The 2024 Kia Sportage and 2024 Volkswagen Taos are small SUVs that don’t skimp on space or creature comforts. Of the two, the Kia Sportage plays in the bigger sandbox known as the compact SUV segment. Rivals in this crowded field include the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Chevrolet Equinox, to name a few. 

Having gotten a complete redesign for the 2023 model year, the Sportage delivers a bold exterior, class-leading cargo room, and an interior that looks much ritzier than you expect in an SUV starting below $30,000. 

As for the Taos, it’s Volkswagen’s smallest SUV and lives in the tinier realm of subcompact SUVs. Although it’s technically in a different class than the Sportage, the Taos is on the bigger side of the subcompact SUV segment. Pint-size models like the Mazda CX-30, Chevrolet Trailblazer, and Kia Seltos compete with the Taos.

Being one size lower than the Sportage might appear to put the VW at an immediate disadvantage. Yet could its lower base price, tidier dimensions, and versatile cabin help the Taos score an upset?

Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of the Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Taos.

2024 Kia Sportage

The 2024 Kia Sportage has an entry-level price of $28,565, including destination fees. All seven available trims come with a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. 

A fully loaded Sportage feels worthy of a luxury label, though even the base variant comes with niceties like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remote keyless entry, a digital instrument cluster, and a slick asymmetrical center console with logically placed buttons and controls.

Kia Sportage Highlights 

Class-leading warranty: We know the Sportage has a pretty wild exterior that’s sure to turn heads. But similarly attention-grabbing is its 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. To all those extroverted and left-brained SUV shoppers out there, here you go.

Dual-screen infotainment display: Standard on all but the entry-level Sportage LX is a dual-screen display spanning the dashboard. This combo of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen looks like it came straight out of an Audi, BMW, or some other fancy-labeled (and hideously more expensive) SUV. 

Kia Drive Wise: Kia was pretty smart in equipping every Sportage with several advanced driver aids. Grouped under the Kia Drive Wise banner, this suite of safety items consists of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, a driver attention monitor, automatic high beams, and more.  

Cargo space: Behind its split-folding rear seat back, you’ll find 39.6 cubic feet of storage space. That’s excellent among compact SUVs and about 10 cubic feet more than the Taos.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Sportage models for sale near you. 

2024 Volkswagen Taos

2024 Volkswagen Taos in blue with ivy in the background.

The Volkswagen Taos just came out as an all-new model in 2022, but it has already received some welcome updates for 2024. Most importantly, it gets the standard fitment of VW’s IQ.Drive suite of driver aids across all three trims. Pricing starts at $25,420, including destination fees.  

The sole engine is a 158-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder with an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional on the S and SE trims and standard with the range-topping SEL model. 

Volkswagen Taos Highlights 

Spirited performance: We’re glad no one told VW’s engineering team that budget-friendly SUVs must be dull to drive. During miles of test drives, we’ve complimented the firm but well-balanced suspension, its crisp steering, and the punchy acceleration provided by its turbo 4-cylinder engine.  

Standard IQ.Drive: Every Taos now comes with IQ.Drive, a bundle of driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. 

Cargo space:  Sure, the Sportage wins the cargo battle by sheer numbers. Yet the 27.9 cubic feet of volume afforded by the Taos deserves more than an honorable mention. This little Volkswagen delivers 65.9 cubic feet of load-lugging versatility with the second row folded down.

Digital Cockpit: This attractive digital instrument panel is standard and measures 8 inches in the Taos S and SE and 10.25 inches in the SEL. It looks excellent and imparts an upscale feel typically reserved for Audi luxury vehicles, and it shows.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Taos models for sale near you. 


Despite the apparent size difference, at the end of the day (or long drive), the Sportage and Taos have a lot of similarities. They’re easy to maneuver, provide a solid balance of performance and fuel economy, and each has user-friendly technology that makes them feel a cut above many direct competitors. 


We’ll admit it looked like the Kia Sportage would bully the smaller Taos in this competition. Yet when the SUV dust settles, the gap between these two is much smaller than any vehicle size classification might have suggested.

Yes, the Sportage holds advantages like more rear legroom and cargo space, not to mention that outstanding warranty coverage we already gushed over.

The Taos routinely impresses by feeling bigger and more entertaining to drive than several other subcompact SUVs. It has a lower base price and serves up better fuel economy than the Sportage, too. 

And factoring in its smaller proportions, the Taos still delivers a lot of space inside — if not as much as the Kia. Like Cinderella and her glass slipper, we suggest trying each of these SUVs on to discover which is the perfect fit. 

  2024 Kia Sportage  2024 Volkswagen Taos
Starting Price  $28,565 $25,420
Popular Powertrains      
Engine  2.5-liter 4-cylinder 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower  187 hp @ 6,100 rpm 158 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque  178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission  8-speed automatic  8-speed automatic 
Fuel economy MPG 25 city/33 highway/28 combined 28 city/33 highway/31 combined 
Also Available  AWD 7-speed automatic, AWD
Basic Warranty  5 years/60,000 miles  4 years/50,000 miles 
Powertrain Warranty  10 years/100,000 miles  4 years/50,000 miles 
NHTSA Overall Safety  N/R 4 stars
Max Seating Capacity  5
Wheelbase  108.5 inches  105.9 inches 
Overall Length  183.5 inches  175.8 inches 
Width  73.4 inches  72.5 inches 
Height  65.4 inches  64.4 inches 
Turning Diameter  38.6 feet  35.1 feet 
Headroom, Front  39.6 inches 40.7 inches 
Headroom, 2nd Row  39.4 inches  39.8 inches 
Legroom, Front  41.4 inches  40.1 inches 
Legroom, 2nd Row  41.3 inches  37.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front  57.5 inches  56.5 inches 
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row  55.6 inches 55.2 inches
Cargo Volume  39.6 cubic feet   27.9 cubic feet 

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