Introduced in 1995, the Kia Sportage is among the growing selection of compact crossover sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that provide good quality at a fair price. The Sportage is among Kia’s most popular models and it’s largely remained unchanged since its second generation debuted in 2005.
Among several changes then was the transition from a truck to car platform. The 2007 Sportage is available is seven configurations, and my weekly driver was the 4×4 (all-wheel drive). It has a 2.7-liter, 24-valve, V6 engine with 173 horsepower a four-speed automatic transmission.
Considering its status as a compact SUV, the Sportage has a lot to offer. Its interior is attractive, with the dark gray paneling and console matched against a silver medal instrumentation panel, shift knob and various handles and supports. The approach is simple and functional. There’s good leg and head room and a surprisingly large and efficient cargo area.
The Sportage is available in two trim levels, the LX and EX, with front wheel and all-wheel drive available. Standard features on the LX include 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, tinted glass, a rear wiper and a CD player. Air-conditioning is also standard on all LX models, except front-drive four-cylinder models with the manual transmission.
The EX adds the V6 engine as standard as well as a $900 option package that includes a sunroof, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, a trip computer, MP3 capability for the CD player and keyless entry.
I drove the Sportage more than 1,000 miles in my weekly test throughout the Georgia with a brief excursion into Tennessee. I was impressed by the vehicle’s nimble maneuvering and driving comfort. Vision is good and the vehicle remains comfortable and unaffected even after several hours on the the road. I didn’t have the opportunity to utilize the four-wheel drive option, but it engages with a simple push button on the instrumentation panel to the left of the steering wheel.
My journey advanced from country roads to high-speed highway stretches in high volume traffic to ascending sharp-cornered, steep inclines to Brasstown Bald Mountain, the highest elevation in the state at nearly 4,800 feet.
And it was only on mountain climbs where the Sportage can be faulted. Its acceleration isn’t the best under any driving scenario. But while climbing, the engine had to work to make the grade, particularly with the air-conditioning engaged. The lack of power gives reason for SUV buyers to check out the Kia’s more powerful SUV competition.
Nevertheless, the Sportage holds its own as an attractive well-appointed vehicle, particularly considering its pricepoint and Kia’s well-known 10-year warranty parameters.
The Weekly Driver: 2007 Kia Sportage
Safety Features – Dual front, side and side curtain airbags.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) – 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 program, 5 years/60,000.
Base Price – $21,195.00.