Lots of show, but just a little go. Despite being one of the older models in the class – its last redesign was in 2017 – the Kia Sportage remains one of the sharper-looking compact crossovers. That said, its performance doesn’t match the looks – at least in the base model – and its cargo-hauling leaves a lot to be desired.

The 2022 Kia Sportage looks great. It boasts one of the sportier and more unique looks in its class without taking it over the top. Its design is accented by a long wheelbase that pushes the wheels to the corners for a more aggressive stance.

While the design is sharp, it does limit outward visibility, which could be an issue for some buyers. Buyers affected by this may appreciate more traditional-looking small SUVs like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.

The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission. This delivers adequate performance, but it’s nothing to write home about. The 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder better matches the Sportage’s sporty looks, but it’s only available in the pricey SX Turbo trim.

Buyers looking for more zip will appreciate the Ford Escape’s all-turbo lineup of engines. Though the Escape’s base three-cylinder engine is down 1 hp to the Sportage, its torquey nature makes it feel quicker in the seat.

Kia Sportage

Plenty of value, but limited space. The 2022 Sportage is surprisingly well-equipped, even in its base LX trim. This base tier comes standard with 17-inch wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.

To put that into perspective, the base Escape comes with a 4.2-inch screen and no smartphone integration, and the base CR-V has a 5-inch screen and no smartphone integration.

The biggest downside to the Kia Sportage is its hauling capabilities – or lack thereof. It has only 30.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats up and 60.1 with them folded. The Escape’s cargo room ranges from 37.5 cubes to 65.4 cubes; the CR-V ranges from 39.2 to 75.8 cubes; the Nissan Rogue ranges from 36.3 to 72.9 cubes; and the RAV4 ranges from 37.6 to 69.8 cubes.

High-tech safety, but no fuel-saving tech. The 2022 Sportage comes standard with automatic emergency braking and active lane-keeping, giving it the basic safety gear any crossover should have. This beats the Escape and CR-V, which only come standard with automatic emergency braking.

The area in which the Sportage lags is fuel economy tech, as it has no thrifty hybrid option. Buyers seeking higher fuel economy numbers will have to look toward the Escape Hybrid, CR-V Hybrid, or RAV4 Hybrid. This could change with the Sportage's upcoming redesign, but this is not yet official.

Final thoughts. The Kia Sportage is still a great crossover, despite falling behind its more modern competitors in some areas. This is especially true for anyone looking for a unique and sporty design – the Sportage leads the class in this trait. That said, its lack of hauling room is a critical flaw that most crossover buyers may have a hard time looking past.

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