2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Forward Collision Assist optional in the Sportage as “Superior.” The 500X scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Sportage’s standard Downhill Brake Control allow you to creep down safely. The 500X doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Sportage’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 500X doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage and the 500X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 500X was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Sportage comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 500X’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500X. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the 500X ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 84 percent more Kia dealers than there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sportage’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sportage has a standard 600-amp battery. The 500X’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Sportage’s reliability 39 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The 500X isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 123 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

The Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 4 more horsepower (181 vs. 177) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo AWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 60 more horsepower (237 vs. 177) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 210) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo FWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 63 more horsepower (240 vs. 177) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 210) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4-cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sportage uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500X requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sportage has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (16.4 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sportage SX Turbo’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500X:

Sportage SX Turbo

500X

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.95 inches

The Sportage stops shorter than the 500X:

Sportage

500X

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage has larger standard tires than the 500X (225/60R17 vs. 215/60R17). The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500X (245/45R19 vs. 215/60R17).

The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X AWD Trekking/Trekking Plus’ optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage SX Turbo has standard 19-inch wheels. The 500X’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sportage’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the 500X (105.1 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 500X.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the 500X pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the 500X Trekking (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the 500X’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.3 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Kia Sportage amounts to more than styling. The Sportage has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the 500X (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sportage get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Sportage has 6.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500X (98.6 vs. 91.7).

The Sportage has .2 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 3.4 inches more rear legroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500X.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Sportage’s rear seats recline. The 500X’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 12.2 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Sportage easier. The Sportage’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.8 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

The Sportage’s cargo area is larger than the 500X’s in every dimension:

Sportage

500X

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

33.4”/68.2”

n/a

Max Width

52.3”

41.3”

Min Width

41”

37.8”

Height

29.5”

28.8”

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sportage EX/SX Turbo’s power liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Sportage’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The 500X doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the 500X’s (2000 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Sportage has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500X doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 500X doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the 500X’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The Sportage has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500X only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 500X doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Sportage’s optional (except S/LX) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 500X doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Sportage has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sportage has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Sportage (except LX) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The 500X doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The Sportage is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

The Sportage will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Sportage will retain 47.52% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the 500X only retains 35.57% to 36.62%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the 500X, including $108 less for a water pump, $6 less for front brake pads, $82 less for a starter, $173 less for fuel injection and $260 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Sportage, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500X isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage third among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 500X isn’t in the top three.

The Kia Sportage outsold the Fiat 500X by almost 16 to one during 2018.

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

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