Kia Sportage Problems: 8 Common Complaints (Explained) (2023)

Kia Sportage is a compact SUV that has been in production since 1993. It is currently in its fourth generation. The Sportage has been Kia’s best-selling vehicle in the United States since 2009.

The Sportage has generally been well-received by critics. Consumer Reports gave the first three generations high marks for reliability. However, the fourth generation has been plagued with problems.

Let’s read on for some of the most common Kia Sportage problems.

Before we dive in, check our article on how long the Kia Sportage models are expected to last.

Table of Contents

Kia Sportage Problems: 8 Common Complaints (Explained) (1)

Kia Sportage Features

The first generation Sportage was available as a four-door sedan or a five-door wagon.

The second generation saw the introduction of the two-door convertible.

The third generation was only available as a four-door SUV. The fourth and current generation is available in both four-door and two-door configurations.

All Sportage models come standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option on all but the base model.

The Sportage is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine produces 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Problems With Kia Sportage

1) Engine problems

There have been many different engine issues with the Kia Sportage. Luckily, most of those problems have been minor ones. In some cases, the Sportage has suffered engine failure. The cause of this problem is typically traced back to a faulty engine sensor. This can cause the engine to stall or shut down completely. The company has issued a recall for this problem, but many owners have reported that the fix is only temporary.

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Excession oil consumption

This is one of the most common engine problems with the Sportage. It’s an issue that affects all four-cylinder engines, not just Kia’s.

Engine knocking

Another common problem with the Sportage’s engine is engine knocking. This is a result of the engine’s piston rods not being properly secured. A solution to this problem is to have the engine’s oil changed more frequently.

Turbocharger issues

The turbocharger is a relatively new addition to the Sportage. It was first introduced in the third generation. Unfortunately, it has been known to fail prematurely. Turbocharger issues will be obvious when they occur, as the engine will lose power and make a loud whining noise.

Cylinder misfire

A cylinder misfire can be caused by a number of things, including a dirty air filter or bad spark plugs. Try to prevent this by regularly changing your air filter and spark plugs.

Fuel pump failure

The fuel pump is responsible for delivering fuel from the tank to the engine. It’s an important part of the engine, and it’s one of the most common parts to fail. Fuel pump failure will cause the engine to stall or shut down completely.

2) Cooling system problems

The Sportage’s cooling system is made up of several different parts, including the radiator, water pump, and thermostat. All of these parts can fail, but the most common problem is a leaking radiator.

If you notice your car is leaking coolant, take it to a mechanic right away. If the leak is not fixed, it could lead to your engine overheating.

3) Transmission problems

Another common problem with the Kia Sportage is transmission failure. This can be a very costly repair, as it typically requires the entire transmission to be replaced.

The cause of this problem is often due to a faulty torque converter.

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The torque converter is responsible for converting the engine’s rotational force into hydraulic pressure. This pressure is then used to move the transmission’s gears. If the torque converter fails, it can cause the transmission to slip or even fail completely.

4) Electrical problems

The Kia Sportage has also been known to have electrical problems. This is typically due to a faulty battery or alternator.

The battery is responsible for providing power to the vehicle’s electrical system. If it fails, it can cause the lights to flicker or dim, the radio to cut out, and the engine to stall. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery. If it fails, it can cause all of the same problems as a faulty battery.

5) Suspension problems

Another problem that has been reported by owners of the Kia Sportage is suspension failure. It can cause the vehicle to lose control.

This is most likely because the Sportage is a body-on-frame SUV.

Body-on-frame construction is less common these days, as most automakers have switched to unibody construction. This type of construction is lighter and more rigid, but it’s also more susceptible to suspension failure.

The cause of this problem is typically due to worn out suspension components. The shocks and struts are responsible for absorbing the impact of bumps and potholes. Over time, they can wear out and cause the vehicle to lose control.

6) Braking problems

Several different braking problems have been reported with the Sportage. The most common one is premature wear of the brake pads. This can be caused by driving in stop-and-go traffic or towing a heavy load.

Another common braking problem is the Sportage’s brakes making a squealing noise. This is usually caused by the brake pads being worn down and needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

A faulty brake caliper can also cause problems. The caliper is responsible for holding the brake pads in place. If it fails, it can cause the brakes to not work properly.

7) Interior Quality Issues

Some owners of the Kia Sportage report interior quality issues. This can include everything from loose trim to faulty door handles.

The cause of this problem is typically due to poor craftsmanship. Kia has been known to use cheap materials in the construction of their vehicles. The company has dealt with this problem in the past by recalling and replacing faulty parts.

8) Exterior Quality Issues

Another common problem with the Kia Sportage is exterior quality issues. This can include everything from faded paint to cracked headlights.

The cause of this problem is typically due to poor craftsmanship. You can deal with such issues by taking your vehicle to a reputable body shop.

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Kia Sportage Safety Rating

The Kia Sportage has a good safety rating. It received four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for frontal impact crash tests and five out of five stars for side impact crash tests.

However, the Sportage has been recalled for safety issues at times. This includes problems with the airbags, brakes, and engine.

Pros and Cons

Kia Sportage Problems: 8 Common Complaints (Explained) (2)

Pros

So what do drivers like about the Kia Sportage? The Sportage is a good value car. It’s one of the most affordable SUVs on the market with a decent resale value.

This car also has a lot of features. It comes standard with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and USB ports.

Many drivers enjoy a comfortable ride. It soaks up bumps and potholes with ease. People also like the Sportage’s sharp handling.

Cons

But the Sportage isn’t perfect. Some drivers have complained about its poor fuel economy. The EPA estimates that it gets just 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Other drivers have reported problems with the car’s engine and transmission. These are both very expensive repairs.

Here is a brief summary of the reported issues with the Kia Sportage:

  • Engine problems
  • Transmission problems
  • Electrical problems
  • Suspension problems
  • Interior quality issues
  • Exterior quality issues
  • Kia Sportage safety rating
  • Poor fuel economy
  • The Sportage is one of the top 5 problematic cars in the brand

What Do The Reviews Say?

After giving the car four out of five stars on Edmunds.com, one customer said,

” Most of the amenities you find in LEXUS models are available with a few omissions, yet at saving about 20k on the sticker price balances the purchase. The touchscreen apps and navigation are far easier to maneuver in the KIA than others. Seating is comfortable but could be improved with a more sporty wrap around seat and it rides a little high in the cab for me. “

A review of the 2021 Sportage says,

” I was surprised to learn how comfortable this car is. I drive a lot and didn’t want bad gas mileage or a vehicle that hesitated. The seats are SO comfortable, the ride is quiet, bigger interior room, including the back seat. Stylish interior and easy controls with many options. “

Resale Price

A new Kia Sportage is about $23,000 on average. But the 2021 model is selling for closer to $26,000.

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The 2020 Sportage has an excellent resale value. After three years, it’s worth an estimated 58.5% of its original price. This is above the average for SUVs.

The 2019 Sportage has a good resale value. After three years, it’s worth an estimated 54.3% of its original price.

Final Thoughts About The Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is a good SUV. It has a comfortable interior and a good safety rating. However, it has been known to have several common problems.

These include engine failure, transmission failure, electrical problems, suspension problems, and exterior quality issues. If you’re considering buying a Kia Sportage, be sure to do your research and be prepared for repairs at some point.

Whatever problems exist, many drivers clearly like the car due to its comfort level.

Sources

https://www.edmunds.com/kia/sportage/2021/consumer-reviews/

https://www.edmunds.com/kia/sportage/2020/consumer-reviews/

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FAQs

What are common problems with Kia? ›

What are the most common Kia problems?
  • Engine malfunction and failure.
  • Transmission problems due to outdated software.
  • Faulty electrical system.
1 May 2022

How reliable is the 2022 Kia Sportage? ›

The 2022 Kia Sportage has a predicted reliability score of 88 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

What is the most reliable year for Kia Sportage? ›

Here's The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Kia Sportage Are: The best Kia Sportage model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2019, 2014, 2010, and 2008. The worst model years of the Sportage are 2017, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1999, and 1998.

Is Kia Sportage a reliable car? ›

We expect the 2022 Sportage will have about average reliability when compared to the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2019, 2020 and 2021 models. Select the used car model year to see reported issues with those similar past models.

Which Kia Sportage models are recalled? ›

Kia America, Inc. (Kia) is recalling certain 2016-2022 Sorento, 2021-2022 Sorento Hybrid (HEV), 2022-2023 Sorento Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), and 2017-2022 Sportage vehicles equipped with a tow hitch harness installed as original equipment, or purchased as an accessory through a Kia dealership.

What is the latest Kia recall? ›

The recalled SUVs include the 2016-2022 Sorento, 2021-2022 Sorento Hybrid, 2022-2022 Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, and 2017-2022 Kia Sportage that have genuine Kia tow hitch harnesses installed.

Is Kia better than Toyota? ›

Exceptional reliability is the name of the game with both Toyota and Kia. A 2019 study done by J.D. Power found Kia is highest in U.S. initial quality in the non-premium category. J.D. Power also ranked the 2016 Kia Soul, as well as the 2016 Toyota Corolla, Prius, and Prius V among the most dependable cars on the road.

Is Kia as reliable as Toyota? ›

Hyundai, Kia and Toyota are among the top five most dependable car brands, claims a study by JD Power.

How long do Kia Sportage engines last? ›

Ultimately, expect somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. But in rare cases, a Kia Sportage can clock a quarter of a million miles or more.

Why is Kia Sportage so cheap? ›

KIAs are cheap because they use plastic as the raw material for their vehicle bodies. Their production line is short, and have a reputation of being a disposable car as they are built to last five to seven years. The low cost of labor is another reason for KIA's affordability.

Who makes the engines for Kia Sportage? ›

Hyundai Theta engine

Although there are three variations of the engine, the Kia Sportage only uses Theta II engines.

Do Kia Sportage have any problems? ›

The Kia Sportage is a good SUV. It has a comfortable interior and a good safety rating. However, it has been known to have several common problems. These include engine failure, transmission failure, electrical problems, suspension problems, and exterior quality issues.

Are Kia Sportage repairs expensive? ›

A KIA Sportage will cost about $7,873 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular SUV models by $1,260. There is also a 23.71% chance that a Sportage will require a major repair during that time. This is 2.21% worse than similar vehicles in this segment.

Is Kia Sportage fuel efficient? ›

Gas Mileage of the 2022 Sportage

The 2022 Kia Sportage FWD variations get incredible gas mileage ratings. The numbers read 23 MPG within city limits, 30 MPG on the interstate, and 26 MPG combined. AWD models get 22 MPG within the city, 26 MPG highway, and 23 MPG combined.

Is Kia Sportage a good SUV? ›

Is the 2023 Kia Sportage a Good SUV? Yes, the 2023 Sportage is a good compact SUV. It features a spacious cabin, class-leading cargo space and rear-seat legroom, cutting-edge interior tech and a long list of standard amenities. It's not without issues, though, notably that its sole engine offering is underpowered.

What problems do Kia Sportage 2022 have? ›

Engine failure, oil over-consumption, and engine fires have been some common issues that have been troubling the Sportage. An “Engine overheating” warning, burning smell inside the cabin, thick smoke from the tailpipe and stuck throttle/ engine RPMs are precursors to the aforementioned complaints as per owners.

Do Kia Sportage have transmission problems? ›

It's a type of car problem that's not hard to notice. 2021 Kia Sportage transmission problems could include shifting delays, grinding when accelerating, a feeling of shakiness, or whistling noises or a burning smell coming from beneath the hood.

Does the 2023 Kia Sportage have engine problems? ›

Kia has issued a recall alert for its newly redesigned Sportage SUV to fix a problem that could lead to an engine fire. Thankfully, the automaker isn't aware of any engine fires caused by the defect, and the problem can be fixed easily. The recall covers about 20,000 Sportage SUVs from the 2023 model year.

Will Kia replace my engine under warranty? ›

The lifetime warranty covers the short block assembly, consisting of the engine block, crankshaft and main bearings, connecting rods and connecting rod bearings, and pistons when damaged due to connecting rod bearing failure.

What does FE stand for on Kia Sportage? ›

Fuel Efficiency.

Kia has manufactured models of Sportage FE FWD for 3 years. They average 25.7 combined miles per gallon, with the latest 2019 Sportage FE FWD below average at 25 combined MPG.

Which Kia have engine problems? ›

As well, the 2012-14 Sorento, 2011-14 Kia Optima, and 2011-13 Sportage were also recalled due to similar issues. Over a million Kia and Hyundai models have been recalled to correct engine problems. These engines include the turbocharged 2.4 liter and 2.0-liter engines.

How many miles can you get out of a Kia Sportage? ›

Ultimately, expect somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. But in rare cases, a Kia Sportage can clock a quarter of a million miles or more.

Do Kia Sportage have transmission problems? ›

It's a type of car problem that's not hard to notice. 2021 Kia Sportage transmission problems could include shifting delays, grinding when accelerating, a feeling of shakiness, or whistling noises or a burning smell coming from beneath the hood.

Are Kia Sportage repairs expensive? ›

A KIA Sportage will cost about $7,873 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular SUV models by $1,260. There is also a 23.71% chance that a Sportage will require a major repair during that time. This is 2.21% worse than similar vehicles in this segment.

Does Kia pay for engine replacement? ›

Millions of people who drive a Hyundai or Kia may be eligible for a free replacement engine under a recent class action settlement.

Is Kia as reliable as Toyota? ›

Is Kia more reliable than Toyota? Both Kia and Toyota are known for reliability, and both have a RepairPal reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0. However, RepairPal ranks Kia third overall and Toyota eighth overall, so Kias may be slightly more reliable.

Does Kia have a lifetime engine warranty? ›

If you have not done so, please visit a Kia dealership to receive this software update. The lifetime warranty covers the short block assembly, consisting of the engine block, crankshaft and main bearings, connecting rods and connecting rod bearings, and pistons when damaged due to connecting rod bearing failure.

How long do Kia engines last? ›

On average, a Kia can last about 200,000 miles. Keeping up with regular maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure any vehicle's longevity, and that rule holds true for your Kia.

Are Kia cars expensive to fix? ›

As an accessible brand with high-reliability ratings, Kias tend to be significantly cheaper to maintain than the average automobile, with an annual repair cost of around $474—far less than the average vehicle maintenance cost of $652.

What is the fuel average of Kia Sportage? ›

The 2022 Kia Sportage FWD with a 2.0 Liter engine, offers a mileage of 20 MPG on city roads, 28 MPG on highways, and a combined economy of 23 MPG. With LX and a 2.4L engine (FWD), you'll get the city, highway and combined mileage of 23 MPG, 30 MPG, and 26 MPG, respectively.

Who makes the engines for Kia Sportage? ›

Hyundai Theta engine

Although there are three variations of the engine, the Kia Sportage only uses Theta II engines.

Are there any recalls on the 2022 Kia Sportage? ›

The recalled SUVs include the 2016-2022 Sorento, 2021-2022 Sorento Hybrid, 2022-2022 Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, and 2017-2022 Kia Sportage that have genuine Kia tow hitch harnesses installed.

Is Kia Sportage a safe SUV? ›

The IIHS updated some of its crash tests this year to ensure that vehicles are safer on the roads. The 2023 Kia Sportage SUV received the Top Safety Pick award thanks to the new tests. There are six crashworthiness tests that vehicles have to earn a rating of “good” to qualify.

Are Kia engines reliable? ›

The Kia Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 3rd out of 32 for all car brands. This rating is based on an average across 345 unique models. “Kia had 3 popular models in the top 30 with Excellent ratings, including the Soul, Rio, and Forte.

Is Kia a reliable SUV? ›

This year Kia ranked first for all vehicles in J.D. Power's 2022 dependability study, and first in non-luxury vehicles. That's a feat worth celebrating. Climbing from third in the 2021 rankings, Kia previously ranked third out of all brands and first in non-luxury vehicles.

Do KIAS hold their value? ›

Kia, wouldn't want to be ya'-at least when it comes to resale value. Kia falls in the bottom half when looking across popular vehicle manufacturers. The exception for Kia, is their Soul model, which ranked in the top 25 of all models for value retention.

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