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Types Of Gas A Kia Sportage Takes (All Generations)

Types Of Gas A Kia Sportage Takes (All Generations)

On this blog, we do a lot of research regarding specific questions about different cars including Kia models.

Since the type of fuel or power is one of the most crucial considerations for your vehicle, today we’ll look at the American-made Kia Sportage and answer what kind of gas this car requires.

All Kia Sportage regardless of the engine type, are designed to use regular unleaded gasoline with an octane level of 87. While diesel variants are available, they run on standard diesel fuel. Premium fuel with an octane of 91 will not improve engine performance or produce more power.

That, however, does not tell the entire story. To find what type of fuel to put in your vehicle, we’ve gone through the owners’ manuals of the Kia Sportage produced since 2012. We go into greater detail below about the type of gas or diesel you should use for your specific model of Kia Sportage.

Keep reading!

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Infographic explaining the fuel types for a Kia Sportage.

Fuel Requirement Based On Engine Type

2017- Present

Kia Sportage models manufactured between 2017 and 2021 are available in four trim levels: LX, EX, S, and SX Turbo. All trims come standard with a four-cylinder engine, except for the SX Turbo, which gets a turbocharged four-cylinder.

A turbocharged Kia Sportage SX Turbo is provided with 240-horsepower (237 with AWD) turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and 260 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged engine provides quick acceleration to the car.

Kia Sportage is designed to use only unleaded fuel having a pump octane number ((R+M)/2) of 87 and is engineered to achieve maximum performance with unleaded fuel.

This car, similarly to other Kia models like the Kia Sedona and Kia Sorento, are designed to run on regular, 87 octane gas, so is no advantage to buying higher octane. Diesel variants are also available which use standard diesel.


Kia Sportage models from 2010 to 2016 are available with a variety of engines, including an entry-level 1.6-liter petrol GDi petrol engine, 1.7-liter CRDi diesel with 115 hp that drive only the front wheels, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 176 hp as standard, and a 2.0L turbocharged inline four-cylinder unit capable of producing 260 hp in the SX model. The small crossover could seat five people and come in three trim levels: LX, EX, and SX.

The 2010-16 Sportage is provided with several engine options and three transmission choices. It is available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations. The standard gearbox on base models is a 5-speed manual, while others have a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic as an option.

All the models of Kia Sportage use high-quality regular unleaded with an octane rating of 87 for better performance and durability of the vehicle. Diesel variants are also available which use regular diesel.

What Type Of Gasoline Can And Can’t Be Used?

Gasoline Containing Methanol

Methanol-containing gasoline or gasohol, and gasoline-ethanol blend (also known as grain alcohol), are sold alongside or in place of leaded or unleaded fuel. Methanol can impair driving performance and damage the fuel system, engine system control, and emission control system. It can dissolve lubricant layers between metal parts and can also have an impact on hot-weather drivability.

If drivability issues arise, it is advised to stop using gasoline containing methanol. The manufacturer’s warranty may not cover vehicle damage or drivability problems if the methanol or ethanol is more than 15% in the fuel.

Gasoline Containing Ethanol

According to EPA regulations, ethanol may be used in your vehicle as ethanol contains less energy than gasoline and attracts water, so it is likely to reduce fuel efficiency and lower MPG results.

Gasohol containing more than 15% ethanol should be avoided, as a high amount of ethanol is more aggressive towards materials than gasoline, which can cause premature wear or damage to materials and components, swelling of elastomers, and metal corrosion.

If the ethane levels are too high, your engine will be destroyed. The most obvious way to avoid ethanol damage is always to use the proper fuel in your vehicle.


E85 fuel is an alternative fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and is intended for use in Flexible Fuel Vehicles. The term “E85” will not function in your vehicle.

The alcohol in the fuel can cause rubber seals in the vehicle to fail, causing the engine to fall. Running E85 in older model engines without tuning and replacing some components will destroy the engine in a short period of time.

E85 also has less energy than full-fat gasoline. It is less efficient as a motor fuel, with fewer miles per gallon, based on its energy content and cost per unit volume.

Vehicle and engine damage, as well as misfiring, poor acceleration, engine stalling, catalyst melting, clogging, abnormal corrosion, life cycle reduction, and other problems can be caused by using fuels containing Silicone (Si), MMT (Manganese, Mn), Ferrocene and other metallic additives.


The abbreviation MTBE stands for methyl tertiary butyl ether, a relatively simple chemical made from methanol. Kia advises against using MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) fuels in your vehicle. 

As a volatile organic compound (VOC), MTBE has the potential to cause photochemical fog. Although MTBE in the soil is expected to drain into groundwater rapidly, leaks from subterranean storage tanks are unlikely to reach the air.

If MTBE-containing gasoline leaks from a gas station’s underground tank, it can damage groundwater and wells. MTBE has been prohibited or restricted in numerous states due to these concerns. Vehicle performance may be harmed by MTBE in the fuel, leading to vapor lock or difficulty in starting.

MMT-Laced Gasoline

Manganese-based fuel additives are found in some gasoline. MMT is mainly made up of a combination of Mn phosphate and Mn sulfate.

Kia does not recommend MMT-containing gasoline because it causes blockage of monolithic converters, an increase in hydrocarbon emissions from the engines, and increased spark plug wear. MMT is a type of manganese that is added to gasoline to increase octane and eliminate engine knocking.

However, Canadian legislators are concerned that the manganese in MMT emissions constitutes a substantial public health danger. The State of California has imposed a total ban on MMT.

This type of fuel can reduce vehicle performance and cause your emission control system to malfunction. The cluster’s Malfunction Indicator Lamp may light up.

Detergent Additives  

Kia Sportage recommends high-quality gasoline with detergent additives, such as TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline, to avoid deposits in the engine. The engine will run cleaner, and the Emission Control System will work better using these types of gasoline. A specific detergent package in TOP TIER DETERGENT GASOLINE exceeds EPA regulations.

Top Tier gasoline offers 2.5 times the cleaning power of regular gasoline. When this deposit builds up, it reduces fuel economy and causes issues such as rough idling, acceleration pauses, and engine knock, a rattling sound caused by gas ignition prematurely.

According to AAA’s independent laboratory testing, filling up your Kia Sportage tank with Top Tier petrol helps keep your engine cleaner by averaging 19 times fewer intake valve deposits than non-Top Tier fuel.

What If I Hear A Knocking Noise From The Engine After Refilling?

In the owner’s manual of Kia Sportage, it is stated that hearing a minor knocking sound while accelerating or going up a hill in your car is not a cause for concern and is entirely normal. But hearing a loud knocking sound from the engine after refilling mainly indicates a mechanical problem that can be fixed if diagnosed correctly and early.

Noted below are three of the common causes of ignition-system and fuel-related engine knocking.

 1. Low Octane Rating

If you put in fuel with an octane rating too low for your vehicle, it can create a knock. To prevent this from happening, use gasoline with an octane fuel rating at or above what the manufacturer recommends. Driving with fuel that has too low of an octane rating will result in permanent engine damage. 

 2. Carbon Build-up

Carbon build-up occurs when fuel and oil residues accumulate on the engine’s intake valves, combustion chambers, and other internal components.

This accumulation of carbon deposits can create ‘hot spots’ in the combustion chamber. These hot spots can ignite the air-fuel mixture before the spark plug does, leading to pre-ignition, or what is commonly referred to as engine knocking or pinging.

To prevent and remedy carbon build-up, regular engine maintenance is crucial. This may include using high-quality fuel with detergents and additives that help to clean the engine, using fuel injector cleaner additives, or having a professional fuel system cleaning or carbon cleaning service performed at a certified service center.

 3. Bad Spark Plugs Can Cause Knocking

If you hear this noise, the consensus is that you should stop the car immediately and call a garage or nearby dealership before your engine becomes seriously damaged.

The first step in fixing engine knocking is to upgrade to gasoline with a higher octane rating, change the oil in your vehicle, and regularly monitor for a low oil level.

Does Kia Sportage Have A Good Gas Mileage?  

Aside from the gas requirements according to the engines of Kia Sportage, the mileage is the next crucial step to consider. So in this, we’ll find out the different mileage that Sportage gets from its various models.

2016 – Present

The 2021 Sportage’s fuel economy is subpar for the compact SUV class. Models with the base engine and front-wheel drive get an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Models with the base engine and all-wheel drive get 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Turbocharged front-wheel-drive models return 20/28 mpg city/highway, while AWD turbo models get 19/24 mpg.  



The earlier models of Kia Sportage get the highest mileage of 30 MPG on the highway from the engine 2.4 L, 2WD, and the lowest mileage of 21 MPG you will get from the engine 4WD 2.4 L-cyl.


What Is The Gas Tank Size Of Kia Sportage?

The latest models of Sportage are equipped with a tank size of 16.4 gallons or 62 liters. At the same time, the earlier models had a little less tank size capacity of around 15.3 gallons or 57.91 liters.

The fuel tank capacity of Kia Sportage models is more than enough compared to regular cars, and you won’t have to get your tank filled too frequently.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up The Fuel Tank Of Kia Sportage?

It takes around 49.2 dollars to get the tank of your latest Kia Sportage filled in Mississippi, the state with one of the cheapest gas in the US. While to get the same tank filled in California State with one of the most expensive gas in the US will cost you about 75.44 dollars.

 While compared to the earlier models, before 2015 takes about 70.44 dollars to fill up a tank of Kia Sportage filled once in California and 45.99 dollars in Mississippi, respectively.

Closing Thoughts

Fuel choice is far more than just a pump decision; it’s about harmonizing with your Kia Sportage’s engineering. Regular unleaded with an octane level of 87 is the lifeblood for most Sportage engines, keeping them running smoothly and efficiently.

Always remember, your car’s fueling needs are a mirror reflection of its engineering design—deviate sparingly and wisely. It’s imperative to consult the owner’s manual of your specific Sportage model, as this is the bible that deciphers the cryptic language of your car’s needs.

For those gearheads interested in customizing their Sportage, check out our article on “The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Kia Sportage“. It is the perfect guide to understanding wheel fitment for your SUV.

Or if you’re a Kia enthusiast at heart and own more than just a Sportage, “The Exact Bolt Pattern Of All Kia” models will be your comprehensive wheel-pattern encyclopedia.

Drive smart, fuel wisely!


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