Kia's oldest running nameplate, the 2014 Sportage, has evolved from a basic 4x4 SUV into a stylish, powerful, compact crossover SUV. Today's Sportage is a more civilized creature, touting a sophisticated yet firm suspension, an available turbocharged engine, and a long list of features aimed at providing maximum comfort and convenience. Although competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Ford Escape all offer more interior space and better fuel economy, the Sportage counters with a number of advantages ranging from horsepower to price. Toss in the standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and the Sportage begins to look like a very good bet.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for the tall ride height, all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction and flexible cargo carrying capacity of a compact SUV, but you don't want to sacrifice style, power and creature comforts, the 2014 Kia Sportage deserves a good long look.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Sportage isn't as roomy inside as most of its competitors, especially in the rear cargo area, and its ride quality can be downright harsh. The Sportage's fuel-economy figures are also on the lower end of the compact SUV spectrum.
All 2014 Kia Sportages gain a new grille design, new suspension dampers, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, rear-seat heating vents and reclining rear outboard seats. The 2.4-liter engine gets gasoline direct injection, while new options include HID headlights and ventilated front seats.
Driving the Sportage
If you like power, you'll like what's under the hood of the 2014 Kia Sportage. The improved 2.4-liter engine now delivers 182 horsepower, more than enough to move the Sportage...
... at a good clip. Along the way, you'll find the Sportage's ride is stiffer than most of its competitors, but without the advantage of offering bettering cornering capabilities and less body roll. Opt for the SX trim and you'll get 260 turbocharged ponies. Both engines use gasoline direct-injection technology that helps maximize power and fuel economy. While we like the Sportage's steering feel and brakes, the harsh ride and tendency for body lean in the curves can become tiring after a bit. We also found the Sportage's high beltline and narrow windows somewhat limit 360-degree visibility, which is the exact opposite of what most SUV buyers want in this kind of vehicle.
PANORAMIC SUNROOF You can never get enough sun and fresh air in our opinion, and the 2014 Kia Sportage's big panoramic sunroof delivers both in abundance.
2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE Offered exclusively on the SX trim, the Sportage's 2.0-liter GDI turbocharged engine delivers 260 horsepower, the most in its class.
2014 Kia Sportage Details
Functionally, there is much to like inside the 2014 Kia Sportage SUV, with a 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 in the Honda CR-V, which offers over 70 cubic feet of cargo space. EX trims feature special anti-bacterial cloth that helps eliminate odors and stains. We like a number of the Sportage's interior options, but the panoramic sunroof's manual sunshades don't strike us as very useful and should be power-operated.
The 2014 Kia Sportage SUV's sleek design includes sharp lines, narrow side glass and Kia's signature "tab" front grille. The clever interplay between the dark lines surrounding the grille, lower air ducts and painted wheel inserts gives 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 Sportage's sporty appearance, however, as its available all-wheel drive (AWD) and nearly seven inches of ground clearance make it a capable compact SUV.
Kia's Sportage SUV for 2014 is offered in three trims: LX, EX and SX. Standard equipment for the LX includes air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic steering column, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/satellite audio system with USB/iPod input. Some notable standard features that come with the EX and SX trims include Kia's UVO infotainment system, Infinity premium audio system with a subwoofer, back-up warning system, rearview camera, a cooling glove box and automatic climate control. Exclusive to the SX are HID headlights, a turbocharged engine and 18-inch alloy wheels.
All of the options available for the 2014 Kia Sportage come in packages. Some noteworthy highlights of the Sportage option packages include a navigation system with enhanced UVO eServices, heated and ventilated front seats, power-folding side mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, leather seat trim and push-button start with Smart Key keyless entry. The LX can be equipped with the rearview camera and warning system, an important safety feature we highly recommend. All-wheel drive is available on all trims.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Kia Sportage SUV's 2.4-liter engine gains gasoline direct-injection technology delivering a small bump up in horsepower and torque. This 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.
The 2014 Kia Sportage SUV comes with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $22,500. Stepping up to the EX trim brings the price to around $26,000. The turbocharged SX trim starts just under $28,000 but, when it's topped with every option, that price can creep past $32,000. A look at the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com shows what others are paying for the Kia Sportage in your area, so be sure to check it out before you buy. As for residuals, we expect that the Kia Sportage won't hold its value as well as the Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester, should remain on par with the Chevy Equinox and Toyota RAV4 and will be better than the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Compass and VW Tiguan.
"Love my sportage, except for a couple of minor problems like excessive wind noise at times and some water inside just on the rubber under the doors when it rains hard, by hard meaning torrential rain with wind blowing from all directions.."
"Great vehicle just for my wife and I. Our model is the SX FWD, the vehicle handles great for an SUV of this size. The suspension is a bit harsh in very bumpy area due to the stiffness for the SX model, but when it comes to the back roads and lots of curve this thing is awesome. Smooth riding on the interstate and plenty of power to merge unto traffic. We get very decent mileage, but wish it had a tad bigger fuel tank. Overall we are very happy with it and no issues whatsoever."
Pros: "Fun to drive, good gas mileage, decent tow car"
Cons: "Busy ride, poor visibility to the rear"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I drive 400 miles per week to and from work and my Sportage has never given me a problem. My lifetime gas mileage average is 27.3 MPG. Most of my driving is on Interstate highways at 70+ MPH. Besides oil and filter changes, the only parts I have replaced are tires, and at 115,000 miles the front brake pads and rotors. The interior still looks new and everything works like it is supposed to."