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Kia Sportage Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Kia Sportage Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Kia poses serious competition to fellow manufacturers worldwide. This is exhibited by their notable market presence in multiple countries. With the Sportage, a compact crossover SUV, Kia has taken over the crossover category by storm. Since 1994, this tag has translated into five generations, each with its unique transmissions and specs.

Based on our intensive study of the Kia Sportage and its transmission, we’re here to show you all generations of this crossover and the transmissions used in them.

The first-gen Kia Sportage has a 5-speed manual (R15MX-D) and 4-speed automatic (03-72LE) transmissions. The second-gen possesses a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic (F4A42-2) transmission. The third-gen has 6-speed automatic (A6MF1/A6LF2) and 6-speed manual (M6GF2) transmissions. The fourth-gen offers 6-speed automatic (A6LF2/A6MF2-2) and 7-speed DCT transmissions. The latest-gen has a 7-speed DCT and an 8-speed torque converter transmission in store.

However, this is just the icing on the cake because we’re ready to dive into these transmissions generation-by-generation to highlight their specs, the number of miles they last, replacing costs, and the known faults/problems in each. Eager to explore? Read on!

What Transmission Has the Kia Sportage Used?

First Generation (1993-2004)

  • 5-Speed R15MX-D Manual
  • 4-Speed 03-72LE Automatic

Second Generation (2004-2010)

  • 5-Speed Manual
  • 4-Speed F4A42-2 Automatic

Third Generation (2010-2015)

  • 6-Speed A6MF1 Automatic
  • 6-Speed A6LF2 Automatic
  • 6-Speed M6GF2 Manual

Fourth Generation (2015-Present)

  • 6-Speed A6LF2 Automatic
  • 6-Speed A6MF2-2 Automatic
  • 7-Speed DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission)

Fifth Generation (Expected Late 2021/Early 2022)

  • 7-Speed DCT
  • 8-Speed Torque-Converter Automatic

Also read: 17 Common Problems Of The Kia Sportage

How Long Does a Kia Sportage Transmission Last?

As long as you keep track of fluid replacements, refrain from abusive driving, and perform regular maintenance, the transmission of your Kia Sportage is expected to last around 100,000 to 200,000 miles.

The earlier generations had transmissions that lasted around 150k-200k. At recommended intervals, the A6MF1, A6MF2-2, A6LF2 transmissions with fluid and solenoid changes can last a good 200k miles. The 7-speed DCT should last around ten years if used properly. The transmissions offered in the 5th generation are yet to be tested, but with proper maintenance, they are expected to last the vehicle’s lifetime.

How Much Does a Kia Sportage Transmission Cost?

So far, it’s become clear that the Kia Sportage has used various transmissions throughout its generations. In this section, we’ll be going over the retail prices of each of these transmissions. Whether you own the car and want an idea of what your car’s next transmission allowance will be, or you plan on buying an extremely-clean, a gem of a vehicle with a bad transmission, we got you covered. We’ve highlighted each transmission together with its price* that we found through several online retailers.

5-Speed R15MX-D Manual$1193
4-Speed 03-72LE Automatic$1853
4-Speed F4A42-2 Automatic$1795
6-Speed A6MF1 Automatic$1347
6-Speed A6LF2 Automatic$2348
6-Speed M6GF2 Manual$1712
6-Speed A6MF2-2 Automatic$2150
7-Speed DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission)$3000-4000

*These prices do not include the labor cost. If you cannot find your transmission model in this table, you can look it up on Autozone.

Common Kia Sportage Transmission Problems

First Gen Transmission Problems (R15MX-D/03-72LE)

Transmission problems in the first generation Kia Sportage have been reported by multiple users. The automatic variants of the transmission faced more issues than their manual counterparts. A few of them include:

  • Various models have developed an issue where a bug in the transmission control module (TCM) keeps the engine check light from turning off.
  • Some owners have faced an Automatic transmission slippage issue. After checkup, no problems with the transmission were found, but they continue to face the same issue from time to time.
  • In some cases, the automatic transmission failed to jump into the next gear.
  • A plenty of users have reported that the transmission jumps into neutral while driving at high speeds.

Second Gen Transmission Problems (F4A42-2)

Most users have reported flawless experiences with transmissions of the second-generation Kia Sportage. This portrays their improvement over the last generation. Others, however, were not so lucky. Some of the more common problems include:

  • After a good 60k-100k miles, some reported occasionally harder gear shifting than normal.
  • Most of the problems faced were generally caused by sensor issues and delays in TCM software updates.
  • Other vehicles with the same F4A42 transmission also faced hard shifting issues. The cure was to update the TCM software and reset the adaptive shift points.

Third Gen Transmission Problems (A6MF1/ A6LF2/M6GF2)

The third-generation Kia Sportage came with its fair share of transmission problems. Some were similar to the previous models, while others were relatively new and unknown. They include:

  • A problem with the manual transmission where the vehicle didn’t seem to fully engage the next gear. This resulted in poor acceleration and gas mileage.
  • Some users reported an issue where the automatic transmission won’t jump into Park. Others stated that the car would move on slopes, despite being in Park mode.
  • In some instances, the acceleration seemed to get sluggish. This was caused due to the transmission getting stuck in neutral, then suddenly kicking into gear with a jerk.

Fourth Gen Transmission Problems (A6LF2/A6MF2-2/DCT)

The 2015 Kia Sportage came with new and improved transmissions. Most vehicles in this generation were offered with automatic transmissions. Some of the problems faced by consumers are:

  • The transmission gets stuck in the 4th gear and won’t change gears despite making efforts to manually adjust them.
  • Some users have reported clutch slips in the Dual Clutch Transmission.
  • A lag problem in the DCT whereby the car refuses to accelerate normally when the accelerator is depressed. The response gets worse when the accelerator is pressed firmly down.

Fifth Gen Transmission Problems (DCT/Torque-Converter)

The upcoming Kia Sportage prominently features DCT and Torque Converter transmissions that rarely go bad. Although common problems with these transmissions are yet to be discovered, some potential concerns based on experiences with similar transmissions, could be delays in shifting and low responsiveness.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Kia Sportage Takes (All Generations)

Difference Between Transmissions

The table below compares significant features of the transmissions used throughout different generations of the Sportage.

ModelDrivetrainMaximum Engine TorqueGross Vehicle Weight
5-Speed R15MX-D ManualRWD127 lb-ft4278 lbs.
4-Speed F4A42-2 Automatic4WD178 lb-ft4850 lbs.
6-Speed A6LF2 AutomaticAWD264 lb-ft4608 lbs.
6-Speed A6MF2-2 AutomaticFWD206 lb-ft4586 lbs.
7-Speed DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission)AWD195 lb-ft4696 lbs.

Transmission Fluids and The Kia Sportage

The transmission fluids in Kia Sportage should be changed every 30,000-60,000 miles. This is necessary to ensure a healthy, well-lubricated transmission that can last as long as the car itself. Early transmission changes don’t harm your vehicle in any way. Thus it’s a good habit to keep track and change the fluid earlier than due time.

The recommended fluid for the latest generations of the Kia Sportage is Dexron VI Full Synthetic ATF. For down models, SP 3 fluids are OEM, and Dexron 3 fluids can also be used.


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