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2008 Kia Sportage

Overview
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2008 Kia Sportage Review

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Those who remember the original Sportage SUV probably won't recognize the current model. Gone are the body-on-frame architecture, somewhat harsh ride and moderate engine power. The 2008 Kia Sportage derives its underpinnings from a car platform to give it a smooth ride, improved handling and better crash-test results. The trade-off is an inability to tackle the harshest sorts of off-road terrain (the Sportage lacks a high/low transfer case and locking differentials), but heavy snow and mud are still easily managed. And, while the humble Sportage must contend with perennial favorites, such as the Honda CR-V and Jeep Liberty, many people will find its low price and long list of standard features quite tempting.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're on a modest budget but don't want to give up comfort or convenience, you'll appreciate Kia's approach to the compact SUV segment. And, while its V6 engine produces little more power than Honda's in-line four, you'll appreciate the V6's smoothness with every tip of the accelerator.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're an individual who cherishes an established nameplate, Kia (despite dramatic sales growth) lacks the long history of some other brands. And though Kia has definitely made strides versus segment leaders from Toyota and Honda, the Sportage might be a shade down from them in product refinement.

What's New for 2008

No major changes for 2008.

Driving the Sportage

Driving Impressions Kia's product team has hit the sweet spot in achieving a ride and handling balance completely appropriate to the target consumer. With a curb weight of roughly 3,400 pounds, the...

2008 Kia Sportage is no lightweight. That fairly substantial heft is reflected in a feeling of solidity from the unit body structure. Suspension settings are biased toward comfort and the steering provides some appreciated feedback. The V6 engine, while offering two more cylinders than the 2008 Honda CR-V (Toyota offers a V6 with its RAV4), doesn't seem any more responsive than the Honda when connected to the standard four-speed automatic. We'd view the Sportage's on-road demeanor as creditable, although not entertaining, but, for an SUV, being creditable is more important.

Distinctive Design
The Sportage's distinctive design is modern, clean and attractive. In an era of generic styling emanating from many Asian studios, it's refreshing to see something truly distinctive without the carmaker resorting to "shock and awe."

Quality Interior Appointments
Kia has made great strides in quality, with improved plastics and upholstery throughout the lineup. On top of improved quality is true utility, with easy ingress and egress and a fold-flat rear seat that provides real stowage capability.

2008 Kia Sportage Details
2008 Kia Sportage photo Interior

Most Sportage prospects will be pleased by its interior, combining real functionality with a number of upscale touches. The Korean car industry has embraced quality plastics, with an almost quantum improvement in both appearance and texture. The attractive cloth upholstery gives an impression of comfort and durability. The instrument panel has easy-to-read gauges and the center-mounted cluster has controls that are easily identified and appropriately ergonomic. Adding to the upscale appeal are aluminized accents on both the instrument and door panels. Seating position is appropriately upright and, while the standard sunroof encroaches slightly on rear-seat headroom, most adults will find either front or rear seating to be generous. As with most compact SUVs, the fifth passenger's area, in the center of the rear seat, is somewhat marginal.

Exterior

The 2008 Kia Sportage represents a dramatic departure from the original Sportage design, which was discontinued in 2002. Today's Sportage wears a curvaceous, almost organic look, with a get-up-and-go attitude accentuated by short overhangs, a relatively wide track, ample tires (235/60-16 all-season radials) and generous headroom. The hatch features an opening window for convenience. A dual exhaust system with chrome tips accentuates the Sportage's SUV intensions.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Kia's tagline, "The Power to Surprise," is abundantly evident when viewing the Sportage's window sticker. A high level of standard equipment is part of Kia's core strategy. Available in either LX or EX variants, the Sportage enjoys an almost opulent level of equipment, especially considering its price range. Young families concerned with safety will appreciate the Electronic Stability Control (ESC), traction control (TCS) and, at the EX level, a tire pressure monitoring system. Audiophiles will enjoy an AM/FM/CD system with six speakers -- EX models enjoy MP3-compatibility. Privacy side glass is standard across the board, while a sunroof is included on the EX at no additional charge. Finally, while we wish the roof rails offered more than the stated 100-pound capacity, they are included in the base window sticker price as standard equipment.

Optional Equipment

With all that is standard the customer is left with little to add. The less-expensive LX gives the customer more variables, although many of those would be dealer-installed. On the EX, a Luxury Package includes body-colored bumpers, leather seats and trim, heated front seats, automatic headlamps and a six-disc CD changer, amplifier and subwoofer.

Under the Hood

The base LX utilizes a fairly conventional (for the category) 2.0 liter in-line four, while the EX benefits from the 2.7 liter DOHC V6. It, along with the Hyundai Tucson and Ford Escape, were among the first to offer six-cylinder power in the compact utility category. We were not overly impressed by the responsiveness of the V6; it will meet consumer expectations, but we don't believe it will exceed them. The four-cylinder should be reserved for light duty only -- no full loads, light towing and little exposure to work at high altitudes.

2.0-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/25 (2WD, manual), 19/25 (2WD, automatic), 19/24 (4WD, manual)

2.7-liter V6
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
178 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD, automatic), 17/21 (4WD, automatic)

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2008 Kia Sportage Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 326 Ratings for the 2005 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Best car for trips, dependable, gr8 gas mileage

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,094

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Price, Fun to Drive, Dependable"

Cons: "Needs a trailer hitch"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best for Fishing trips I've ever had. Plenty of room, dependable, drives smooth, lots of room, Best Man's Car ever...."

Love this vehicle, great design

By on Tuesday, June 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The 2005 Sportage has been a great vehicle. I am not a fan of the current body design of the shortage. windows are too narrow. Very dependable"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

I love this car - extremly reliable

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "reliable-comfortable-versatile-very low maintenanc"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love the reliability of this car! In 99,500 miles, I have only had to replace engine filters and oil. Because I am older and must rely on myself, I really appreciate the confidence that I have, knowing that my car will get me wherever I need to go. Yesterday we had severe hail and my car took quite a hit. Even though it is a 2007 with significant mileage, I will have it repaired, as I plan to drive it until one of us gives out (and it may be me before the car!) I rave about it all the time. You can fold down the back seat and load a "truck-load"(literally)of stuff. I was disappointed to see that Kia changed the design of the new Sportage, as I like the flexibility of this model. I would absolutely recommend this car (and do, all the time)."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Still going strong!!

By on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought this vehicle in 2011 with only 10K on it and have loved driving it ever since. It has plenty of room and handles great in the snow. I plan on owning several more Kia's in the coming years and would highly recommend these cars to anyone!!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

I love this car

By on Friday, May 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 131,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the best car I have ever owned. At 131,000 miles I have had a brake job, changed tires and replaced the timing belt/chain twice. I keep looking at new cars and ask myself why? This car has great visibility with a nice big rear window. Performs great in the rain and snow with the 4WD. I am older and love not having to crawl down into a car. Great hauling capacity for vacations. Only con is the 20-24 mpg. I wish I could buy this exact car New today with better mileage."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Reliable and No Problems Whatsoever

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable even without maintenance."

Cons: "No complaints whatsoever."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We purchased this car new from a dealer and have had it for almost 9 years now. Great car that has performed flawlessly for us, even though we have not done any of the recommended maintenance except for oil changes. The only things we replaced so far were the alternator belt (because it squeaked), the brakes (once) and the tires several times. We've driven it on long trips on a regular basis and it has never let us down. The AC and heat work super fast. No problems with anything inside or out. It all still works like the day we bought it. Highly amazed and satisfied with this vehicle."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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