5 Best And Worst Years For The Kia Sportage

Learn good and bad things about the Kia Sportage models

Production started for the Kia Sportage back in 1993 and is continuing in the present day with no signs of slowing down.

The car was reclassified as a Compact Crossover Sports Utility Vehicle in 1993 and was previously in the Compact SUV class.

A car that has been in production for so long is bound to have a lot of different models, each with its own set of positives and negatives.

This is why; I will be going over the best and worst years for Kia Sportage in an attempt to provide you with the best models in the lineup while actively helping you avoid the bad ones.

Worst Years for Kia Sportage:

  1. 2012
  2. 2017
  3. 2013
  4. 2011
  5. 2014

Best Years for Kia Sportage:

  1. 2019
  2. 2015
  3. 2010
  4. 2016
  5. 2020

I will discuss all of these models in great detail, along with everything you need to know about the Kia Sportage so without further delay, let’s get into the article.

What Are The Worst Years For The Kia Sportage? Which Years To Avoid

In this list, I will talk about the worst models of the Kia Sportage, and you would do your best to avoid them at all costs. Why? Let’s find out!

1. 2012 Kia Sportage

Undoubtedly the worst model in the entire lineup, the 2012 Kia Sportage’s main downfall was the sheer amount of engine problems which hurt the car’s reputation.

Excessive engine noise was quite common in the model but was not even the worst issue as the engine would completely stop working while the user would drive the car.

This would happen suddenly and without warning making the issue all the more confusing. This would lead to the owner having to purchase a completely new engine.

The 2012 model also suffered from 4 different recalls, the biggest of which was related to the car’s bearing, which could cause the engine to seize up.

Another issue that the car suffered was engine damage which could eventually lead to a fire in the engine compartment, which, as you can imagine, is very dangerous.

Overall, this model is something you need to avoid.

2. 2017 Kia Sportage

Being just a few complaints short of the 2012 model, the 2017 Kia Sportage takes the second spot on this list.

And for a good reason, as this car also suffered from a variety of engine issues, the biggest of which was excessive oil consumption, which was complained about a lot by the NHTSA.

Additionally, this issue would lead to other engine problems, including complete engine failure, rough idling, engine overheating, and the engine stalling repeatedly.

3. 2013 Kia Sportage

If you look into the issues which hurt the 2013 Kia Sportage’s reputation, you will find that, once again, engine problems are a huge cause for concern.

Blown engines are extremely common in this model, as well as the knocking sound in the 2012 model.

Being the model which came directly after the 2012 model, it could not escape the issue of the engine dying while driving, which is quite unfortunate.

However, the issue itself would happen less often.

4. 2011 Kia Sportage

The NHTSA had a lot to say about the 2011 Kia Sportage, specifically the engine and the brakes.

Once again, engine failure was a common issue with the model, accompanied by the engine seizing while being driven and the turbo actuator failing.

When it came to the brakes, master cylinder failure was common, along with brake light switch failure. All this was accompanied by the brakes locking up, preventing the car from starting.

5. 2014 Kia Sportage

While the 2014 Kia Sportage is by no means a bad car, it still has many more issues compared to other models in the lineup, which is why it takes last place on this list.

The reason for this is exactly what you would expect; engine problems.

These engine problems were not as common as in the models above but were enough to get the NHTSA to issue multiple complaints regarding excessive oil consumption, engine fires, and stalling while driving.

What Are The Best Years For The Kia Sportage? Which Years To Buy

Now that you know which models you should stay away from, here are a few models that you should consider when browsing the Kia Sportage.

1. 2019 Kia Sportage

Released not too long ago, the 2019 Kia Sportage is often held in high regard by most people, which is why I decided to place it first.

The 2019 Kia Sportage manages to avoid most major problems that plagued previous models and can deliver an astounding driving experience, equipped with automatic emergency braking and features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

This five-seat compact SUV comes in 2 different four-cylinder engines, which are widely considered the most reliable engines in the entire lineup, so you should be in good hands if you buy this particular model.

Stellar performance with the turbo engine and accurate steering feedback help elevate the car’s experience, which is available in 3 different trims, offering a good amount of choices for you to choose from.

Overall, it is safe to say that this is the best Kia Sportage model.

2. 2015 Kia Sportage

Coming in with a modern design with a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity as standard, along with a Panoramic moon roof available, the 2015 Kia Sportage is another reliable model in this amazing lineup that has little to worry about.

The vast amount of safety features and a superb warranty make the 2015 Kia Sportage appealing, and the amazing handling and feel of the car go well with how reliable the car truly is.

3. 2010 Kia Sportage

If you are looking for a reliable SUV with decent riding quality, a great warranty, and a low base price, then look no further than the 2010 Kia Sportage, which boasts all of these and so much more.

While only coming in 2 different trims, the variety of options was staggering; FWD & AWD were available, along with manual and automatic variants.

4-cylinder or V6 engines were also among the choices that helped elevate this Kia Sportage model.

4. 2016 Kia Sportage

Even though it came a year after the 2015 model, it is ranked lower as it boasts pretty much the same features, with the main addition being a wide range of available luxury features such as ventilated front seats.

Additionally, the steering feel was not as good as the 2015 model, which also hurt the 2016 Kia Sportage, but overall, it was a pretty good model that many owners loved due to its reliability and lack of issues.

5. 2020 Kia Sportage

The Final model on this list is the 2020 Kia Sportage. While it is still technically in its infancy, it came with 4 different trims and a new interior which is a vast improvement over the previous one.

Showing off great value for money along with solid performance, the 2020 Kia Sportage has exceptional reliability, and while it is too early to say, it has no glaring issues either that drag it down, making it a good vehicle to purchase.

How Reliable Is A Kia Sportage?

Reliability is what many customers look for when browsing vehicles, and if you want a reliable vehicle, then I can safely say that the Kia Sportage is a reliable car, beating out most of the competition when it comes to similar cars.

Moreover, the reliability is determined by various factors, from major issues to repair costs and how long the car can typically last.

The Kia Sportage impresses in all of these categories, having fewer to no issues in certain models, being much cheaper to repair than other cars in its category, and being able to last a long time.

How Long Do Kia Sportages Last?

People want their cars to last a long time, and while the Kia Sportage does not break any record when it comes to how long it lasts, it is still a good amount for an SUV.

The Kia Sportage can last at least 200,000 miles, and you can even bump this up by an extra 50,000 miles if you carry out regular maintenance.

This means that the Kia Sportage can last anywhere between 13 to 16 years.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Kia Sportage

Being a responsible car owner, you have to carry out certain tasks and develop various habits to prevent your car from breaking down early on.

Here are some of them that help bolster the life of your Kia Sportage, making it last a very long time:

  • Check and maintain tire pressure.
  • Regularly swap filters in the Car.
  • Drive the car daily.
  • Use quality fuel.
  • Drive within the weight limits of the Kia Sportage.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance.

By developing all of these habits, your Kia Sportage will last much longer than others and have significantly fewer issues as well.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Kia Sportage

There are a lot of bad habits and activities that can actively shorten the life of your Kia Sportage.

I will be listing them here so that you can learn to avoid them and not cut down the life of your Kia Sportage.

  • Not enough/too much driving.
  • Driving on rough terrain.
  • Driving with bad tires.
  • Hard braking.
  • Leaving your Kia Sportage in the cold.
  • Improper gear shifting.

By avoiding all of these, I can guarantee that your Kia Sportage will not only last longer but will also help you prevent any problems from springing up that can reduce the life of the compact SUV.

3 Most Kia Sportage Common Problems You Should Know

The Kia Sportage may be a wonderful car overall, but it’s not free from its faults as there are many issues that plague the Kia Sportage.

I will list down three of the most common issues that have affected various Kia Sportages over the years so that you know what you are dealing with.

1. Excessive Oil Consumption

This issue is quite common in a variety of different cars and is also most commonly found in the Kia Sportage. The car, more particularly the 2017 model, saw an abnormal amount of oil consumption.

Customers found themselves running out of oil every 300 to 400 miles which is a very annoying situation as not only do you have to suffer a trip to the mechanic, but you also have to pay for new oil.

Owners of the Kia Sportage report this issue happening early on in the lifespan of their vehicle, around 55,000 miles or so which is completely unacceptable.

Furthermore, the only reliable fix for this issue was to get the engine replaced, and this was usually not covered by a warranty and forced owners to pay close to $6,000 for a new engine which is a lot of money.

2. Engine Failure

The next most common problem that the Kia Sportage suffered from was complete engine failure.

Once again, this problem is common in many different brands and cars but definitely sticks out in the Kia Sportage.

What is most alarming about this problem is the fact of how suddenly the issue can arise. You can be driving your car like any other day, and suddenly it will just stop.

This issue goes hand in hand with the excessive oil consumption problem, as that issue can lead to this one. It will begin with you hearing a knocking sound from under the hood.

In many cases, the engine will simply blow up, which is extremely dangerous. Additionally, this issue can also occur very early on at around 55,000 miles which is not something you expect from the Kia Sportage lineup.

3. Engine Compartment Fire

This issue is extremely life-threatening and also quite a big one as it led to the recall of more than 379,000 cars. This recall also happened just over a year ago as well.

Moreover, the main problem which causes the engine to burst into flames is with the HECU or the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit. The electrical circuit located inside the HECU starts to short circuit, which eventually leads to a fire in the engine compartment.

The risk is so large that the company itself recommends the owners of the Kia Sportage park their cars outside and away from buildings until they can have the issue resolved.

This is another very unfortunate issue that you do not expect from big and experienced companies like Kia, but unfortunately, that is what a lot of people have to deal with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Kia Sportage A Good Car?

The Kia Sportage is easy to drive and boasts impressive quality and comfortability, making it a worthy rival for its competitors and a good car overall.

While it has its ups and downs, and not every model is that great, the Kia Sportage still manages to impress people with its light steering and good visibility, helping it stand out among the sea of Sports Utility Vehicles that are currently on the market.

Q2: Do Kia Sportages Hold Their Value?

While finding an exact value was difficult for the Kia Sportage, the trend of the values that I could find showed that the Kia Sportage is a pretty good car when it comes to retaining its value.

This one has a low depreciation rate and impressive resale values, which allow it to appeal to a lot of people who are looking for a vehicle that can easily retain its value for a long time.

Q3: How Many Kia Sportages Have Been Sold?

Since its launch back in 1993, the Kia Sportage has managed to sell well over 5 million units, making it one of the best-selling Sports Utility Vehicles currently.

While numbers have seen a drop in recent times, the Kia Sportage still shows no sign of stopping, selling more and more units as the days go.

While it is difficult to determine the exact number, you can be sure it is more than 5 million.

Q4: Which Kia Sportage Engine Is The Most Reliable?

The newer Kia Sportage offers a 1.6 L, 4-cylinder T-GDI engine that is capable of outputting 261 hp and is configured to a six-speed automatic but can also be set to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Being the latest engine in the lineup, you can be sure that it features upgrades that help make it extremely reliable and worth purchasing the newer models of the Kia Sportage.

Q5: Is Kia Sportage Expensive To Maintain?

When you look at its competitors and see how much capital they require per year to maintain and fix, you will see that the Kia Sportage is actually cheaper in comparison, requiring $460-$500 per year which is less than other similar cars that are its competitors.

As long as you do not have to make a costly repair, you will find that the Kia Sportage is not at all expensive to fix and maintain year round.


The Sports Utility Vehicle market is filled to the brim with a lot of good and well-known vehicles.

It is easy to get lost in the variety of different cars you can find, but one thing is certain; the Kia Sportage is able to carve a name for itself and establish a good reputation.

With the help of this article, you should be able to figure out the best and worst years for Kia Sportage.

Moreover, you should be able to decide which models you should avoid and the best models you need to purchase for the Kia Sportage.

Along with this, you should have all the necessary information you need for the Kia Sportage as well.



Written by Kane Dan

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