Kia Sportage

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Side view of a used Kia Sportage SUV

Be a sport

This family-friendly compact SUV is an attractive buy as a used vehicle.Sportage, Kia’s family-friendly compact SUV, took a major step forward with its third generation in late 2010, and now it is an attractive buy as a used vehicle.

As an urban-style SUV, it looks the part and delivers in most key areas expected of this type of vehicle. Sportage’s raised stance, high-roof 5dr wagon shape and contemporary styling give it a purposeful, slightly rugged appearance.

Sportage is classed as a compact SUV, so interior space, for passengers and luggage, is adequate. It can accommodate up to five but the centre rear position is certainly not the best place to be sitting. The cabin has a modern presentation with all switches and controls laid out in a logical fashion, while instrumentation is clear and simple to read at a glance. There is a commanding forward view from the elevated driver’s seat, and the few minor blind spots are compensated for by the reversing camera with a small screen in the rear-view mirror, a feature found on all variants.

Each model is well kitted out for this class. The top-spec Platinum versions in particular have a host of desirable features. Bluetooth, however, was not introduced until an update in June 2011.

Sportage can be found with a variety of engine, driveline and equipment levels to suit differing needs and expectations, so it is important know exactly which version you are looking at. The base model Si is 2WD only and has a 2.0L petrol engine, and it’s the only version with the choice of a 5spd manual or 6spd automatic. The mid-grade SLi and top-spec Platinum are automatic-only, with an on-demand AWD system. Engine choice in these two higher-spec models is a 2.4L petrol or a 2.0L turbo-diesel. On today’s used market, the well-equipped Platinum is the most common and you will find there are almost two petrol models to every diesel on offer.

The 2.0L petrol engine does a capable job. Even though the 2.4L version has a little more power, the 2.0L diesel’s pull is the strongest and also has the lowest fuel consumption. With all three engines, fuel consumption is respectable but certainly not class-leading. It also tends to vary noticeably with different driving styles and operating conditions. There is not a great deal of difference in consumption between the petrol engines, as the smaller unit often needs to be worked a bit hard to do the same job.

The ride and handling package is well set up for city and suburban use, which is where most Sportages are likely to spend most of their time. The suspension can get a little unsettled on corrugated roads, however, and the stability control tends to intervene early. For those who like to head off-road, Sportage’s on-demand AWD system does a reasonably good job, but it is still a compact SUV with limited clearance and suspension travel.

In recent years, Kia’s build quality and reliability have improved dramatically and are now proving to be as good, if not better, than many of the highly respected Japanese and European brands.

In June 2013, this model moved to Series 2 and began to be built in Slovakia rather than Korea. The petrol version became the 2.0L engine across the range, and otherwise the changes were only cosmetic.

Apart from a few minor niggles, mainly to do with the vehicle’s trimming, the majority of owners appear to be very happy with their Sportages.

Pay attention to the service history; regular oil changes are essential (like many late-model cars) to avoid sludging which can lead to serious engine problems. It is vital to use good quality oil.

Recommended service intervals are 15,000km or 12 months. Many of these vehicles will also still have a portion of their new car warranty remaining.

The majority of problems that RACV vehicle inspectors find on late-model Sportages are usually normal wearing items such as tyres and brakes. Look out for uneven tyre wear that may mean a wheel alignment is required.

Check for under-body scrapes, where owners have taken advantage of the 4WD capability. While under the vehicle, also look for suspension wear or damage.


Si petrol 2WD (2010-14): $16,500-$23,700
SLi petrol (2010-14): $19,200-$30,400
SLi diesel (2010-14): $21,000-$33,100
Platinum petrol (2010-14): $21,600-$33,600
Platinum diesel (2010-14): $23,400-$37,400
Approximate Glass’s Guide prices for a 6spd auto.


Written by Greg Hill
April 01, 2015