty coverage reaches 5 years or 60,000 miles.

What we think

2021 Kia Sportage -

2021 Kia Sportage – |  Shop 2021 Kia Sportage on

Kia has found a way to balance sporty handling, excellent ride comfort, modern technology, and advanced safety equipment in the 2021 Kia Sportage without charging an arm and a leg for it. Frankly, Honda, Toyota, and others better figure out how to step up their game before Kia overtakes them all as the best value for money in the eyes of the public. It’s already the best value for money in reality.

Related Review Articles

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Review

2024 Subaru Impreza Review

Mid-Engine Milestone: Ferrari 512 BB

Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

  • 1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *