2012 Kia Sportage

The 2012 Kia Sportage falls in the middle of the ranking for compact and affordable SUVs.

The modern styling, affordability and the list of standard features may give the Sportage a win but a number of buyers might not be pleased with its poor visibility and performance.

It might be the perfect compact SUV for those who go after affordability but not necessarily for performance.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: SUV Base Price: $18,500.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons (55L) MPG: 21 city / 29 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 174.8 in. (444 cm) Wheel Base: 103.9 in. (263.9 cm)
Height: 64.4 in. (163.5 cm) Width: 73 in. (185.4 cm)
Curb Weight: 3157 lbs (1432 kg) Ground Clearance: 6.8 in. (17.2 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 26.1 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 2.4L 4 Cylinder DOHC w/ CVVT Compression Ratio: 10.5: 1
Horsepower: 176 HP Max RPM: 6000 RPM
Torque: 168 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual OD
Max Towing Capacity: 2000 lbs (907 kgs) Maximum Speed: NA
Available Trims & Engine
Option:LX MSRP: $20,800; MPG: 22 city / 32 hwy
Option:EX MSRP: $23,900; MPG: 22 city / 32 hwy
Option:SX MSRP: $26,900; MPG: 22 city / 29 hwy

Engine

The Kia Sportage base model comes with a 4-cylinder 2.4 liter engine that delivers 176 horsepower and 168 lbs/ft of torque. It is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission but prospective owners have the automatic transmission as an option. If you need more muscle, you can have the SX trim that is equipped with a 4 cylinder 2.0 liter turbocharged engine. It gives 260 horsepower and 269 lbs/ft of torque.

Performance

There is no doubt that the Sportage can deliver what you need when driving around town. However, the base model cannot bring the power that you need during certain situations, especially if you frequently drive on the highway.

The SX model with its turbocharged engine will be appropriate for this driving condition. However, there are other issues such as the imprecise steering and less than stellar suspension tuning that can give you a rough ride.

Exterior

You will appreciate Kia's effort of putting lots of thought about its exterior. The Sportage looks as sharp as the pricier European SUVs. The headlights have an organic shape.

It has sleek detailing on the front grille and the front bumper. Its lines are well done, profound enough but not over spoken. It has bold rims that complement the almost minimalist design of the body.

Interior

The cabin of the Sportage has adequate room and plenty of standard features. There are ports that let you connect to modern devices and some of the controls are cleverly placed on the steering wheel.

However, the seats seem too firm which makes it quite too stiff. You will certainly have no problems about space but you can feel a little bit uncomfortable during very long rides. Another issue that you will encounter when you are seated inside is the poor rear visibility.

Safety

The all wheel drive models of the Kia Sportage have been given 5 out of 5 stars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for scoring well in their tests. The front wheel drive model gets 4 out of 5 stars. The Sportage is a "Top Safety Pick" of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for scoring "good" in roof strength, rear, side and front crash tests.

Reliability

The Kia Sportage comes with a 10 year powertrain warranty - the longest in its class. It also has the standard warranty that lasts for 5 years, and the corrosion warranty that also lasts for 5 years.

Pros

The Kia Sportage is perhaps one of the sharpest looking compact SUVs. Having the base model gives you plenty of standard features. The quality of the interior is better than the interior for other SUVs in its class. The cabin provides plenty of space and the turbocharged engine gives lots of power.

Cons

The seats of the Sportage are stiff and the back seats do not recline or slide. The base model is underpowered. The rear visibility is poor.

The 2012 Kia Sportage is not perfect, but it can give you what you need as long as you choose the right model.

The small SUV segment include the likes of the Nissan Rogue (MSRP $22,070; 22 city / 28 hwy), Honda CRV (MSRP $22,495; 23 city / 31 hwy), and the Ford Escape (MSRP $21,440; 23 city / 28 hwy).

Overall Rating
74 out of 100

What others say:

“We think the 2012 Kia Sportage is one of the best-looking compact utes, with its deft mashup of SUV and hatchback lines.”Car Connection

“Body lean is well-checked in fast turns, but the steering feels somewhat light and lifeless, at least on the LX and EX. The steering is more firm and direct in the SX. Its moves are sharper all around, but we don't think it's worth the tradeoff of a harsher ride.”Consumer Guide

“The Sportage has nimble handling and a civilized powertrain. But it has a stiff ride and pronounced road noise, and acceleration is leisurely.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“The 2012 Kia Sportage SUV has a slight increase in fuel economy for both the 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines.”KBB

“Sharp styling inside and out; more fun to drive than other crossovers; powerful and efficient turbo engine in SX trim; plenty of premium features; intuitive controls. Stiff-legged ride; backseat doesn't slide or recline; less cargo capacity than other crossovers.”Edmunds