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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Kia Sportage

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Expert's Rating


MPG 20 City / 28 Highway
  • Smooth ride
  • Good turning radius for SUV
  • Excellent warranty
  • Low base price
  • Front seats somewhat uncomfortable
  • Could use more power
, Automotive Editor -
The Kia Sportage is one of the most stylish compact crossovers out there, as well as one of the sportiest. But the pluses keep coming, because this crossover is agile, economical and well-priced. With the turbocharged engine, you could consider the Sportage a worthy opponent to other performance competitiors like the Ford Escape Titanium and Volkswagen Tiguan. And with all-wheel drive available, the Kia could be the best of all worlds for consumers in this class.


The base Sportage comes well-equipped for the price. It starts with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 176 horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic is optional. Included in that model are power windows, mirrors and locks, tilt steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, trip computer and a four-speaker audio system with USB input and Bluetooth.

Moving up a trim, the LX spices up the exterior with 17-inch alloy wheels and privacy glass. Keyless entry is added to the power door locks and the mirrors also get turn-signal indicators. The automatic is the only transmission available. The up-level EX adds features like rear parking sensors, striking 18-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, telescoping adjustment to the steering wheel and floor mats. It also includes automatic headlights with LED running lights, power driver's seat and a backup camera. Kia's UVO voice recognition system is also included to control audio and iPod functions. The sporty SX adds the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 276 horsepower, a sport-tuned suspension, leather seats and keyless entry and start.

See our picks for best crossovers in the CarsDirect Crossover Buying Guide.

The Ford Escape is larger and offers better in-car technology, but costs a lot more money. The Honda CR-V is also larger but there's no performance engine option. The Chevrolet Equinox boasts an optional V6 but is less sporty to drive. And the Volkswagen Tiguan has a beautiful interior and powerful engine, but it runs on premium fuel and costs thousands more.

If you don't need to have the biggest crossover in the class and don't mind the Kia badge anymore, the Sportage is a worthy opponent to the known names in the segment. With either the efficient 2.4 or the powerful 2.0 turbo, and a long range of trims that are loaded with options, there's a Sportage for every price range and customer. Anyone looking in this segment should check this Kia out.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Kia Sportage
Starting price

2013 Kia Sportage Base

Recommended for: Buyers who want a stylish, well-equipped small crossover

The base Sportage still comes well-equipped, considering its place at the bottom of the trim level range. The Sportage comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 176 horsepower going through the front wheels. A six-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed automatic is an option. All Sportages get 16-inch alloy wheels, a split-folding rear seat, power windows, locks and mirrors, tilt steering wheel, a trip computer and Bluetooth. Also standard are LED running lights, air conditioning and steering wheel controls for the six-speaker audio system that also has USB and AUX inputs. The base Sportage gets a limited selection of exterior color choices and only comes with black cloth upholstery, but if all you want is a small crossover with front wheel drive that's light on fuel, the base Sportage is worth a look.

2013 Kia Sportage
Starting price

2013 Kia Sportage EX

Recommended for: Shoppers looking for high-tech features at a reasonable price

The EX loads the Sportage up with more technology features and creature comforts to make commutes and long drives more comfortable. The EX adds to the LX, with 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome trim on the exterior, automatic headlamps, fog lights, rear spoiler, roof rails, power driver's seat, backup camera, the UVO system, HD radio, cooled glove box, telescoping steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Premium Package adds leather seats, with heat for the front ones, a cooled driver's seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror with garage door opener, cargo cover and power-folding outside mirrors. The Navigation Package adds the touchscreen navigation system and premium audio system.

2013 Kia Sportage
Starting price

2013 Kia Sportage LX

Recommended for: Buyers who want more convenience features

The LX builds on the base model's long list of equipment and opens up the availability of optional trim and features. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, as is the six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers also get remote keyless entry to go with the power locks and rear privacy glass. All-wheel drive is an option on the LX. The optional Convenience Package adds Kia's UVO voice recognition system for audio functions, a rear backup camera and rear parking sensors, telescopic steering wheel, roof rails, floor mats, cargo cover, illuminated vanity mirror and a cooled glove box. The Navigation Package includes the Convenience Package, but adds a touchscreen navigation system with SiriusXM traffic and weather and a premium audio system with subwoofer.

2013 Kia Sportage
Starting price

2013 Kia Sportage SX

Recommended for: Shoppers who want more performance out of their small crossover

The SX is the most aggressive Sportage and is aimed at the crossover driver looking for more performance. The SX comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo with 260 horsepower. All-wheel drive is optional. The SX gets special 18-inch alloy wheels and special exterior trim. A dual exhaust, leather upholstery, more comprehensive gauge cluster, power-folding outside mirrors and keyless entry and start are all included. The Premium Package adds heated front seats, a cooled driver's seat, panoramic sunroof and cargo cover. The Navigation Package is also available.

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