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2015 Kia Sportage Review

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2015 Kia Sportage Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Over the years, the Kia Sportage has evolved from a rudimentary 4x4 SUV into a stylish and powerful compact crossover SUV. The 2015 Kia Sportage plays in a tough crowd against established competitors like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, not to mention Nissan's excellent new Rogue, all of which offer more interior space. As a counterpunch, the Sportage emphasizes the first five letters of its name, with a firm suspension and a powerful available turbocharged engine. While the smaller interior and cargo space, not to mention the stiff suspension, may turn off some buyers, the undeniably sporty Sportage has carved out a niche for itself against its competitors. Of course, the standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty may have something to do with that.

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 demand extra style, power and creature comforts, the 2015 Kia Sportage deserves a good long look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Kia Sportage is definitely stylish, it's not particularly thrifty at the fuel pump, and is handily beaten by nearly all of its major competitors. The Sportage is also not as roomy as its competition, especially when it comes to cargo, and the ride quality can be downright harsh.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.4
  • 6.1
  • 5.3
  • 7.7
  • 6.7
  • 9.7
How It Ranks

#5

out of 8

Fuel Economy

#1

out of 8

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.5 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Kia Sportage Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

The 2015 Kia Sportage is essentially the same as last year's model, which received numerous visual and mechanical enhancements.

Driving the Sportage
2015 Kia Sportage Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions The Kia Sportage comes in two flavors: competitive and aggressive. The standard 2.4-liter engine delivers 182 horsepower, and it's easily competitive with the standard engines you'll find in a Honda...

... CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, or many other compact SUVs. What you won't find is anything quite like the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and its 260 horsepower, which turns the Sportage into the class jock. However, both Sportage models come with an unexpectedly stiff suspension, which unfortunately doesn't pay off in handling. Instead, there's a bouncy ride, but too much body roll, essentially the worst of both worlds. 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. However, the steering feel is pretty good, and the brakes definitely stop the Sportage quickly.

PANORAMIC SUNROOF
If you like fresh air and the feel of the sun on your face, the big panoramic sunroof available on the Kia Sportage will deliver plenty of both.

2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
Power hungry buyers will love the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder on the 2015 Sportage. Offered exclusively on the SX trim, its 260 horsepower is the most in its compact SUV class.

2015 Kia Sportage Details
2015 Kia Sportage Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Generally speaking, we like the 2015 Kia Sportage interior. The comfortable front seats and simple controls make it easy to drive around town. Rear passengers will like the roomy rear seats, but if you're looking to haul cargo, the modest 54.6-cubic-foot cargo hold you have with those seats folded may not cut it as well as a Honda CR-V, which offers over 70 cubic feet of cargo space. That said, we like the anti-bacterial cloth on EX models, which helps eliminate odors and stains. While we're fans of the panoramic sunroof, we'd prefer the sunshades were power operated, not manual.

Exterior
2015 Kia Sportage photo

Kia calls its signature grille design a "tiger nose," although we're not sure we see the resemblance. Regardless, swept-back headlights flank the distinctive grille, fitting with the sharp lines and narrow side glass of the Sportage. 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, but its available all-wheel drive and nearly seven inches of ground clearance make it a capable compact SUV.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Base Kia Sportage LX models come with a 6-speaker audio system that includes Bluetooth, USB and SiriusXM satellite radio, and steering-wheel mounted buttons for audio, phone and cruise control. An Active Eco system helps drivers save fuel, and rear-seat passengers get their own air conditioning duct. Also included is a tilt/telescoping steering column and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Sportage EX and SX models add Kia's UVO infotainment system, Infinity premium audio system with a subwoofer, back-up warning system, rearview camera, a cooling glovebox and automatic climate control. The SX gets exclusive high-intensity headlights, plus the turbocharged engine and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Optional Equipment

The most important stand-alone option on the Kia Sportage is all-wheel drive, which adds $1,500 to the price of any model. You can enhance the LX with UVO eServices and the Popular package which bundles a backup camera and keyless entry. The EX Premium package adds the panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, leather trim, and voice-navigation with SiriusXM traffic. SX buyers have the option of choosing the same Luxury package.

Under the Hood
2015 Kia Sportage Engine photo

The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder under the hood of LX and EX Sportage SUVs may be overshadowed by its turbocharged cousin, but with advanced fuel injection and competitive power and torque, it's no slouch. But, yeah, we have to admit we like the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the SX. Who wouldn't? With 260 horsepower delivered smoothly through its 6-speed automatic transmission, it gives you the power of a V6 engine. Like the turbo, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is connected to a 6-speed automatic which can be shifted manually. While both engines are competitive in power, they lag the field in fuel economy.

2.4-liter inline-4
182 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/26 mpg (all-wheel drive)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/24 mpg (all-wheel drive)

The 2015 Kia Sportage compact SUV starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a bit more than $22,500. The additional features of the EX model start at about $26,000, while the turbocharged SX is right under the $29,000 mark. Note that all-wheel drive adds $1,500 to the price of any Sportage. A fully loaded SX will run you about $34,000 when you add the Luxury Package and all-wheel drive, but we think a better bet is the mid-level EX, which lacks the turbo's power, but gets better fuel economy. Be sure to check KBB's Fair Purchase Price before you buy to see what others are paying for the Kia Sportage in your area. Residuals won't be quite as good as the Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester, but probably on par with the Chevy Equinox and Toyota RAV4, and better than the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Compass and VW Tiguan.

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2015 Kia Sportage Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 115 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

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."

3 people out of 6 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."

9 people out of 20 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."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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