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So many small SUVs look like the boxes they were shipped in. Not the Kia Sportage, whose sporty ovoid styling stands out in a rectilinear field. The Sportage offers nimble handling and a roomy rear seat, but otherwise comes up short. Its stiff ride and loud cabin won't endear itself over the long haul. Acceleration with the base four-cylinder engine is leisurely and a lackluster 22 mpg overall proves to be no consolation.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
NA
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2005. ESC, side and head protection air bags standard from 2005.
Road Test

So many small SUVs look like the boxes they were shipped in. Not the Kia Sportage, whose sporty ovoid styling stands out in a rectilinear field. The Sportage offers nimble handling and a roomy rear seat, but otherwise comes up short. Its stiff ride and loud cabin won't endear itself over the long haul. Acceleration with the base four-cylinder engine is leisurely and a lackluster 22 mpg overall proves to be no consolation. The uplevel turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers a big boost in performance with only a one mpg penalty, but its 21 mpg overall is in the realm of much larger SUVs.

Practicality isn't the primary mission of the Sportage, despite decent interior space and fairly simple controls. The sporty styling reduces cargo space a tad and impairs the view out severely, especially to the rear. Refinement suffers, too, with noticeable road noise and a stiff ride. Opting for the sportier SX, with its firmer suspension and larger wheels and tires, only makes these annoyances more pronounced. Higher-trim models add upgraded interior furnishings and fancy available options such as a panoramic sunroof and heated and cooled front seats.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (260 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 (176 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Kia Sportage owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

“Works sporadically”

David C., CA (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“UVO system with the backup camera took so long to load that we were done backing up by the time the backup camera turned on. Much improved with an under warranty service, still a little slow”

Anonymous, IN (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen goes blank

“Display freezes and goes blank occasionally when it switches to backup camera”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“i have a recurring problem where the infotainment screen 'reboots' when i start the car. this causes the screen to go blank and the backup camera doesn't work. I had the whole unit replaced once, but the new unit does the same thing”

Donald F., GA (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“My cell phone would not hook with the car blue tooth. Dealership fixed at no cost”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
CD player

“CD wouldn't play either...is all-in-one unit. Had to replace entire unit & pay full price (out of warranty for stereo systems)”

David L., TX (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

“Radio just quit on me...wouldn't connect with regular radio OR Sirius/XM . Was one month out of warranty, so had to pay full price & replace the entire unit”

David L., TX (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“We have had more miles on other vehicles and because we are responsible in our break use have had little problem. This problem came on fast. No notice on our regular service appointments. Had it checked and ended up with rear pad and rotor replacement. Costly repair”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Kia Sportage Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Based on other vehicles I have owned, have never had rotors fail after 60000 km (have gotten 100-150k on other vehicles, including another AWD vehicle)”

Anonymous, NS (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

“Both front and rear rotors rusted out in under 5 years and needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, NS (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Rotors were making sporadic clicking/clunking noise when braking or turning after applying brakes. Turns out they were rusted out and warped after only 60000 km, and were not replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, NS (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaking

“Brakes frequently make squeaking sound when released. Function fine, but a minor annoyance. Dealer could not find a problem”

Anonymous, NS (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“All lighting systems on the left side of the car became nob-functional, to include. turn signals, emergency flashers, brake lights”

Joan N., KS (2012 Kia Sportage SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Body control module

“one of the critical fuses went out, and the car's electronics would reset themselves every time the car was restarted”

Anonymous, AE (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“We had two separate issues, both were corrected by the dealer. Haven't had issue since”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Kia Sportage Base 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

“Brake light on instrument remains lit upon starting, turn vehicle off & restart, light goes off”

Anonymous, GA (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“Ac died at 95000 miles”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Kia Sportage Base 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“doers not work”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Takes a while to cool, then does not keep the temperature cold”

David C., CA (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“AC compressor went out at around 100000 miles Engine failed at 99000 miles”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Kia Sportage Base 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“The engine went bad and it was replaced at approximately 70,000 miles on the vehicle”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“faint rattle can be heard at freeway speeds coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. The noise is worse on bumpier roads, but is nearly constant when traveling at 60+ MPH”

Peter G., TX (2012 Kia Sportage LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“it was a bad rear strut and repaired under warante”

Donald M., IL (2012 Kia Sportage SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“Our Kia began jerking as we were driving. Took it in to our dealership and it turns out the whole transmission needed replacement. We got it replaced under warranty”

Alice S., FL (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

“Leaking shock on pass. rear. Replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, GA (2012 Kia Sportage EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

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