New for 2015
After a round of changes for 2014, the Kia Sportage enters 2015 largely unchanged.
The Kia Sportage is a compact five-passenger crossover that fits below the three-row Sorento in the automaker’s lineup.
The 2015 Kia Sportage comes in three trims, with two different powerplants, and pairs a six-speed automatic with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. The volume engine is a 2.4-liter I-4 that makes 182 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, which is good for an EPA-estimated 21/28 mpg city/highway (FWD) and 19/26 mpg (AWD). Buyers looking for more power are treated to the 260-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 269 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20/26 mpg (FWD) and 19/24 mpg (AWD). Power delivery is lively, and we found acceleration to be “almost too quick for a crossover.”
The 2015 Kia Sportage in AWD form earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, and a four-star overall rating in FWD form (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS testing the Sportage received four ratings of good and one of poor in the new – and more difficult – small overlap front category (the highest possible rating is good).
What We Think
The 2015 Kia Sportage is an attractively styled five-passenger crossover that performs in an extremely competitive segment. The Sportage lives up to its reputation as the sportier of the two Korean brands (Hyundai being the other), and the turbocharged SX model exemplifies that. The six-speed and turbo 2.0-liter I-4 make for an impressive combination in the performance department, despite the 3200+ pounds the crossover carries around. Also in the Kia’s favor is the roomy interior, which is nicely appointed, and features reclining outboard seats in the back row. Our major complaint from our time in a 2011 Kia Sportage SX was the handling, which didn’t seem to split the balance between firm and harsh. This, however, has been partially remedied in the 2014 refresh, which made high-performance dampers standard equipment across the range. As one editor noted in 2011 when the Sportage was redesigned, not many others deliver this level of performance, packaging, styling, comfort, and fuel economy for around $28k.
You can’t help but drive around a leather-lined, upscale, comfortable, quick, fuel-efficient crossover that looks this good without thinking to yourself “This is a Kia?” Yes, this is a Kia, and it’s damn good.
- Turbocharged SX performance
- Attractive exterior styling
- Nicely appointed interior
You Won’t Like
- Handling is improved, but impacts are still harsh over potholes
- Rearward visibility poor through small rear windshield
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota RAV4
- Nissan Rogue
- Ford Escape
- GMC Terrain
- Jeep Renegade