2021 Kia Sportage Performance

MSRP $24,090 - $35,150 | Check Best Price

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2021 Kia Sportage SUV Performance, 0-60, Top Speed, Handling, And MPG

Updated on: May 7, 2021

A. Vats's image
A. Vats

Automotive Journalist


One of the best compact crossover SUVs of this time is the 2021 Kia Sportage. Apart from its dynamic exterior design, welcoming interiors, tons of driver assistance features, and thoughtful practicality, the Korean automaker offers two engine options with the availability of AWD and has managed to retain good MPG numbers as well. Available for sale at a base MSRP of $24,090, the 2021 Sportage comes in the same 4 trim configurations and sees no changes in the specs and features. The 2.4L naturally aspirated inline-4 motor producing 181 hp is on board and is capable of putting out a towing capacity of 1,653 lbs and a 0-60 mph of 8.4 secs.

Along with the base motor, there is also the coveted 2L turbocharged inline-4 motor producing 237 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which manages to come out with better 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times. With no major changes happening under the hood of the 2021 Kia Sportage, can this compact crossover SUV come out as the best offering of the segment in terms of performance? We will find the answer while comparing it to its arch-rivals like the 2021 Hyundai Tucson, 2021 Ford Escape, and 2021 Mazda CX-5, in this performance review.

The optional all-wheel-drive system performs adequately in slippery conditions, although it doesn't make the Sportage an off-roader - Autoblog

2021 Kia Sportage: Engine, Power, Torque, Performance, And Transmission

Just like its predecessor, the 2020 version, the 2021 Kia Sportage continues to offer two engines. The base motor is a 2.4L naturally aspirated inline-4 engine producing 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The power is routed through the FWD drivetrains as standard. However, there is also an optional AWD drivetrain with all four trim configurations. The transmission duties are handled by the same 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission on the front wheels is standard on all trims except the top trim which is equipped with a more spicy 240 hp 2.0L turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder engine with a torque of about 260 lb-ft.

Along with the base motor, there is also a 2L turbocharged inline-4 motor that is available with the more expensive SX Turbo trim, which comes at a base MSRP of $33,750 for the FWD drivetrain version and $35,250 for the AWD drivetrain version. The transmission is the same 6-speed automatic. All of this also helps the 2021 Kia Sportage to come out with a maximum towing capacity of 1,653 lbs, which is one of the best of the segment.

Model

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Ford Escape

2021 Mazda CX-5 

MSRP

$24,090

$23,700

$24,885

$25,190

Powertrain

2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.0L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4 

1.5L Turbocharged Inline-3

2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic 

6-Speed Automatic

Power 

181 hp @ 6,000 RPM

161 hp @ 6,200 RPM

181 hp @ 6,000 RPM

187 hp @ 6,000 RPM

Torque

175 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

150 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM

190 lb-ft @ 3,000 RPM

186 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

Towing Capacity 1,653 lbs 1,000 lbs 3,500 lbs 2,000 lbs

The 2021 Kia Sportage managed to come out with a decent 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, which is better than the 2021 Hyundai Tucson's 161 hp from the 2L naturally aspirated motor. However, the most expensive moniker of the lot, the 2021 Mazda CX-5, which comes at an MSRP of $25,190, turned out to be the most powerful too. The 2021 Ford Escape offers also punched out a better torque figure than the 2021 Sportage.


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2021 Kia Sportage: 0-60 Mph Acceleration, Quarter-Mile, And Top Speed

The 2021 Kia Sportage retains the same powertrain as the outgoing 2020 model. As a result, the 2021 Sportage managed to punch out a similar 0-60 mph time of 8.4 seconds. This compact crossover SUV, which comes at an MSRP of $24,090, also offered a similar quarter-mile time of 16.4 seconds too.

Genuinely, upon flat-footing the gas pedal, the response is surprisingly good with a little purr from the engine which is also due to the active 6-speed automatic “Sportmatic” transmission. While the FWD is simply good, the AWD makes the Sportage even faster. However, if you choose the top-of-the-line SX Turbo trim, which is sold for an MSRP of $33,750, the 2021 Kia Sportage would do the same 0-60 mph and quarter-mile in a lower 7.4 seconds and 15,7 seconds, respectively.

Model

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Ford Escape

2021 Mazda CX-5 

0-60mph

8.4 secs

8.8 secs

7.7 secs

8.3 secs

Quarter Mile

16.4 secs

16.8 secs

16.6 secs

16.4 secs

Top Speed

125 MPH

130 MPH

130 MPH

130 MPH

In comparison, the 2021 Ford Escape offered the best 0-60 mph time of 7.7 seconds, which is followed by the 2021 Mazda CX-5, with a 0-60  mph time of 8.3 seconds. The 201 Kia Sportage did it in a slightly higher 8.4 seconds and the 2021 Hyundai Tucson turned out to be the worst of the lot in terms of acceleration, due to a 0-60 mph time of 8.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 16.8 seconds.

Compact crossovers don't get much quicker than the turbocharged Sportage - Caranddriver.com

2021 Kia Sportage Brakes: F/R Rotor Dimensions and Stopping Distance

With the decent acceleration potential of the 2021 Kia Sportage, this moniker also comes equipped with decent braking hardware, which helps it to shed the speed quite fast. The 4-wheel disc braking system with ABS in the Sportage offers 12.6-inch brake rotors at the front and 11.9-inch brake rotors at the rear wheels. This helps the 2021 Kia Sportage to do the 60-0 mph braking in a respectable 114 feet.

The pedals of the 2021 Kia Sportage are sensitive enough and a light press would slow it down rapidly making it completely safe to drive on city roads and highways. Along with that, the low curb weight of 114 feet coupled with a host of safety features like ABS with EBD, automatic emergency braking system, hill hold control, electronic parking brakes, etc helps the 2021 Kia Sportage to come out as the best of the lot in terms of braking performance.

Model

2021 Kia Sportage

2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Ford Escape

2021 Mazda CX-5 

Brake Front (in.)

12.6

12

12.8

11.7

Brake Rear (in.)

11.9

11.9

12

11.9

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3,305

3,309

3,566

3,541

60-0 MPH (ft.)

114

118 128

N/A

The 2021 Kia Sportage did the 60-0 mph in an impressive 114 feet, which is followed by the 2021 Hyundai Tucson with a 60-0 mph braking distance of 118 feet. However, the 2021 Ford Escape, which turned out to be the heaviest offering of the segment, did the 60-0 mph braking in a higher 128 feet.

The Sportage performs best around town, where its ample low-end torque, smooth braking and nicely weighted steering can shine - Edmunds

2021 Kia Sportage Ride and Handling

The 2021 Kia Sportage has a new steering wheel that looks better and gives just the right feel of driving a light compact crossover SUV. The steering is very responsive and sharp too. However, the feedback is not the best of the segment, especially in comparison to the 2021 Mazda CX-5. When it comes to handling, the 2021 Kia Sportage is nothing home to write about. Due to the soft suspension setup, the understeer is quite high. Along with that, the body roll is prevalent too.

However, the ride quality on offer from the 2021 Kia Sportage, especially during the slow city speeds, is one of the best of the segment. It absorbs all the bumps and potholes without transmitting anything to the cabin. The ride quality during highway riding is also quite impressive, with very little vertical movement on offer. The high-speed stability is excellent too.

2021 Kia Sportage Performance Verdict

Though the 2021 Kia Sportage, which comes for a base selling price of $24,090, is not going to blow anyone with its performance and fun factor on offer, it is not bad by any means. The turbocharged motor under the hood is quite impressive due to the abundance of torque on offer from a low RPM. Coupled with sure-footed braking performance and unmatched ride quality, the 2021 Kia Sportable ticks most of the boxes for a comfortable and dependable family SUV. However, if you are in search of a more fun-to-drive SUV, we would recommend you to check out the 2021 Mazda CX-5. We would also recommend you to check out the used Mazda Sportage's inventory here, as there aren't any changes to the 2021 iteration, in comparison to the outgoing 2020 model.

The 2021 Kia Sportage

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2021 Kia Sportage Performance FAQs

What are the power and torque figures of the 2021 Kia Sportage?

The 2021 Kia Sportage is powered by a base 2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4 that churns out 181 hp and 175 lb-ft. The other engine on offer is a 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 motor producing 237 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Is the 2021 Kia Sportage AWD?

The 2021 Kia Sportage is offered both in FWD and AWD drivetrains.

Does the 2021 Kia Sportage come in a manual?

No, the 2021 Kia Sportage is offered only with an automatic transmission.

How quick is the 2021 Kia Sportage from 0-60 mph?

The 2021 Kia Sportage takes 8.4 seconds to do a 0-60 mph run.

What are the MPG Figures of the 2021 Kia Sportage?

The 2021 Kia Sportage returns 23 MPG in the city, 30 MPG on the highway, and a combined 26 MPG.

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2021 Kia Sportage Performance Reviews


FF

Felicia

2021 Kia Sportage

SX Turbo 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

7

User Overall Rating

Posted On: June 7, 2021

what i like and dislike?

Pros - Smooth ride, comfortable seats and well designed cabin

Cons - Lacks good cargo space and mpg figures are poor

Tradeoff b/w likes and dislikes "LIKES: I get the smooth ride. The comfortable cabin and it's seating. The interiors looks great with appealing dashboard and centre console layout .The features are good. DISLIKES: The cargo room is not sufficient to place a large suitcase in to it. The fuel economy figures of 18 - 20 - 23 are not appreciable and left with a disappointment."

7/10
Features
7/10
Interior
7/10
Design
7/10
Safety
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Deal Value
7/10
Dealer Review

MD

Marquita G. Daniels

2021 Kia Sportage

LX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

8

User Overall Rating

Posted On: April 1, 2021

User Review Kia Sportage

Pros - Good space, decent interiors, good design

Cons - Materials in interior could have been lot better

good infotainment screen, lower body all around cladding, android auto comfortabel drive with easy to maneuver steering 8inch display with easy to access features, android and apple auto, good space in 2nd row seats, decent cargo space, soft materials on interiors seats and sides, dashboard is smooth, materials feels comfortable, steering is adjustable for driver's comfort, airbags, electronic warning system, good as fuel economy is decent making it pretty much budget car, price is less which makes it easy buy.

8/10
Features
7/10
Interior
8/10
Design
8/10
Safety
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Deal Value
7/10
Dealer Review

ER

Eva A. Ramirez

2021 Kia Sportage

LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

7

User Overall Rating

Posted On: April 1, 2021

KiA Sportage review

Pros - Design, small size, safety check

Cons - Slow acc, low fuel capacity

comes in multiple variants, good wheels, 8inch display cupholders in front row, sunroof,paddle shifters on steering, design is good, but grille design isn't very likable, cabin feels spacious airbags, parking assist, rear view camera.

7/10
Features
6/10
Interior
6/10
Design
6/10
Safety
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Deal Value
10/10
Dealer Review

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