Known as one of the first foreign small SUV models to appear on American soil, the early versions of the Kia Sportage didn’t gain the following that was expected. The competition offered better mechanics and design. After a few years on the market, Kia chose to redesign the Sportage with the hope of creating a larger consumer base. The result is a well-designed, though less powerful SUV with an amazing cabin and more-than-adequate cargo space for its size.
While the Sportage may not have as much power as its opponents, it does have plenty of equipment features. In addition to several safety features, it also has front or all-wheel-drive options, alloy wheels, and tinted glass. Air-conditioning and a CD player are available on some models as well.
Body Styles: compact SUV
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.7-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Kia Sportage LX, Kia Sportage EX
For the 2008 model year, there were no significant changes made to the Kia Sportage.
Kia designed the Sportage to be attractive, though not overwhelming. The Sportage features smooth lines and well thought out external styling. As a small SUV, it has the sporty feel that is to be expected from a sport utility vehicle, while having the classic look of a car. This vehicle would fit well in any situation whether it was in the grocery store parking lot or sitting by a camp site.
It is clear Kia put a lot of thought into designing the interior of the 2008 Sportage. Both the design and the materials are high quality and make for a luxury feel inside the cabin. Seats are comfortable and the dash controls and gauges are easy to see and use. This seat folds down completely without the need to remove the seat head restraints to create a flat load floor. With the seat placed down, the Sportage offers 67 cubic feet of cargo space, a very nice figure for this class of SUV.
Performance & Handling
The 2008 Kia Sportage drives like what it is, a small SUV. For the most part, it has car-like handling and performance abilities. The four-cylinder engine is reported to be rather sluggish, so most industry experts recommend choosing the V-6 versions. With the larger motor, the Sportage takes to the road well and does well on the highway, too. The four-speed automatic is sufficient to take care of the V-6 engine, but some of the competitors’ five-speed options perform better.
The Kia Sportage offers several good safety features standard on all models. Of course airbags are important, and this model offers front side, as well as full length side airbags. Traction and stability control features are standard as well. Anti-lock disc brakes are included as well.
In the government safety tests, the 2008 Kia Sportage made a five star rating for front and side impact crash protection. It received an ""acceptable"" in the same category, the second-highest rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing.
EPA Fuel Economy
Kia Sportage 2.0-liter four-cylinder: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Kia Sportage 2.7-liter V-6: 17/23 mpg city/highway
- Lots of standard safety features
- Functional, well designed interior
You Won't Like
- Higher fuel economy than competitors
- Unimpressive performance
Lots of equipment and a good price.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Toyota Rav4
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