2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Sportage’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Crosstrek has a metal gas tank.

Both the Sportage and the Crosstrek 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.

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 Subaru Crosstrek:

Sportage

Crosstrek

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

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 Crosstrek’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 Subaru covers the Crosstrek. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Crosstrek ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 22 percent more Kia dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sportage’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Crosstrek 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 29 more horsepower (181 vs. 152) and 30 lbs.-ft. more torque (175 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo AWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 85 more horsepower (237 vs. 152) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo FWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 88 more horsepower (240 vs. 152) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Subaru Crosstrek (automatics tested):

Sportage

Crosstrek

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

80.8 MPH

Transmission

The Kia Sportage comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Crosstrek.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Crosstrek

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.8 inches

The Sportage stops much shorter than the Crosstrek:

Sportage

Crosstrek

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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

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 Crosstrek Limited’s 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Crosstrek.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Crosstrek Premium pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Crosstrek Limited (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Crosstrek’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Passenger Space

The Sportage has .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and 1.7 inches more rear legroom than the Crosstrek.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 20.8 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 55.3 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 Crosstrek’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Crosstrek’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The Sportage has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Crosstrek doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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

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 Crosstrek has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Limited.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Sportage and the Crosstrek offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sportage has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Crosstrek doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Crosstrek because it costs $82 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the Crosstrek, including $20 less for a water pump, $6 less for front brake pads, $329 less for a starter, $114 less for a fuel pump, $132 less for front struts and $42 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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 Crosstrek isn’t in the top three.

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

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