2020 Kia Sportage Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2020 Kia Sportage is a well-known vehicle that is designed to offer a value-based ride for the family. The automaker claims that it offers “room to roam,” but that doesn’t speak to the quality. It turns out that this Sportage might suffer from a defective engine and a shoddy electrical system.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Engine

Arguably, the most important part of any vehicle is the engine. It must be powerful and reliable, but should also be efficient enough to impress customers. This motor doesn’t seem to fit any criteria.

One NHTSA complaint states, “Product improvement program which requires a program update to my car’s engine control unit. This is because my engine may experience catastrophic bearing failure possibly destroying the engine. My complaint is that this notice should be a recall notice. They are not improving anything. The underlying problem that will cause the engine failure has not been addressed and won’t be by this so called ‘product improvement program.’ I asked Kia why they aren’t fixing the problem with the engines at the factory instead of just adding an early warning system to the ECU? This is absolutely crazy. I don’t’ want a brand new car that can possibly have a total engine failure. I don’t want a car that warns you that your car is about to have an engine failure. That is not a proper way at all to fix a problem. You fix a problem at the engine factory…not in the field. I am having this program update done tomorrow and then the next day I am getting rid of my brand new 2020 Kia Sportage and buying a car, any car, that doesn’t have an engine that could possibly blow up at any time. Kia has put this problem on the backs of their customers. It doesn’t belong there. It belongs on Kia.”

The problem being addressed in this complaint is related to Service Bulletin #PI1806_TSB_R1. The technicians are installing new ECU software that lets customers know if excessive connecting rod bearing damage is occurring to the engine. The Knock Sensor Detection System provides an alert that the engine is starting to fail. As the customer above said, the engines should be fixed, not merely have software that tells someone when it is about to die. It will be difficult for this SUV to “roam” anywhere once that engine fails.

2020 Kia Sportage Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Service Brakes, Hydraulic
Service Brakes
Trailer Hitches
Vehicle Speed Control
Air Bags

Electrical System Problems

A deep look into the electrical system of the Sportage shows the same level of problems.

Here is an Edmunds review to read. “Unfortunately, one day we came out and the SUV was dead! We have had it in several times to the dealership to see what is going on. The 2nd time they replaced the battery and when we got it home, the alarm kept going off. There is something wrong with the electrical system which is disappointing and it is currently in the dealership for the 3rd time.”

While this particular situation isn’t discussed, there are other communications worth mentioning. One, Service Bulletin #PS612, talks about a loose connection with the Lane Keep Assist program that could lead to a malfunction. In addition, it could cause the LKA, High Beam Assist or Forward-Collision Avoidance-Assist system warnings to illuminate on the dash, thereby causing drivers to panic. Whether it is because of the engine failure or the electrical system defects, it might be better if customers started roaming in another vehicle.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Roanne b

    My 2020 kia sportage shut down on 95 while driving 65. Very scary. Now im being denied my warranty claim. This is a kia engine issue and shouldn’t even have to do with warranty. What can I do?

  • Aeron S

    My wife and I was sold a piece of garbage. Car has electrical problems alarm keeps going off, lights blinking and battery died. We didn’t even have this suv for 2 weeks yet. And we are paying all this money for this

  • Ellen B

    My tire pressure symbol stays on and continually gives different tire pressures all the time. I stopped the first time I saw this and went and checked all the air in the tires and all seemed fine but it continues to give different tire readings and it will not shut off.

  • Sharon c

    I have a Kia Sportage and I have electrical problems sometimes while driving it acts like it wants to stall also my doors sometimes won’t allow me to lock it I’m concerned what’s wrong

  • Gail R

    I bought my 2020 Kia Sportage in the summer of 2019. Everything was great until about last summer. I started having problems with the radio / backup camera. The radio started just blacking out and then eventually come back on . I had Kia look at it when it was in for an oil and they didn’t note it on my service record. Then it would keep the backup camera in no matter what gear you were in , it skips like your playing a CD and there is no CD player , it will stay on for a half hour after securely locking the car , it will get stuck in whatever position the volume is in or channel it’s on. I started taking videos and sent them to my service advisor at Kia . He said if they can’t diagnose it then Kia won’t fix it even with the videos. It does these spurts randomly. Also the collision alert will start going off for no reason . No one around me and in my lane. My advisor won’t return my calls , the service manager won’t return my calls , I have left a bad review on the website as well as emailing them with my complaints. Three days ago I called to speak to the general manager and got a sales manager who was supposed to call me back that day and didn’t . So yesterday I went there and the general manager had the day off and the service manager was not in . A different advisor scheduled me for next week to leave the car all day to see if they can see anything. Also my key fobs are bad on my remote start so they had to order me new ones. I was supposed to receive a call that they were in. 2 months after that oil change I call and they are in but I have to schedule with my advisor to have it programmed. I left a message and no call back. So when I went in yesterday they scheduled that for next week . In oct 2022 I had gone in for an oil change and they didn’t put my oil plug in all the way and all the oil came out of my car while driving it.

  • Durybhoy@gmail.com

    I have a Kia sportage 2015 plate which the engine block cracked or something is this part of the recall engine problem with this type of car?

  • Ed h

    I no cars.. I bought a new 2020 Kia Sportage.. Engine sounded great when I bought it. Now even when it’s warm you fire motor up it’s so load it’s embarrassing. It rattles so loud I no it’s high pressure fuel pump and how gdi motors work. That motor will be lucky to get 30,000 miles. I got 13,000 on it now. Started getting load after 3,000.. I don’t no how a company can sell brand new car sounds like that. It’s a rip off. That’s why when Kia dealers show you the car they never want to talk about motor. They no they are junk.

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