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2012 Kia Sportage

Overview
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2012 Kia Sportage Review

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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.

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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 118 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Love my sportage!

By on Thursday, October 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"I bought my sportage 3 years ago and have not had any issues! Handles and drives like a dream! Decent gas mileage for a SUV. The interior is very roomy! I upgraded to the EX with all the extras except the GPS system. Totally worth every penny!!"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

The best for me

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I traded my 2011Sportage EX for the same 2014 because ride is less stiff and many features were upgraded."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Great looks, drives great, best SUV for the money!

By on Tuesday, October 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500

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: "Awesome looks, drives great, love the interior"

Cons: "Little better fuel economy would be nice."

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

"I love my Kia Sportage, got the LX w/rearview camera and upgrades. Drives and handles great, fuel economy is good, has more room inside than you would think looking at it. Looked at several other models, but this had the best looks and was the best buy."

18 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Great value for the money, needs few improvements

By on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,900

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value for the money"

Cons: "Needs radio visor and better gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"After shopping the competition bought the Sportage because of the surprising quality for the money. The fit and finish is comparable to CRV but seems quicker and quieter. Biggest annoyance is the inability to see the radio settings at all during bright daylight.. The gas mileage could certainly be better but for the price I can't complain that much because it feels like I am driving a more expensive vehicle with all wheel drive."

17 people out of 31 found this review helpful

Excellent and reliable

By on Monday, September 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great features"

Cons: "None really"

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

"Not a single problem to report in 37000 miles. Fuel economy is outstanding. I average 27 around town and have gotten as high as 34 on the hwy. Excellent and quiet cruiser on the open road. Enough power for safe passing on secondary roads. I looked at the Honda, Chevy and Ford small SUV's and ended up with the KIA for the price and long list of standard features. We currently own 2 KIA's and I would recommend them to anyone."

14 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Hands down best value ! - owned for 2 years

By on Monday, August 25, 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
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Best Value, spacious, attractive design"

Cons: "Thick window pillars"

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

"When I bought this car, I was comparing it to the following vehicles: Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, Hyundai Tuscon, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, VW Tiguan, and the Subaru Forester. All these vehicles are in a similar price range. VALUE: 10/10 The first thing I noticed when comparing the prices and options was that the Hyundai and Kia models were a much better value. Things that came standard on the Kia and Hyundai were sold as extras on the other models. This is why I gave this car a 10/10 on value. RELIABILITY: 10/10 I've owned this car for 2 years and I have had no problems whatsoever. The fact that it comes with a 10 year powertrain warranty says a lot about this car's reliability. QUALITY: 9/10 The reason I docked 1 point was because the seat fabric looks a little cheaper looking, but then again I could have paid for the leather package. Everything else is comparable to the other models in terms of quality. DRIVING DYNAMICS: 10/10 This car drives great. Some people complain about the road noise, but I don't notice it much at all. I feel that those that are complaining are probably comparing this car to luxury vehicles in the $30,000+ range. DESIGN: 9/10 In this price range, this car gets a perfect 10/10 for the exterior. KIA and Hyundai have done a 360 and completely redesigned their cars. No more child like looking cars from the past. I love the overall design of both the interior and exterior of the car. I would give the interior an 8/10. The reason I docked 2 points is because of the thick windshield pillars. I find them to be too thick which gives you a rather large blind spot. I suspect that these thick pillars are the reason this car got excellent rollover ratings from the consumerreports website. COMFORT: 8/10 I don't get what people are talking about when they say the seats are uncomfortable. I've driven dozens of cars and I have I would say that these seats are comparable to most vehicles. Of course if you are comparing it to a luxury vehicle, then you might not me so happy. I've driven 300 miles nonstop (LA to Vegas) several times and I have never experienced any discomfort. I'll also add that I'm a skinny guy with less padding on the rear than most! One thing I'll say is that the door arm rests and the center arm rest needs more padding. OVERALL RATING: 9/10 I am very happy with my purchase."

8 people out of 12 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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