2020 Kia Sportage SX AWD Review: Power, Quality, and Capability

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2020 Kia Sportage SX AWD Review: Power, Quality, and Capability
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The 2020 Kia Sportage has been a popular choice in the compact SUV segment, and while an updated model is on the horizon, we thought it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the current version to see how it stacks up against newer competition. In this review, we’ll explore the exterior design, interior features, driving experience, off-road capability, pricing, and our overall impressions of the Sportage SX Turbo AWD.

Outside: A Unique and Stylish Design

The Kia Sportage features a distinctive design that sets it apart from its rivals. With its lifted stance and rugged styling cues, the Sportage offers a more off-pavement capable alternative to the typical compact sedan. The front end showcases Kia’s signature grill, accompanied by projector headlights and LED fog lights. From the side, the Sportage’s wheels are pushed to the corners, enhancing its performance on both pavement and off-road. Optional roof rail cross bars provide additional storage options. At the rear, the Sportage boasts sleek tail lights, dual exhaust outlets, and a spoiler. The only downside is that the rear glass does not open separately from the hatch, limiting storage flexibility.

Inside the Sportage SX: Comfort and Convenience

The Sportage SX is the top trim level and offers a range of standard features. The interior is a two-tone mix of light gray and dark gray accents, creating a sophisticated and modern ambiance. The heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated leather seats add a touch of luxury to the driving experience. The steering wheel houses controls for audio, phone, navigation, and cruise control, providing convenient access to essential functions. Paddle shifters are also available for those who prefer manual shifting. One standout feature in the Sportage is the ability to lock the passengers’ windows while allowing the driver to control them, making it a practical choice for families with kids and pets.

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The infotainment touchscreen with built-in navigation is positioned at the top of the dash, ensuring easy visibility and operation. Physical buttons remain for climate and radio controls, allowing for quick and intuitive adjustments. The Sportage also offers multiple charging options, including wireless charging, two 12-volt outlets, and a USB-A outlet up front. Rear-seat passengers have an additional USB-A port and a 12-volt outlet for their convenience.

The seating in the Sportage is comfortable for both front and rear occupants, although fitting five adults may make the rear seats a bit tight. The rear cupholder armrest can be folded down to provide additional comfort. The cargo area is adequate for a family of four, with the option to fold down the rear seats to accommodate larger items. Overall, the Sportage SX offers a well-appointed and spacious interior that caters to the needs of its occupants.

Driving: Power and Performance

Under the hood of the Sportage SX Turbo resides a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, delivering 237 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. This power is channeled through a reliable 6-speed automatic transmission. The Sportage’s compact size makes it nimble and easy to maneuver, particularly in tight parking lots. The slightly elevated ride height provides a commanding view of the road.

On the highway, the Sportage SX Turbo performs admirably with its adaptive cruise control system that maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead. The steering wheel-mounted controls for the system are intuitive and user-friendly. When passing slower vehicles at highway speeds, the Sportage’s ample power ensures smooth and confident overtaking maneuvers. While the 6-speed automatic transmission may have fewer gears compared to some rivals, it doesn’t significantly impact fuel efficiency. The Sportage SX Turbo is rated at 19 city and 24 highway mpg, with our testing reflecting a combined average closer to the 24 mpg mark.

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Off-Road Capability: Exploring the Great Outdoors

Kia has been emphasizing off-pavement capability in its crossover lineup, and the Sportage is no exception. While it may not match the prowess of dedicated off-road vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, the Sportage still offers some off-road capabilities. The AWD system and higher torque output from the turbocharged engine enable the Sportage to tackle rough roads and moderate off-road terrain with confidence. However, the independent suspension setup limits high-speed travel over rough terrain. The Sportage performs best on well-maintained forest and fire roads, making it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Pricing and Value

Starting at $35,090 for the 2020 model year, the Sportage SX Turbo AWD offers a well-equipped package. Additional options, such as cargo mats, cargo nets, roof cross bars, and a tow hitch, can be added for enhanced versatility. The total price, including destination charges, comes to $37,290. While the Sportage SX Turbo may have a higher price tag compared to some competitors, its power, quality fit and finish, and range of features make it a compelling choice for those seeking a premium compact SUV.

Wrapping Up the Sportage: Power, Quality, and Value Combined

In conclusion, the 2020 Kia Sportage SX Turbo impresses with its strong performance, high-quality interior, and stylish design. The reliable transmission ensures smooth gear shifts, and the comfortable seating and ample cargo space contribute to a pleasant driving experience. While it may not be the most affordable option in its class, the Sportage SX Turbo offers a well-rounded package that blends power, quality, and value.

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  1. What is the starting price of the 2020 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD?
    The Sportage SX Turbo AWD starts at $35,090 for the 2020 model year.

  2. Does the Kia Sportage SX Turbo offer off-road capability?
    The Sportage is designed to handle light off-road adventures, thanks to its AWD system and turbocharged engine. However, it’s best suited for well-maintained forest and fire roads rather than challenging off-road trails.

  3. How fuel-efficient is the Sportage SX Turbo?
    The Sportage SX Turbo is rated at 19 city and 24 highway mpg. However, during our testing, we achieved a combined average closer to 24 mpg.

  4. Are there any cheaper alternatives to the Sportage SX Turbo?
    For those seeking a similarly equipped and sized vehicle at a lower price point, the Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD and the Mazda CX-30 are worth considering.


The 2020 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD proves to be a capable and well-rounded compact SUV. With its powerful engine, comfortable interior, and stylish design, it offers a compelling package for those in search of a versatile and enjoyable driving experience. While the price may be on the higher side compared to some competitors, the Sportage SX Turbo’s combination of power, quality, and features make it a worthy contender in the compact SUV segment. For more car news and reviews, visit Car news.