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2005 Kia Sportage

2005 Kia Sportage

Introduced a decade ago, the Kia Sportage was the Korean manufacturer’s second style available in the American market. It had its supporters and critics, and it eventually became the company’s bestseller.

Three years ago, however, when Kia was in the midst of severe financial difficulties, the Sportage was discontinued.

But behold, the Sportage is back, having undergone a vast makeover. It has the same name, but perhaps that’s the only similarity to yesteryear’s model.

The new Sportage has a completely new and refined interior and exterior design, and a good supply of standard and optional features. It also has a few nice, thoughtful, if small, considerations that could allow the small to well infiltrate the marketplace.

My test vehicle for the week was the Sportage 4×4 EX model, the larger of the two engine options offered on only one body style, a four-door SUV. The 173-horsepower, 2.7-liter V6 is equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission, the only option. The four-cylinder model has automatic and five-speed manual transmission options.

The vehicle performed well in all driving scenarios. It’s not the quickest SUV on the market, but it’s far from sluggish. In several instances, I was the aggressor into merging lanes. And while the Sportage doesn’t provide any time-warp sensations, the SUV, while categorized as a truck, accelerated without hesitation as if it were performing with car-like smooth, steady advances.

2005 Kia SportageKia’s four-wheel drive system is a single-range offering. It’s electronically controlled with a push-button function on the console. It’s designed for all-weather, all-season traction and primarily offered for on-road situations, not treacherous off-road conditions. The Sportage does have 7.7 inches of clearance and good traction, so off-road trail driving should certainly not be discounted. While on the road, the Sportage offers a comfortable, commanding and surprisingly quiet ride.

Equally impressive, the Sportage’s interior and exterior design has a modern contour of near luxury status. The outside of the vehicle has nicely shaped panel corners and the headlights, roof rails and various trim are all sturdy yet provide a sleek appearance. It’s as if the vehicle was molded after advancing into strong headwinds.

The interior has the same “feel.” The console and other instrumentation are well-positioned and handsome. My test vehicle had a bright-red exterior, matched nicely with a black leather interior. Metal trimmings around the console look simple, yet stylish and surprisingly upscale considering the vehicle’s value-for-cost considerations.

Speaking of cost, the Sportage EX model has a base price of $21,400, an appealing amount considering the vehicle’s standard options that, in part, include: air conditioning and sunroof, power windows and locks, heated outside mirrors, AM/FM/cassette/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers and cruise control. The EX model’s luxury package ($1,300) includes the aforementioned leather seating, heated front seats, automatic headlamps and automatic dimming inside mirror and with a homelink security function.

Further, the Sportage comfortably seats five and the front and rear leg and headroom is surprisingly spacious.

The Sportage also provides a few, small yet impressive nuances. The outside mirror adjustment switch, for example, adeptly moves from the driver to passenger mirror position with secure, precision shift. Likewise, the radio dials adjust with precise movements, both qualities often found on considerably higher-priced vehicles.

Additionally, the Sportage’s liftgate glass can be opened without opening the tailgate. A handy storage compartment and tray are available under the rear cargo area.

With every option available, the Sportage’s price is still well under $24,000. It’s a price point that should give the new Sportage best-value consideration in the small SUV market.

Quick Specs

  • Safety features — Driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags. Front seat mounted side airbags. Front and rear curtain airbags. Four-wheel antilock brakes. Electronic Force Distribution (EBD), Standard Traction Control (STC) and ESP Electronic Stability Systems.
  • Fuel Mileage – 19 mpg (city), 23 mpg (highway).
  • Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/100,000 miles, (24-hour) roadside assistance, 5 years/unlimited mileage.
  • Base price range — $21,400.00



ENGINE 2.0L I4 2.7L V6
Type Four-cylinder, iron block and aluminum head Six-cylinder, aluminum block and head
Valve gear DOHC w/Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) DOHC
Displacement 1975 cc 2656 cc
Compression ratio 10.0:1 10.0:1
Horsepower (hp @ rpm) 140 @ 6000 173 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm) 136 @ 4500 178 @ 4000
4WD System Full-time, electronic-control on-demand


Transmission 5-speed manual, overdrive
Electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic, overdrive w/Sportmatic
Electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic, overdrive w/Sportmatic
Gear ratios M/T A/T
1 st 3.636:1 2.842:1
2 nd 2.056:1 1.529:1
3 rd 1.333:1 1.000:1
4 th 1.061:1 0.712:1
5 th 0.821:1
Reverse 3.455:1 2.480:1
Final –drive ratio 4.533:1 4.626:1 (I4); 4.042:1 (V6)
4WD System Full-time, electronic-control on-demand


Layout Front transverse engine, front -wheel or four-wheel drive
Body type Steel unibody
Front suspension Independent, wide-based lower A-arms, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar, gas pressure shocks
Rear suspension Independent, dual transverse link, single trailing link w/struts, stabilizer bar, gas-pressure shocks
Steering Rack-and-pinion, power assist
Turns, lock-to-lock 3.06
Turning circle, curb-to-curb 35.4 ft.




Overall length 171.3
Overall width 70.9
Overall height 66.7
Wheelbase 103.5
Ground clearance 7.7
Track, front 60.6
Track, rear 60.6
Approach angle 29.5-degrees
Departure angle 28.7-degrees


Headroom, front 40.7
Headroom, rear 39.4
Shoulder room, front 56.7
Shoulder room, rear 56.3
Legroom, front 42.1
Legroom, rear 37.2
Hip room, front 54.6
Hip room, rear 54.6
Passenger SAE volume 103.9 cu ft
Cargo SAE volume 23.6 cu ft (rear seat up) 66.6 cu ft (rear seat down)




Type Dual diagonal, split-circuit, power-assisted braking system
Front 11.0-in. vented discs
Rear 10.3-in solid discs (4×2) 11.2-in solid discs (4×4)


Tires P215/65R16 (I4); P235/60R16 (V6)
Wheels 6.5J x 16, alloy


CURB WEIGHT (lbs) 2.0L I4 2.7L V6
  4×2 4×4 4×2 4×4
5-speed manual 3,225 3,406
4-speed automatic 3,250 3,344 3,521


Towing capacity 1,500 lbs. 2,000 lbs.
Fuel 15.3 gal. 17.2 gal.


EPA FUEL ECONOMY (mpg) 2.0L I4 2.7L V6
  4×2 4×4 4×2 4×4
AT 22 / 27 — / — 19 / 25 19/ 23
M/T 22 / 27 21 / 26 – / – – / –


James Raia, a journalist in Sacramento, Calif., syndicates the automotive column, The Weekly Driver Review, and is co-author of the e-book “How To Buy A Car Without Getting Ripped Off.”


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