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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 320 Ratings for the 2005 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Reliable and No Problems Whatsoever

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable even without maintenance."

Cons: "No complaints whatsoever."

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

"We purchased this car new from a dealer and have had it for almost 9 years now. Great car that has performed flawlessly for us, even though we have not done any of the recommended maintenance except for oil changes. The only things we replaced so far were the alternator belt (because it squeaked), the brakes (once) and the tires several times. We've driven it on long trips on a regular basis and it has never let us down. The AC and heat work super fast. No problems with anything inside or out. It all still works like the day we bought it. Highly amazed and satisfied with this vehicle."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Excellent combo of quality, utility and comfort.

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price per mile and enjoyable ride."

Cons: "MPG only in 21 - 24 range."

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

"Would keep this vehicle until the wheels fell off if my wife and I were not dealing with senior health problems. The built in navigation, rear view cameras and various safety sensor equipment of the current vehicles are driving assists we feel will make our driving safer and more enjoyable."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great commuter SUV and big dog hauler!

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

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
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Small, roomy, sporty, econmomical, easy to work on"

Cons: "No rearview camera 2007, roof racks noisy"

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

"Bought mine used from a leasing agency at 20K miles, use it as a daily commuter putting 100+ miles per day on it. Great fit for me (6'2" 250 lbs) plus two big dogs. Best inside feature is that the inside folds completely flat. Only ever had one problem (not counting 2 sets of brakes and 4 sets of tires over the years)with setting rear wheel alignment- had to go to specialty shop when the "usual" places couldn't get it into specs (since brand new). EXTREMELY dependable vehicle and would buy another in a second. With the 4 cyl engine, I added a 2" towbar, towed a 15 ft boat with no problem (flatland in Florida) with only problem being lack of vehicle weight for stopping, not guts (due to gearing). Not an extremely luxurious auto but don't have to worry about dog fur and occasional errant french fry either. EXCELLENT student car, easy to park and nimble with decent looks and style. AWESOME warranty- tho I went to full synthetic oils and changes every 10K after it expired. Normal routine maintenance costs about what you'd expect at any dealership- a kick in the pants for the MANDATORY timing belt/water pump etc. service. No surprise, just a super dependable vehicle that is fun to drive- the smallest SUV I could find that would fit FOUR 6'2" guys for the hour trip to the airport without trash compacting them; and getting 26 MPG at the same time. Great crash ratings- so what's not to like?"

16 people out of 22 found this review helpful

A VERY RELIABLE AND QUALITY SMALL SUV

By on Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Fantastic value and holds it's value."

Cons: "Center arm rest is a little too far rearward."

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

"I have found my Sportage to be fantastic in handling in rain or snow. It rides like a much larger SUV and above all still feels like it did when it was new. No loose feel or loss of performance motor or trans. Also the KIA company has stood behind their product 100%! The quality fit and finish is remarkable for the value. I have the EX with the 2.7 V6 and get about 27 MPG on the highway and consistently over 20 MPG around town. Bottom line I will keep this SUV until the wheels fall off but I know this will never happen."

15 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Excellent Automobile

By on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,700

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Excellent auto for price and reliability"

Cons: "vision obstruction(s) no inside/outside thermomete"

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

"Five years old - 50000 miles - no problems - have followed recommended service intervals Dealership service department excellent"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great SUV

By on Saturday, December 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 154,000

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
9/10

Pros: "smooth and fun to drive"

Cons: "No COns..."

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

"I have all of this as a highway miles, I drove 250 miles every 2 weeks , great on highway. Giving me 25 to 27 miles per gallon on highway and 22miles in city. Lot more then the Car expect to give. Using AMSoil changing oil every 25kmiles. Great driving. Smooth as brand new SUV's."

8 people out of 11 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

Buying this car?