2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Ford EcoSport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Sportage has standard Forward Collision Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The EcoSport doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Sportage’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The EcoSport doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Sportage offers optional Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The EcoSport doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage and the EcoSport 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Kia Sportage is safer than the Ford EcoSport:

Sportage

EcoSport

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 EcoSport has not been tested, yet.

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 EcoSport’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the EcoSport. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the EcoSport ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fourth.

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 13 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Sportage has more powerful engines than the EcoSport:

Horsepower

Torque

Sportage 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

181 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo AWD 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

237 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo FWD 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

EcoSport 1.0 turbo 3 cyl.

123 HP

125 lbs.-ft.

EcoSport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

166 HP

149 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Ford EcoSport:

Sportage

EcoSport FWD

EcoSport AWD

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

11.2 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

18.2 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

76.7 MPH

77 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sportage uses regular unleaded gasoline. The EcoSport with the 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sportage has 2.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the EcoSport (16.4 vs. 13.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

EcoSport

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.7 inches

The Sportage stops much shorter than the EcoSport:

Sportage

EcoSport

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage has larger standard tires than the EcoSport (225/60R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the EcoSport (245/45R19 vs. 205/60R16).

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 EcoSport’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage LX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the EcoSport. The Sportage SX Turbo’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels optional on the EcoSport.

The Kia Sportage’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford EcoSport only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Kia Sportage has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The EcoSport 4x2 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Sportage has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sportage flat and controlled during cornering. The EcoSport 4x2 suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sportage’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the EcoSport (105.1 inches vs. 99.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 3.6 inches wider in the front and 4.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the EcoSport.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the EcoSport Titanium pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the EcoSport SE (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.3 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Sportage has 7.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the EcoSport (98.6 vs. 91.1).

The Sportage has 2.7 inches more front hip room, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the EcoSport.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the EcoSport with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 20.9 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the EcoSport with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 50 cubic feet).

The Sportage’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The EcoSport’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

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 cargo door, leaving your hands completely free. The Sportage’s power cargo door can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The EcoSport doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Towing

The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the EcoSport’s (2000 vs. 1400 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Sportage EX/SX Turbo’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control. The EcoSport’s driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

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 EcoSport 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the EcoSport’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Sportage detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The EcoSport doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 EcoSport doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Sportage’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The EcoSport doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Sportage (except LX) offers an optional Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The EcoSport doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the EcoSport because typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the EcoSport, including $19 less for front brake pads, $108 less for a starter, $128 less for a fuel pump, $37 less for front struts and $458 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Sportage, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford EcoSport 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 EcoSport isn’t in the top three.

The Kia Sportage outsold the Ford EcoSport by 52% during 2018.

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

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