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1997 Kia Sportage Review
A stylish, value-priced SUV.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The Sportage is an SUV manufactured by Kia, a South Korean automobile company partially owned by Ford and Mazda. Although, its engine has a tough time competing with SUVs powered by V-6 engines, the Sportage’s low price helps make up for the lack of engine power. It also has an above-average selection of interior and exterior features for price range. This SUV offers a maximum seating capacity of five.
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Kia Sportage, Kia Sportage EX
The 1997 Kia Sportage includes a few new standard interior and exterior features. New features include power door locks and a theft deterrent system. A spare tire carrier and a new grille enhance the exterior. A CD player also provides an new option.
The Sportage comes with monotone paint and a body-colored grille. All-season tires come standard. The front and rear bumpers are body colored and the front bumper includes two tow hooks, although the maximum towing capacity only reaches 2000 pounds. Standard exterior features for the 1997 Kia Sportage include 15-inch wheels, lightly tinted windows, dual power remote mirrors, a mechanical remote fuel flap release, power door locks, and a rear window defroster. Additional standard exterior features for the EX include an exterior spare tire carrier, alloy wheels, remote trunk release, a rear window wiper, and a roof rack.
Optional features for all models include special graphics and a rear spoiler. The exterior spare tire, alloy wheels, and roof rack remains optional for the base model.
The 1997 Kia Sportage comes with a lot of comfort and convenience features. Comfort features include front bucket seats with adjustable head restraints and rear 50/50 bench seats with fixed rear head restraints. Both the driver’s seat and front-passenger seat adjust four ways, and all of the windows have power.
Convenience features include a day/night rear-view mirror, a full floor console, a front cup holder, dual door bins, an in-dash clock, a tilt steering wheel, and one 12V DC power outlet.
The cargo volume with the rear seat up totals 25.8 cubic feet. This increases to 55.4 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. Optional features include air-conditioning, an AM/FM/cassette audio system, and an AM/FM/CD audio system. Options for the EX include leather seating and leather steering wheel trim.
Performance & Handling
The Sportage contains a two-liter, four-cylinder engine, which usually matches up with the five-speed manual transmission, although a four-speed automatic transmission remains available as an option.
The 1997 Kia Sportage uses an independent front suspension, which provides smooth and responsive handling, and a multi-link rear suspension, which absorbs braking and acceleration forces to make for an even smoother ride. This SUV utilizes re-circulating ball steering. Coil springs in the front and rear help absorb impact. Front and rear anti-roll bars increase stability.
The front brakes on the 1997 Kia Sportage are vented disc brakes and it has rear drum brakes. Only the rear gets anti-lock brakes, however. The driver gets a standard front airbag, but a front-passenger airbag remains unavailable. Other safety features include a security system, rear-door child safety locks, a dome light, a center high-mounted stop light, and fixed interval front windshield wipers.
EPA Fuel Economy
Kia Sportage EX: 19/22 mpg city/highway
- Stylish exterior
- Smooth ride
You Won't Like
- Build quality
- Lack of cargo room
- Lack of engine choices
- Optional air-conditioning
A stylish, value-priced SUV.
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