New For 2014
The 2014 Kia Sportage’s 2.4-liter in-line four now benefits from direct injection (bumping output from 176 hp to 182 hp), the front grille has been redesigned, and HID headlights and LED taillights have been added. A manual transmission is no longer available in the 2014 Kia Sportage.
The original Sportage got Kia off the ground in America, but the current Sportage couldn’t be further from the sad little SUV that debuted twenty years ago. The new Sportage is better in every imaginable way. It’s unique. It’s stylish. It’s spacious. Most importantly, it’s fun to drive. It has well-controlled body roll, nicely tuned steering, and good brake feel, all of which make it a standout in the world of small crossovers. Ride quality wasn’t great when the latest Sportage debuted, but it is slightly improved since Kia revised the car’s suspension tuning for 2012. (Kia is trying to smooth out more wrinkles by improving the model’s suspension dampers for 2014.) The 2014 Kia Sportage is aging very well and remains a strong option for small-crossover shoppers.
The 2014 Kia Sportage is one of the first “new Kias.” The recently cool Korean car company took the Sportage from dismal SUV to desirable five-passenger crossover when this generation of the Sportage debuted for 2011. We immediately nabbed an all-new model for a Four Seasons test. We loved our car’s exterior and decided that the Sportage’s pretty sheetmetal would draw buyers to Kia dealerships, but we couldn’t turn a blind eye to the improving small-crossover market. Deputy editor Joe DeMatio said, “Although I love the way the Sportage looks and I like a lot about its interior, I’d have to say that its newer competitors have raised the bar.”
Since our year with a 2011 Sportage, Kia has been steadily and slightly improving the crossover. Two years ago, Kia updated the car’s suspension and added more sound insulation. Last year, the automaker made some slight changes to the exterior and added standard power-folding exterior mirrors. This year, Kia is making even more improvements: the normally aspirated in-line four-cylinder engine gets direct injection, high-performance suspension dampers are standard, and there are a bunch of new interior features available, including UVO eServices and an updated navigation system.
That said, the Sportage plays in a very competitive class. The Honda CR-V has a cubby-filled cabin that is far more useful than the Sportage’s interior, and the Mazda CX-5 is slightly better looking and even better to drive. Regardless, the Sportage has attractive styling and a lengthy warranty that make it a very strong option in this segment.
- Flashy exterior
- Balanced handling
- Too good, little engines
You won’t like:
- Sporty-but-stiff ride
- Some cheap interior materials
- Tough competition
- Ford Escape
- Honda CR-V
- Mazda CX-5
- Mitsubishi Outlander Sport