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#9

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $21,600 - $28,400
Invoice: $20,727 - $26,504
MPG: 21 City / 28 Hwy
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Kia Sportage Performance

Reviewers say that an optional turbocharged engine makes the 2014 Kia Sportage particularly fun to drive, thanks to the extra power and swift acceleration that it provides. When it comes to handling, critics say that the Sportage is nimble, but its firm suspension also makes for a harsh ride. Some automotive journalists are pleased with the Sportage's quick, responsive steering system, though.

  • "The addition of sport dampers to all models means ride quality may leave something to be desired, so make sure you find rough pavement on your test route to see if the Sportage's ride suits you." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2013 Kia Sportage's taut suspension and powerful engine choices put the ‘sport’ in Sport Utility Vehicle." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Sad to say, the marginal performance combined with aggravating ride comfort and handling really knocked it down in the rankings." -- Motor Trend (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Kia Sportage comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 260-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is also available. The base Sportage gets an estimated 21/28 mpg city/highway, which is slightly subpar for the class.

Test drivers recommend the Kia Sportage's optional turbocharged engine, which turns the Sportage into a more fun SUV with brisk acceleration. Auto writers say it produces enough power for highway passing and hill climbing. Additionally, reviewers agree that the Sportage’s automatic transmission is responsive and shifts seamlessly.

  • "Exclusive to the SX trim is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder that cranks out 260 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. This is essentially the same engine featured in the Optima midsize sedan. It's a gem, delivering strong, lag-free acceleration that evokes fancier crossovers such as the BMW X3." -- AutoTrader
  • "Found in the 2013 Kia Sportage SX, the 260-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes the car surprisingly quick and a lot more fun to drive." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Everyone judged its six-speed automatic as the most seamless and responsive." -- Motor Trend (2012) 

Handling and Braking

Critics spotlight the Kia Sportage's overly firm suspension, and most say it produces a harsh ride and doesn't manage road imperfections well. On the other hand, some reviewers say the Sportage is quite nimble, and are pleased with the Sportage's quick, responsive steering. The Kia Sportage comes with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available on all trims.

  • "Thanks to its firm suspension and responsive steering, the Sportage engages the driver like few other affordable crossovers can." -- AutoTrader
  • "The firm suspension feels well controlled, but Sportage doesn't do as good of a job filtering out bumps as many of its class competitors." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The taut suspension delivers predictable response to rapid inputs and quick adjustments and the nicely-weighted steering wheel helps minimize the amount of play in the steering." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Every personality has its character flaws, though. In this case, it's a ride quality that might be too harsh for some people's tastes -- especially in SX form." -- Edmunds (2012) 
Review Last Updated: 5/16/14

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