The redesigned Sportage is one of the roomiest small SUVs, and the mainstream EX trim we tested packs lots of desirable features that buyers are sure to appreciate, such as dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, and automatic high beams. But its tepid standard engine makes it a bit boring to drive, and the Sportage is burdened by some annoying controls.
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    Kia Sportage Road Test

    The redesigned Sportage is one of the roomiest small SUVs, and the mainstream EX trim we tested packs lots of desirable features that buyers are sure to appreciate, such as dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, and automatic high beams. But its tepid standard engine makes it a bit boring to drive, and the Sportage is burdened by some annoying controls. The hybrid EX version we also tested, on the other hand, is quicker, quieter, has a smoother ride, and managed 36 mpg overall—an 11-mpg gain over the gas-only model. All of those positives combine to make the hybrid the slam-dunk Sportage choice.

    The Sportage’s standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces a respectable 187 horsepower. But after an annoyingly-abrupt first burst off the line, it feels lackluster—okay, downright slow—after that. It’s one of the few vehicles today that needs 10 seconds to run from 0 to 60 mph. The eight-speed automatic transmission also isn’t the smoothest shifter, a trait that becomes quite noticeable because it needs to downshift a lot on the highway just to keep up with surrounding traffic.

    The hybrid’s combination of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and electric drive yields a much more responsive 227 hp. It leaves the line with a silky electric push, then transitions smoothly back and forth between gas and electric as needed. The hearty mid-range power means the six-speed automatic transmission doesn’t have to change gears anywhere near as often as the eight-speed, and the gear-changes are smoother. Plus, the hybrid shaves more than two seconds off the gas-only model’s jog from 0 to 60 mph.

    Best Version to Get
    We think the best version to get is the hybrid. It’s quicker, quieter, smoother-riding, and much more frugal with gas. We would go for the second-tier EX because it comes with blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver’s seat with lumbar-supp...
    Road Test Scores by Trim
    4-door SUV Hybrid EX 4-cyl 6-speed Automatic
    4-door SUV EX 4-cyl 8-speed Automatic
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