A Lot More Safety Gear And Cool Makeup For The 2020 Kia Sportage

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Proudly sitting as the main attraction at Kia’s 2019 Chicago Auto Show stand, the new 2020 Kia Sportage introduced us to a number of novelties, most important of which is its amazing standard safety pack. The subtle facelift touched the 2020 Kia Sportage’s front and back end and gifted low-end models with even more tech. While this is basically all that’s important on the newest Sportage, it seems that this compact SUV really doesn’t need more improvement. It is a value-centered compact SUV, and it does all it should really well. After all, it does have some legacy to defend. Believe it or not, the Sportage was the first car with a knee airbag back in 1998. Heck, it is even the first vehicle to complete the Paris-Dakar rally and the Baja 1000. It did it in 1993 and 1995, respectively. While Kia is not really big on promoting these facts, I can tell you that the new Sportage really does epitomize the safety proves and the sporty character of its predecessors.

2020 Kia Sportage Exterior

left right

As I was saying in my first piece about the 2020 Kia Sportage, the Koreans did not actually have a lot of incentive to change it considerably. After all, this is a good seller, yet, the design team (based in Germany) did, in fact, throw in a few more design cues to make the car more “European.” Their words, honest!

The bulk of the exterior design changes on the 2020 Kia Sportage includes:

  • New headlights
  • New fog lights
  • Updated front grille
  • Redesigned front bumper (now with a more pronounced chrome strip and clear silver painted plates that are reminiscent of the proper off-road skid plates)
  • Redesigned back bumper
  • The new shape of the exhaust tips
  • New alloy wheel designs with 17-19 inches in diameter
  • All-new S trim joins the lineup and brings even sportier looks
2020 Kia Sportage
- image 820538
Listed like this, one would say that Kia really outdid itself with all the changes, but the thing is that all of the changes are quite subtle, only slightly improving the overall feel of the Sportage.

Actually, if equipped with all the new safety gear, the Kia Sportage’s grille does look a bit strange. It has that plastic surface right in the middle that just sticks out. Now, behind it is a rather important thing - all the gear that makes the forward collision assist with pedestrian detection possible.

Obviously, all the industry threads fast towards the all-LED lighting and Kia isn’t lagging behind. Optionally, you can actually equip it with the LED headlights and LED fog lights. The taillights are, apparently, all LED from the get-go.

As I have noted before, Kia did introduce an all-new trim level called the S. It joins the lineup and sits between the LX and the EX. As always, the SX is at the very top of the Kia offering for the Sportage.

2020 Kia Sportage
- image 820537

2020 Kia Sportage - exterior dimensions

Wheelbase (in.) 105.1
Length (in.) 176.4
Width (in.) 73.0
Height (in.), without roof rails (FWD) 64.4/ 64.8
Height (in.), without roof rails (AWD) 64.8
Height (in.), with roof rails (FWD) 64.8
Height (in.), with roof rails (AWD) 65.2
Tread (in.), (front/rear) 63.5/ 64.0
Overhang (in.), (front/rear) 35.8/ 35.4
Min. Ground Clearance (in.) (FWD) 6.4
Min. Ground Clearance (in.) (AWD) 6.8
Approach angle (degrees) (FWD) 16.7
Approach angle (degrees) (AWD) 28.0
Departure angle (degrees) (FWD) 23.9
Departure angle (degrees) (AWD) 24.6
Breakover angle (degrees) (FWD) 18.6
Breakover angle (degrees) (AWD) 19.5

2020 Kia Sportage Interior

2020 Kia Sportage
- image 820535

While the designers did their job in improving the exterior of the 2020 Sportage, the interior has been largely left untouched. It seems that Kia focused on improving the tech available even for the low-end models.

That means that the 2020 Kia Sportage comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

Apart from that, you can optionally order the charging plate for wireless charging.

Kinda neat.

If you are into leather, Kia’s got you as it actually introduced an all-new Sofino leatherette upholstery. The biggest physical change, however, is the integration of the all-new steering wheel design. The new one has a flat lower end with perforated leather on the sides.

2020 Kia Sportage
- image 820536

2020 Kia Sportage interior dimensions

Head room, without panoramic sunroof -
Front (in.) 39.3
Rear (in.) 39.1
Head room, with panoramic sunroof -
Front (in.) 37.6
Rear (in.) 37.9
Leg room -
Front (in.) 41.5
Rear (in.) 38.2
Shoulder room -
Front (in.) 57.1
Rear (in.) 55.1
Hip room -
Front (in.) 54.3
Rear (in.) 51.2
Cargo volume, Behind 2nd row (dual-level cargo floor: low) (SAE cu. ft.) 30.7
Cargo volume, Behind 1st row (dual-level cargo floor: low) (SAE cu. ft.) 60.1
Cargo volume, total interior volume (SAE cu. ft.) 129.3

2020 Kia Sportage Drivetrain

2020 Kia Sportage
- image 820534
The 2020 Kia Sportage is available with a 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder.

It develops 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque and is a part of the entry-level models. On the other end of the scale, Kia continues with the 2.0-liter, turbocharged, gasoline engine. It is the one you really want with 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Obviously, it suits the Sportage name better than that naturally aspirated unit.

As always, the 2020 Kia Sportage is available with 2WD or AWD regardless of engine choice and comes as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Obviously, there’s nothing different compared to the 2019 Kia Sportage which means that the new model will have the same EPA fuel consumption rating of 21/25/22 (city/highway/combined) for the naturally aspirated engine and 20/23/21 (city/highway/combined) for the Turbo.

2020 Kia Sportage
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While the 2020 Sportage did not receive any improvements in terms of what actually powers it, it did gain a lot of fantastic safety technology that successfully launches it into this new, less brave world.

The optional safety features in the new Sportage include:

  • a driver attention warning system
  • lane-keeping assist
  • adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go feature
  • forward collision assist with pedestrian detection
  • high-beam headlight assist

This is a modern vehicle, no question about it.

2020 Kia Sportage
- image 822304

2020 Kia Sportage drivetrain specifications

Engine LX S EX SX Turbo
Type 2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 2.0L Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)
Displacement (cc) 2,359 2,359 2,359 1,998
Bore x stroke (mm) 88.0 x 97.0 88.0 x 97.0 88.0 x 97.0 86.0 x 86.0
Compression ratio 11.3:1 11.3:1 11.3:1 10.0:1
Horsepower 181 hp @ 6,000 rpm 181 hp @ 6,000 rpm 181 hp @ 6,000 rpm 240 hp @ 6,000 rpm (FWD) / 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm (AWD)
Torque  175 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 175 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 175 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 260 lb.-ft. @ 1,450-3,500 rpm
Block Aluminum  Aluminum  Aluminum  Aluminum 
Head Aluminum  Aluminum  Aluminum  Aluminum 
Oil-pan Steel Steel Steel Steel
Valve System 16V DOHC CVVT with Mechanical Lash Adjusters 16V DOHC CVVT with Mechanical Lash Adjusters 16V DOHC CVVT with Mechanical Lash Adjusters 16V DOHC CVVT with Mechanical Lash Adjusters
Fuel Injection Direct Injection Direct Injection Direct Injection Direct Injection
Rec. Fuel Unleaded Gasoline (Regular 87 or higher)  Unleaded Gasoline (Regular 87 or higher)  Unleaded Gasoline (Regular 87 or higher)  Unleaded Gasoline (Regular 87 or higher) 
Coolant Capacity (liters) 2.7 liters 2.7 liters 2.7 liters 2.8 liters

2020 Kia Sportage Prices

2020 Kia Sportage
- image 822291

The MSRP is unlikely to move up a lot. With that said, I do expect the entry level 2020 Kia Sportage to start at just over $24,000. After all, the 2019 Kia Sportage starts at $23,750. A slight price hike is justified with the better infotainment system, a slight design change, and more options than ever.

2020 Kia Sportage Competition

Mazda CX-5

2019 Mazda CX-5
- image 804345

With possibly the most entertaining driving characteristics of all compact SUVs, the Mazda CX-5 has a lot going in its favor compared to the 2020 Kia Sportage. It does look inviting and sophisticated. It even has a slightly more powerful and bigger engine. It’s available with a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated engine with 187 horsepower or a 2.5-liter, turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower. However, it is more expensive compared to the Kia. Previously, with somewhat lackluster Kia safety equipment, one may even call it logical, but nowadays, with the 2020 Kia Sportage gaining a whole lot of new tech, the 2019 Mazda CX-5 doesn’t feel as dominant as before. Nevertheless, the Mazda CX-5 does play a bit on its style and somewhat different character.

Read our full review on the 2019 Mazda CX-5

Toyota RAV4

2019 Toyota RAV4 - Driven Exterior
- image 805615

It is hard to fight the new 2020 Toyota RAV4. As I have said previously, this compact crossover is possibly the best-formed crossover of all time. Toyota went out of its way to make it better than ever, and it shows with its exterior looks, amazing standard equipment, and a comprehensive set of trim levels and options. Bear in mind that the 2020 Toyota RAV4 is an all-new vehicle, while the 2020 Kia Sportage is only slightly redesigned and in production since 2015.

With that said, the Sportage has a lot going in its favor - like the price and powerful, top notch, 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine.

Read our full driven review on the 2019 Toyota RAV4

Volkswagen Tiguan

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan High Resolution Exterior
- image 645792

The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T does seem to be the biggest Sportage competitor. However, the Koreans managed to integrate a bigger screen inside, and a bit more tech as standard. Volkswagen’s turbocharged engine, on the other hand, does develop 184 horsepower and, crucially, 221 pound-feet of torque. The entry-level, naturally aspirated engine in the Sportage is almost 50 pound-feet of torque short on the Tiguan.

Nevertheless, the high-end Sportage is considerably less expensive compared to the top-notch Tiguan.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan


2020 Kia Sportage
- image 820539

The 2020 Kia Sportage did not beat around the bush with its reveal at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Kia installed more safety tech finally matching the newest additions to the market such as the RAV4 and improved the infotainment system giving a slight edge to the Sportage compared to its closest competitors. I believe that the 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine, $1,500 AWD option, and an affordable price tag plays a lot in favor of the Kia Sportage. The car still looks rather well defined, modern, and kinda cool - especially with the new exterior Silver paint option, and better wheel designs.

All in all, it is hard to believe that the 2020 Kia Sportage will overthrow the Sorento from the best-selling Kias list, but the new model is, most certainly, one of the most appealing entries on the market.

  • Leave it
    • Only superficial changes compared with the 2019 model
    • You have to pay a hefty premium for the high-end model

Further reading

2017 Kia Sportage
- image 657123

Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Sportage.

Safet Satara
About the author

The refreshed 2020 Sportage made its debut in the Windy City today, boasting a bold new look, a new S trim, more convenience and available driver-assist features, and a standard 8-inch touchscreen for LX, S and EX variants. Following the introduction of the upcoming Telluride1, Kia’s largest SUV, the Sportage appeals to those who don’t need or want the space of a larger vehicle but place a high value on Kia’s cutting-edge design, available AWD2 capability and convenience. Set to go on sale in the first half of 20193, pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date.

Euro-focused Design
The design language around Sportage has always been distinctly European and the 2020 model carries on the tradition. From the first pencil stroke it was meant to convey the kind of presence associated with sweeping, thought-provoking curves and an equally aggressive stance. The significant exterior design changes for 2020 include:

New headlights with available LED turn indicators
Redesigned projector-beam fog lights
Available LED headlights with available LED fog lights
New front grille, bumper, air intake and skid plate
Newly designed 17-, 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels
Redesigned rear bumper and skid plate
New exhaust tip design
Redesigned tail light trim
A new metallic Steel Grey exterior color

The 2020 Sportage interior design is lightly enhanced and includes:

New available SOFINO leatherette seating surfaces
Standard 8-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay4 and Android Auto5, available modem-enabled telematics6, and available navigation7
Newly designed steering wheel and vent bezels
Available smartphone wireless charging tray8

Engineered for Confident Capability
Along with the new S trim, Sportage is offered in LX, EX and SX variants in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Two engines are available: a 2.4-liter GDI producing 181 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. or torque or a 2.0-liter turbo GDI that’s good for up to 2409 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. New to the Sportage are a number of available driver assist features:

Driver Attention Warning10
Lane Keeping Assist11
Smart Cruise Control with Start & Stop11
Forward Collision Assist with pedestrian detection11
High beam assist12

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release

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