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2009 Kia Sportage

Overview
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2009 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 2009 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 2009

The 2009 Kia Sportage receives a slight freshening, with a new grille and headlamp treatment, color keyed front and rear bumpers and new 16- and 17-inch wheels. A navigation system is now offered and a new radio with auxiliary audio and USB input jacks, is made standard on all models.

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...

2009 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 2009 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.

2009 Kia Sportage Details
Interior

Most Sportage prospects will be pleased by its interior, combining real functionality with a number of upscale touches. 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 available 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
2009 Kia Sportage photo

The 2009 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 2009 model receives a revised front end that touts the new face of Kia design. New wheels add a sporty look and 17-inch alloys are offered for the first time. The Sportage's hatch features an opening window for convenience, while the V6's 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) and traction control (TCS). Audiophiles will enjoy an AM/FM/CD/MP3 system with six speakers and a three-month subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio. 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

The LX V6 Sport Package adds body colored side cladding, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and 17-inch wheels. On the EX, the Luxury Package includes leather seats and trim, heated front seats, automatic headlamps and a six-disc CD changer, amplifier and subwoofer. Stand alone items include four-wheel drive, a navigation system (EX only), remote start and a number of dealer-installed upgrades.

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), 20/25 (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: 18/23 (2WD, automatic), 18/23 (4WD, automatic)

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2009 Kia Sportage Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 327 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 I've owned.

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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: "Great pickup, fabulous in the snow, great ride."

Cons: "None."

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

"My Kia 2009 Kia Sportage is the best car I've ever owned......my 9th new car since beginning to drive 45 years ago. The dealer I bought it from has been great and I've had absolutely no problems with it for six years now. It's 4 WD and 6 cylinders and it's gotten through feet of upstate NY snow like a champ......it has fabulous passing ability. Can't think of one thing I haven't liked about it."

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)."

3 people out of 5 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

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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

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