Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000
  • 10 Best Midsize SUVs
  • 10 Best AWD Cars & SUVs Under $25,000
  • 2014 Compact SUV Buyer's Guide
Go

2008 Kia Sportage

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Kia Sportage Review

By

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)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Kia Sportage Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 305 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

Extremely Safe

By on Monday, August 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Safe, reliable, low maintenance"

Cons: "Very low horsepower"

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

"Yesterday I had to say good bye to my sportage. Got into a head on crash today at 45 mph, then slid into a pole & brick wall. My wife, dog, & I all walked away completely safe with only minor bumps and bruises. If I had a kid who needed a car, this would be nice reliable and safe vehicle."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best car I have ever owned

By on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,400

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: "all around a great vehicle"

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

"I think this vehicle is great. I have had this vehicle since brand new and beside regular maintenance I have not been to the dealership. Nothing has gone wrong with this vehicle that is why I rate this vehicle a ten."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best value for the $

By on Saturday, July 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Good mileage, minimal maintenance, cute car"

Cons: "Road noise, upholstery quality"

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

"I had a Sportage from 06-13. I am not one to maintain vehicles as recommended-I didn't even get oil changes very often. Yet this car held up to me with MINIMAL repairs (O2 sensor, bearings, brakes). I drive combined city/highway and typically travel 80 mph on the highway. This car didn't fail me until late 2013. The ONLY reason I didn't buy another one is because I was in a hurry and dealers didn't have one with the options I wanted. My daughter is in the process of buying one--knowing the experience I had with mine. This is BY FAR one of the BEST entry level vehicles on the road!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Kia Sportage, is it worth the money?

By on Friday, July 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
4/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"The pro's of this vehicle are... Cheap SUV, great visibility of blind spots, nice dash and plastics, and a wonderful warranty. The con's of this vehicle are... Very weak V6, bad gas mileage, horrible pick up/power, rough cornering, and cheaper cloth seats. Personal experiences with this vehicle.... We are occurring an electrical problem that will randomly lock the vehicle with out the use of the fob. The pick up on the vehicle is utterly horrible, however to manage good gas mileage you have to endure a painfully slow start from a stop sign or a red light. Cornering in the vehicle at 10-15 miles an hour provides a somewhat frightening experience. The vehicle has a lot of "Body roll" and does not handle too well, however this is expected with SUV's. Due to the wonderful warranty we have taken good use due to issues with electronics, and parts on the engine requiring maintenance/ repair some parts were not accessible and had to be ordered out."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Perfectly sound family SUV

By on Thursday, July 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

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

Pros: "Fuel efficient and spacious"

Cons: "None"

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

"I've been the only owner, oil changed every 3k miles. Perfect in every way mechanically. Has never broken down. Extremely fuel efficient, it has the 2.0 liter engine."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

No real complaints so far

By on Monday, May 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "has everything I need and then some"

Cons: "Could do with softer seats."

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

"I bought an '08 Sportage several months ago and I'm liking it so far. I went from a tiny economy car to it so the gas mileage took some getting used to, but I expected that coming into it. Interior's plenty roomy but the seats aren't for the weak of butt. And visibility is a little iffy over my left shoulder, but that may just be me. Exterior's nice and clean and smooth, which I prefer over the sharp angular cars coming out now. Handles great, drives great, and has enough power to get it going when it needs to. All in all a good car and worth the money."

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?