The 2021 Kia Sportage will carry over with minimal changes after a mid-cycle refresh last year. Slotting in between the three-row Telluride and the smaller Seltos, the Sportage is due for a redesign in the next year or two.
Last year’s refresh brought a mild styling update, sharpening the Sportage’s casual look. Unlike many modern SUVs, the Sportage shies away from showy grilles and squared-off sides, opting for sleeker lines. Short overhangs help the SUV look (and feel) more athletic.
The interior got more substantial upgrades in 2020, including a larger infotainment touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We don’t expect any major changes for 2021, but a comfortable and quiet interior means that that’s not a bad thing.
The Sportage will continue with two available engines. The first is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder unit sending 181 horsepower through a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is an option, but it sets fuel economy back by several notches. The top trim gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine making 240 hp. We’d prefer an option in the middle, but neither engine is offensive.
Safety is a strength for the Sportage. Federal and independent testers gave last year’s model good marks overall, with the IIHS awarding the Sportage a Top Safety Pick award. Automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are standard across the board. Blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control are optional extras, though they come standard on upper trims.