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2012 Kia Sportage

Overview
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2012 Kia Sportage Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

The first Kia Sportage was a rugged, but not terribly reliable, compact SUV with a body-on-frame chassis that made it a good low-cost alternative to the Jeep Wrangler. But, while the Jeep Wrangler has grown larger and less fuel-efficient, the 2012 Kia Sportage SUV has transformed into something altogether different. The 2012 Kia Sportage is now a clever compact SUV with a car-like ride, great fuel economy and an impressive level of overall quality and reliability. No longer a rugged off-road vehicle, the 2012 Kia Sportage compact SUV now competes with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevy Equinox and Ford Escape. Beyond its head-turning styling, feature-laden standard-equipment list and available turbocharged engine, the 2012 Kia Sportage has one of the best standard warranties in the business, covering the powertrain for 10-years/100,000-miles.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need the room and versatility of a compact SUV, but you want something that is fun and sporty to drive, the 2012 Kia Sportage tops a very short list. Its affordable price makes up for its middle-of-the-road resale values, and its available 260-horsepower turbocharged engine is a rarity in this segment.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Not everyone will be drawn to the 2012 Kia Sportage SUV's polarizing looks. Those looking for a more traditional compact SUV with a large cargo bay should look to the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forster or Toyota RAV4.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Kia Sportage SUV has a slight increase in fuel economy for both the 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines. All models receive improved rear suspension dampers and more sound insulation, while LX trims have new 17-inch wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires. EX trims with cloth seats get a new anti-bacterial, anti-soil fabric that also repels static build-up.

Driving the Sportage

Driving Impressions The 2012 Kia Sportage's taut suspension and powerful engine choices put the "sport" in Sport Utility Vehicle. Compared with its nearest competitors, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the...

2012 Kia Sportage SUV rides a bit stiffer, but delivers better cornering and recovery from sharp dips in the road. The nicely-weighted steering feels good in your hands and delivers predictable response to rapid inputs and quick adjustments. The 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines both offer ample power in any driving situation, with our favorite being the turbocharged version in the Sportage SX. The 2.4-liter is more than capable in climbing steep hills and handling quick passing maneuvers, but the turbocharged 2.0-liter adds a new level of driving fun. The 2.0-liter turbo also feature gasoline direct injection technology that helps it attain good fuel economy without sacrificing power.
Favorite Features

Panoramic sunroof
More sun equates to more fun and this dual-section sunroof lets the rear-seat occupants stare at the wonders above.

2.0-liter turbocharged engine
Found in the 2012 Kia Sportage SX, the 260-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes the car surprisingly quick and a lot more fun to drive.

2012 Kia Sportage Details
Interior

The edgy exterior design of the 2012 Kia Sportage SUV carries over into the interior with a wildly (some say over-done) futuristic-looking dash, stylish cloth or leather seating and plenty of features to keep techno-savvy drivers happy. Functionally, there is much to like inside the 2012 Kia Sportage SUV, with a big, roomy rear seat that can be folded flat to make a modestly-roomy 54.6 cubic-foot cargo hold. While useful, the Sportage's cargo bay is not quite as large as those in the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, both of which offer more than 70 cubic feet of cargo space. Cloth seating surfaces are standard and feature a number of colors and patterns to help owners better customize the Sportage. EX trims feature special anti-bacterial cloth that helps eliminate odors and stains that can accumulate over time. We like a number of the 2012 Kia Sportage's interior options, but the panoramic sunroof's manual sunshades don't strike us as very useful and should be power-operated.

Exterior

The 2012 Kia Sportage SUV's sleek design includes sharp lines, narrow side glass and Kia's signature "tab" front grille. Penned by Kia's Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer (the same man responsible for the Audi TT) the 2012 Kia Sportage SUV is a huge departure from previous designs, and even leaves most of its competition looking rather outdated. The clever interplay between the dark lines surrounding the grille, lower air ducts, and painted wheel inserts give the Sportage a keenly sinister appearance. The Sportage's high beltline and big wheel and tire combo make it look a bit like a hopped-up VW GTI. Don't be fooled by the 2012 Kia Sportage's sporty appearance, however, as its available all-wheel drive (AWD) and nearly seven inches of ground clearance make it every bit a compact SUV.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Kia Sportage SUV is offered in four front-wheel-drive trim levels: Base, LX, EX and SX, with AWD available on all but the Base. Standard equipment across all trim levels includes air conditioning, power accessories, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a rear under-floor storage compartment and a satellite-radio-equipped audio system with four speakers. Some notable standard features that come with the EX and SX trims include Kia's UVO infotainment system, back-up warning system, push-button start, a cooling glovebox and auto-climate control.

Optional Equipment

All of the options available for the 2012 Kia Sportage come in the form of packages. Some noteworthy highlights of the Sportage option packages include a navigation system, heated front seats, a cooled driver's seat, a panoramic sunroof and a premium audio system with a subwoofer.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Kia Sportage SUV's new 2.4-liter engine is robust and fuel-efficient and should suffice for most drivers' needs. Costing a bit more is the turbocharged 2.0-liter, which provides V6-like power and 4-cylinder fuel economy. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, which delivers impressive fuel-economy numbers and can be shifted manually. A 6-speed manual transmission is available, but only on the base trim level.

2.4-liter in-line 4
176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
168 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (front-wheel drive, manual), 21/30 (front-wheel drive, automatic), 20/27 (AWD, automatic), 19/25 (AWD, manual)

2.0-liter turbocharged in-line 4
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850 - 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (front-wheel drive), 20/25 (AWD)

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2012 Kia Sportage Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 100 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Fantastic car

By on Sunday, April 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 480

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 value"

Cons: "could use an 18 gallon gas tank instead of 16."

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

"I rented one of these on a recent vacation and put it at the top of my shopping list. I'm tall and have a bad back. A small SUV is easier to get in and out of for me, so I got the Sportage EX with all the options. I traded a 2012 Optima EX with 78K miles for this car last Friday night. Got a fabulous deal. Never had one problem with the Kia Optima. Least expensive car to maintain that I've ever owned. We also have a 2012 Kia Sedona van. Incredible products at any price."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Best Car Ever

By on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

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: "Roomy, fun to drive, back up sensors are amazing!"

Cons: "Wouldn't mind if it had a little more room in back"

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

"Might have done a review on this car before so this might just be an update. Still loving the Sportage!!! My husband and I had been looking for a car to replace my Ford Windstar for a couple of years, but every time we would test drive a vehicle that we thought could be the one, it ended up really falling short of our expectations. I had really liked the new look of the Sportage and had previously owned a Hyundia and hoped the Kia was up to snuff. We test drove the Honda CRV and I didn't care for the seats, they were hard and uncomfortable. It drove well but I didn't want to be in it for more than a few minutes. I never thought my husband would go for a Kia, he is a ford/Jeep kind of guy, but he drove it and agreed it felt good. He also liked the safety rating on the Sportage, being we have two little princesses to drive around. They and into lacrosse and cheer and the back holds all their gear, plus our 60 pound dog! Couldn't be more happy with this vehicle, so glad we waited to make the right choice!"

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Quick and sporty

By on Monday, March 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, great gas mileage."

Cons: "Hard sporty ride, hard seats, but that's how we !"

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

"Owned car for 1.5 years. Very sporty, great gas mileage, quick and nimble. A small suv but does not look like the rest of the SUVs that size. Regular maintenance, just oil, filter and lub every 7500 miles. I have the upgraded SX model, it's loaded, would cost $20k more if a infinity or Acura. Push start very cool. Great tires and rims too."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Turned out to be a disappointment.

By on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,400

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Expensive in the long run (fuel and parts)"

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

"I was very happy when I bought this car. It was loaded and I really enjoyed the roominess and the experience of a cross-over. Over time, however, I noticed that I was not getting the mileage that the manufacturer said I would get. Turns out, they admitted that this year and model was incorrectly advertised for the mileage it would actually get. Had problems with the rear window wiper; had to replace it (the whole arm) twice in three years (the second time the part was just over one year old). This is the last Kia I will buy."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

One of the best vehicles I have owned. FANTASTIC

By on Saturday, March 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to Drive, Avg 28 MPG, Comfortable, Panorama!"

Cons: "Shocks are a little tight so you feel the potholes"

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

My Beautiful STELLA!

"One of the best vehicles I have owned. FANTASTIC, from the great AWD, to the roomy interior, to the great sound system. I would not hesitate to recommend this car to anyone, I've had mine since it had 2 miles on it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

My Beautiful STELLA!

Drives realy nice Good value for the money

By on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "looks,Quality,Performence"

Cons: "noise"

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

"Overall the Kia Sportage is a real nice car. the only thing I would like to see improved is the noise level and a little smoother ride.You can't beat the Warrenty."

1 person out of 1 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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