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...
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
You May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's New for 2015
2015 Kia Sportage
is essentially the same as last year's model, which received numerous visual
and mechanical enhancements.
Driving the Sportage
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/26 mpg (all-wheel
horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-3,000 rpm
city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/24 mpg (all-wheel
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.