Discover Kia Sportage Years to Avoid Vs Sportage Best Years to Buy

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you hunting for a used compact SUV that can easily handle all your family trips? Look no further than the Kia Sportage.

But before you make a purchase, you need to know which Kia Sportage years to avoid and which ones are worth your investment. 

We’ll reveal the Kia Sportage models to steer clear of, including the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2017 models, with common problems such as excessive oil consumption, brake issues, interior problems, and engine problems.

But don’t despair – we’ll also highlight the Kia Sportage best years models, with improved design, spacious cargo areas, and better fuel economy.

Sportage Years to Avoid

The Worst Sportage Years to Avoid

Not all used models are worth your time and hope, and you must avoid them to not experience many headaches over sudden/costly repairs.

Look below for a comprehensive list of the best and worst years for Kia Sportage used versions, but first, the worst ones:

  • 2017: This model year is known for its reliability concerns, with some owners experiencing engine failure. It’s one of the worst years for the Sportage, so be cautious if considering this model.
  • 2013: The 2013 Sportage was another troubled year, facing issues like increased engine noise and unexpected acceleration. It’s best to steer clear of this model year.
  • 2012: Ranking as one of the least reliable Sportage years, the 2012 model suffered from significant engine problems, diminishing its overall appeal.
  • 2011: Plagued with engine problems, including possible engine seizure or failure, the 2011 Kia Sportage is another year to avoid.

Common Problems with Sportage

Kia Sportage Engine Problems

Some common engine problems you might experience with specific Kia Sportage years include engine failure, excessive oil consumption, and engine damage. Notably, the 2011, 2012, and 2013 model years have garnered the most customer complaints concerning engine problems.

You may also encounter a check engine light or engine stalling due to a faulty engine sensor. Please be aware that a faulty piston rod in the engine can cause knocking noises.

Electrical Problems

Kia Sportage’s electrical problems may include issues with the car’s speed controller and engine cooling system.

If you’re facing these problems, be particularly cautious with the 2012, 2013, and 2017 models, as customers have reported encountering these issues more frequently in those years.

Suspension Problems

While suspension problems are less widespread in the Kia Sportage, you should still be cautious about encountering them.

Unfortunately, information about specific years and suspension problems isn’t readily available, but it’s essential to be diligent with regular maintenance to help prevent these issues.

Interior Issues

Interior issues are another area where the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2017 Kia Sportage models share similar problems.

Take note that you should pay attention to the aesthetics and functionality of the interior components when inspecting these models before purchasing.

Recalls and Safety Concerns

Some Kia Sportage models have faced recalls and safety concerns in recent years. One noteworthy recall for select 2017-2021 Kia Sportage models involved a fire risk.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), affected vehicle owners were instructed to park their cars outside and away from their homes until the issue was addressed.

Here’s a summary of known issues with specific Sportage models:

  • 2011-2013 Sportage: Engine problems, including excessive oil consumption and engine failure caused by faulty engine sensors.
  • 2017 Sportage: Engine failure and stalling mid-driving, with 288 complaints and three NHTSA recalls issued.
  • 2017-2021 Sportage: Fire risk recall issued by the NHTSA, affecting 379,931 Sportage vehicles.

Using the NHTSA’s VIN lookup tool, you can quickly check a specific Kia Sportage’s recall status. You can confidently choose the right Kia Sportage for your needs by staying informed and aware of potential issues.

The Kia Sportage Best Years

Over the years, the Sportage has remained a top model SUV with more positive reviews from owners and industry-based government agencies like NHTSA statistics:

  • 2023: The 2023 model is an excellent choice for those looking to buy the newest iteration of the Sportage. It offers the latest technology, safety features, and design.
  • 2022: The 2022 Kia Sportage is another excellent option. It’s praised for its reliability and has many standard features, including advanced driver assistance technologies.
  • 2021: A popular choice for its strong performance and well-rounded nature, the 2021 Kia Sportage offers impressive features and a comfortable interior.
  • 2019: If you’re searching for a slightly older model, the 2019 Kia Sportage is a solid pick. It boasts a smooth ride, a user-friendly infotainment system, and good fuel efficiency.
  • 2014: Featuring a well-appointed interior and a comfortable ride, the 2014 Sportage is a reliable and affordable choice for those seeking a pre-owned vehicle. It certainly qualified as one of the best years for Kia Sportage and is highly reliable.

reliable Kia Sportage blue

Kia Sportage vs Competitors

Let’s share something you might love: comparing Sportage with rivals to help you make a better choice. These compact SUVs have their strengths and weaknesses, and comparing them can help you decide which is the best fit for your needs.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V offers a comfortable ride and impressive fuel efficiency thanks to its available hybrid powertrain.

The CR-V is known for its spacious interior and ample cargo space, making it an excellent choice for families or anyone needing extra room for gear.

Some features of the Honda CR-V, available in all best models, include:

  • Available hybrid powertrain for improved fuel efficiency,
  • Spacious interior and generous cargo space,
  • Standard Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety features,
  • Here are the worst versions of the Honda CR-V to avoid.

Ford Escape

The Ford Escape offers multiple powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid option, providing more performance and fuel efficiency choices.

The Escape also has a user-friendly infotainment system and a comfortable, well-designed cabin.

Key points about the Ford Escape are:

  • Multiple powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Comfortable and well-designed interior

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is a popular choice in the compact SUV segment, offering a roomy, comfortable interior and good fuel efficiency.

The RAV-4 is known for good performance and reliability, and the RAV4 also offers an available hybrid option for even better fuel savings.

Look below for some positive features while also avoiding the worst RAV4 models:

  • Spacious and comfortable interior
  • Good fuel efficiency, with an available hybrid option
  • Reputation for reliability

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is another strong competitor, offering a comfortable ride and a well-appointed interior.

With a range of available safety and technology features, Tucson provides good value for the price.

Key points about the Hyundai Tucson’s best versions are:

  • Comfortable ride and well-appointed interior
  • Good range of available safety and technology features

How to Identify and Prevent Problems

A great skill to have as you hunt for a good Kia Sportage is how to spot potential problems.

Firstly, pay attention to the steering wheel. Some owners have reported issues with the steering, such as difficulty when turning or a shaking sensation. To avoid this issue, test drive the vehicle and ensure the steering feels smooth and secure.

Consider the trim levels when selecting a used Kia Sportage. Some model years come with multiple trim levels, which may affect the overall performance and quality of the vehicle. Research each trim level and choose the best suits your needs and preferences.

Avoid the stated problematic model years – 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2017 models as they have been reported to experience engine, braking, and interior issues.

Once you acquire one, embrace regular maintenance to prevent potential issues and minimize repair costs. Create a maintenance schedule and follow it consistently to keep your Kia Sportage in good condition.

Some essential items in your maintenance plan should include:

  • Regular oil changes to prevent excessive oil consumption and potential engine problems.
  • Checking and replacing the engine sensor, as a faulty sensor, can lead to engine failure.
  • They were inspecting and maintaining the A/C and heater systems, as some owners have reported issues such as loud noises and ineffective temperature control.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Sportage

Now, let’s also discuss the pros and cons of buying a used Kia Sportage:

The Pros

  • Affordable: A used Kia Sportage may come at a great price compared to a new car, making it an attractive option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly vehicle.
  • Spacious Interior: The Sportage offers a comfortable and roomy cabin, especially in models from 2010 onwards, making for a pleasant driving experience.
  • Good Fuel Economy: With fuel-efficient engine options, a used Kia Sportage can save you money on gas and reduce your environmental impact in the long run.

And, the Cons

  • Interior Issues: Some pre-2010 models have complained about less-than-ideal interior features, making the ride less comfortable.
  • Cargo Space: Some models, particularly the 2021 Sportage, have been critiqued for limited cargo space with the back seats up, causing constraints when loading belongings.
  • Fundamental Issues and Maintenance Costs: Like any used car, a Kia Sportage may come with some wear and tear, so it’s essential to research the specific model’s potential problems and maintenance costs before purchasing.

Your ultimate decision should consider both the pros and cons and your personal preferences and budget constraints.

Trim Levels and Features

Considering the Kia Sportage’s different trim levels and features allows you to have more options:

Base Model

The base model of the Kia Sportage offers a solid foundation in terms of features and capabilities.

You’ll find a spacious interior with comfortable seating and a generous cargo space. The base model also has essential safety features, such as a rearview camera and stability control.

Upgraded Features

As you explore higher trim levels, you’ll gain access to additional features that enhance your driving experience:

  • Infotainment System: The Kia Sportage has an intuitive infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. This enables seamless smartphone integration to access music, messaging, and navigation apps.
  • Climate Control: Higher trim levels offer dual-zone automatic climate control for added comfort, ensuring you and your passengers stay comfortable, regardless of personal temperature preferences.
  • Safety Features: Additional safety features become available as you upgrade the trim levels. Blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control are notable options that can further enhance safety and convenience on the road.
  • Fuel Economy: While the base model maintains decent fuel economy, upgrading to a higher trim may improve efficiency, mainly if a more advanced powertrain is included.
  • Electrical System: Options like a wireless charging pad, USB ports, and a 110-volt power outlet increase convenience for charging devices and powering accessories during your journey.

Add the trim level tips about new features as part of your arsenal to shop and know which years to avoid, and you’re well-equipped to make a wise decision on your Kia Sportage purchase.

Buying a New Kia Sportage

Latest Models

When considering the purchase of a new Kia Sportage, it’s recommended to focus on the latest models.

Recent years, such as the 2021, 2022, and upcoming 2023 Kia Sportage, provide improved features, reliability, and technology.

The newest models have overcome some of the issues present in older models, and you’ll benefit from the advancements in technology and design.

The recent Sportage models come with a 1.6 L, 4-cylinder T-GDI engine capable of 261 horsepower and offer the choice between a six-speed automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Fewer Issues

The newer Kia Sportage models have an encouraging track record in reliability and performance and are generally more dependable cars.

They also fitted updated features, improved fuel efficiency, and enhanced driving comfort. They generally minimized the risk of experiencing engine, brake, or interior malfunctions reported in problematic Kia Sportage models.

Hybrid and Electric Models

Besides the traditional gas engine options, Kia has expanded its lineup to include hybrid and electric vehicles.

The 2021 Kia Sorento is one of their popular hybrid models, and it’s considered to be a tremendous fuel-efficient alternative to the standard gasoline-powered Kia cars.

As the automotive industry continues to evolve towards greener options, you may be interested in the upcoming Kia Sportage Hybrid or electric models.

Keep an eye on Kia’s announcements, as they will likely introduce greener alternatives in their popular Sportage series soon.

These models provide better technology fewer issues, and expand your options to consider fuel-efficient hybrid or electric alternatives.


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