2020 Toyota Highlander vs. 2020 Kia Sportage

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Highlander are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Sportage doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sportage doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, 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 Highlander Limited/Platinum has standard Automated 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 Highlander (except L/LE/XLE) offers an optional Bird’s Eye 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 Highlander has standard Safety Connect™, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen 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 Highlander 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Sportage is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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The Highlander’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Sportage runs out after 100,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sportage.

There are over 63 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Kia is ranked 9th.

Engine

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The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 114 more horsepower (295 vs. 181) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 175) than the Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 58 more horsepower (295 vs. 237) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 260) than the Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 55 more horsepower (295 vs. 240) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 260) than the Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Highlander is faster than the Kia Sportage:

Highlander

Sportage 4 cyl.

Sportage SX Turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

8 sec

8.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.3 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.5 MPH

86.4 MPH

86.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

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

MPG

Highlander

2WD

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

4WD

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Sportage

2WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

4WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Highlander’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.

The Highlander has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Sportage (17.9 vs. 16.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

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

Highlander

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

The Highlander stops shorter than the Sportage:

Highlander

Sportage

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Highlander has larger tires than the Sportage (235/65R18 vs. 225/60R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander L/LE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sportage LX. The Highlander Limited/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Sportage SX Turbo.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the Sportage (112.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Sportage.

The Highlander XLE AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Sportage LX pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Highlander XLE AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Sportage LX (27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Highlander has a 1.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Sportage (8 vs. 6.8 inches), allowing the Highlander to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Sportage can only carry 5.

The Highlander has 42.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Sportage (141.3 vs. 98.6).

The Highlander has 1.9 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front legroom, 2.9 inches more front hip room, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 2.8 inches more rear legroom, 5.8 inches more rear hip room and 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sportage.

Cargo Capacity

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

Highlander

Sportage

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

30.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

60.1 cubic feet

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Highlander. The Sportage doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The Highlander’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Sportage’s (5000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Highlander Limited/Platinum, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Sportage doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Highlander Platinum has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Sportage doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Highlander’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Sportage has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Highlander’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 Highlander the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Sportage can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Highlander Platinum’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.

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 Highlander’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Sportage’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Sportage doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Highlander’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia charges extra for heated mirrors on the Sportage.

When the Highlander Limited/Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Sportage’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Highlander and the Sportage offer available heated front seats. The Highlander Platinum also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sportage.

The Highlander has a standard 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Sportage.

The Highlander Limited/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Sportage doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Kia Sportage by almost three to one during 2019.

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

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