2019 Volkswagen Tiguan vs. 2020 Kia Sportage

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Tiguan has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Sportage doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Tiguan (except S/SE) offers optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Sportage doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Tiguan SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Sportage only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Sportage doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Tiguan and the Sportage have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Tiguan comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Sportage’s 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 12000 miles sooner.

The Tiguan’s corrosion warranty is 5 years and unlimited miles longer than the Sportage’s (10/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

The Volkswagen Tiguan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Sportage’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

The Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (184 vs. 181) and 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 175) than the Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Tiguan gets better fuel mileage than the Sportage:

MPG

Tiguan

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

Sportage

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/26 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Tiguan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sportage doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Tiguan higher (7 out of 10) than the Kia Sportage (3 to 7). This means the Tiguan produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Sportage every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volkswagen Tiguan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Sportage.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Tiguan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Sportage:

Tiguan

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Tiguan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sportage (255/45R19 vs. 245/45R19).

The Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sportage SX Turbo’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line has standard 20-inch wheels. The Sportage’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Tiguan has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Sportage doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tiguan’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Sportage (109.8 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

The Tiguan SEL 4Motion® handles at .82 G’s, while the Sportage LX pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Tiguan has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Sportage (7.9 vs. 6.8 inches), allowing the Tiguan to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Tiguan offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Sportage can only carry 5.

The Tiguan has 25.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Sportage (123.9 vs. 98.6).

The Tiguan has .3 inches more front headroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sportage.

The front step up height for the Tiguan is 1.1 inches lower than the Sportage (17.4” vs. 18.5”). The Tiguan’s rear step up height is 1.9 inches lower than the Sportage’s (17.5” vs. 19.4”).

Cargo Capacity

The Tiguan’s cargo area provides more volume than the Sportage.

Tiguan

Sportage

Third Seat Folded

33 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

37.6 cubic feet

30.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.7 cubic feet

60.1 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

73.5 cubic feet

60.1 cubic feet

The Tiguan’s cargo area is larger than the Sportage’s in almost every dimension:

Tiguan

Sportage

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

17.2”/39.7”/74.5”

n.a./33.4”/68.2”

Max Width

55”

52.3”

Min Width

39.8”

41”

Height

33.5”

29.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Tiguan’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Sportage doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

The Tiguan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Sportage uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the Tiguan SEL Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Sportage doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Tiguan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sportage’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Tiguan SE/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Sportage can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Tiguan SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Sportage’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Tiguan offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Sportage doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Tiguan SEL Premium also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the Tiguan SEL Premium is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Sportage’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Kia Sportage, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Tiguan second among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Sportage was rated third in its category.

The Volkswagen Tiguan outsold the Kia Sportage by 24% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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