2006 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Kia Sportage SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Kia Sportage Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 140 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Kia Sportage

  • Packing an available V6, tons of standard safety equipment and a comfortable cabin all at a bargain-basement price, the 2006 Kia Sportage is a value leader among small SUVs. Buyers with more flexible budgets may want to check out the Kia's stronger-engined competitors, however.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Impressive fit and finish, stylish and functional interior, hard-to-beat warranty, standard ABS, side airbags and stability control.

  • Cons

    Down on power and drivetrain refinement versus its competitors.

  • What's New for 2006

    The Sportage EX now features a standard tire-pressure monitor, while all models receive a cabin air filtration system.

Full 2006 Kia Sportage Review

What's New for 2006

The Sportage EX now features a standard tire-pressure monitor, while all models receive a cabin air filtration system.


The name Sportage doesn't really conjure up warm memories. Many folks remember the Sportage of yesterday, a crude cute-ute that was plagued with quality issues, a weak engine and a cheap interior. Introduced globally in 1993, the Kia Sportage was a body-on-frame compact SUV. Updates and revisions through the years were made in an effort to keep the truck-based 'ute competitive. The axe fell in 2002 when the aging Sportage disappeared to make way for the infinitely more refined midsize Sorento. Kia realized a gap was left when the Sportage departed, and knew it had to whip up a mini-ute just as modern as the successful Sorento.

Debuting last year fully redesigned, the current Kia Sportage shares nothing with its predecessor. We're not just talkin' basic parts here: The new SUV even abandons the original's petite dimensions and truck-based body-on-frame structure in favor of a larger design based on a more carlike unibody platform. Kia's goal with the Sportage is to combine the smooth ride, agile handling and refinement of a passenger car, the style and driving position of an SUV and the interior room of a wagon, all in one versatile package. And the company has succeeded. The 2006 Kia Sportage is longer, wider and taller than the average compact SUV. The stylish interior features quality materials and great ergonomics. A unique split-folding rear seat is able to fold flat to create a level cargo floor. It does this by lowering the bottom cushion into the footwell, and doesn't even require removal of the head restraints.

Power is provided by two different engines: a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing, which makes 140 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque; and an optional 2.7-liter V6 engine that produces 173 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, and a full-time four-wheel-drive system is optional. The system senses when one or both front wheels lose grip and automatically diverts up to 50 percent of the engine power to the rear wheels. The system can be manually set to a fixed 50/50 split when extra traction is needed for driving in the snow.

The Sportage scores highly on the safety front by including standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for front occupants, and front and rear head-protecting side curtain airbags. No longer just a cute little SUV, the 2006 Kia Sportage is now a serious competitor in a class of excellent machines. Its affordably priced combination of carlike ride dynamics, roomy passenger quarters and all-weather capability make for a compelling package.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Kia Sportage is a compact four-door SUV offered in two trim levels, LX and EX. Both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (which Kia calls 4WD) are available. Standard features on the LX include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power windows and locks, tinted glass, a rear wiper and a CD stereo system. The EX adds a sunroof, foglamps and keyless entry. Options include a premium audio system and leather seating.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine on the LX is a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine. It generates 140 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque and is mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with automanual-shift capability (2WD only). Optional on the LX and standard on the EX is a 2.7-liter V6 that produces 173 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is available with the four-speed automatic only. Buyers can get front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (4WD) with either engine.


The Kia Sportage boasts six standard airbags -- front and side-impact airbags for both driver and passenger, and side curtain airbags for both front- and rear-seat occupants. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control are all standard equipment. Neither NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash tested the Sportage.

Interior Design and Special Features

Kia designed a functional, roomy and attractive interior for the Sportage. Most of the materials are of good quality and the build quality is solid. The rear-seat design allows for a flat load floor by the process of lowering its cushion into the rear footwell; removing the head restraints is not necessary. With the rear seat folded, the Sportage offers 67 cubic feet of cargo capacity, a good figure for this class.

Driving Impressions

The 2006 Kia Sportage provides a carlike ride while returning relatively sporty handling on par with that of most peers. Should you push too hard through a corner, the standard stability and traction control system will intervene to keep you headed in the right direction. Additionally, the Sportage's four-wheel independent suspension system helps smooth bumps without the jittery feel typical of many SUVs. Power from the standard four-cylinder is barely adequate, so we recommend you stick with the larger 2.7-liter V6. The four-speed automatic isn't quite as smooth as the five-speed unit in the CR-V or RAV-4, but it always manages to keep the V6 right in its power band.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Not happy

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV 4WD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

I have a 2006 KIA Sportage 2.7 v6 4x4. I like the car but lately it has not been good. I only have 19000 mile on it and keep it in a garage. At 18000 miles the engine started to miss and the check engine light came on. I took it to the KIA dealer and after 5 visits and changing parts that did not fix it and paying for them, they finally fixed it by changing the plugs and the ignition wires. I was charged 5 times the price I would have paid at Auto Barn or Pep Boys. For what KIA charges for the plugs and wires they should last a lot, lot longer then 18000 miles and they should have changed them first. These parts should have been changed under the warranty.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The perfect car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sportage EX 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

I have owned 2 KIA's and loved them both. My 2006 Sportage has almost 200k on it and still going strong. I would never buy another kind of car. My next one with be a 4 wheel drive now that I live in the mountains. Thank you KIA keep up the great work! PS Try working on the rear end safety :)

Love this car!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

This is the 2nd Kia I have owned, and I my 2nd positive review for this company. I bought my Kia brand new in 2006 with about 16 miles on the odometer. I currently have about 60K on this vehicle and it is still running beautifully. No major problems, decent gas mileage and plenty of room for my husband, two kids and 90-pound labrador retriever. With the 5-speed manual transmission, we don't seem to have the power issues that have been mentioned in previous reviews.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Good car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

This was a great mid$ car. Was totaled in crash, and all crumple zones and air bags saved me! Never had any issues with this car. Owned it from 47k to 74k miles. Btw, I paid $9500, and after 14 months, ins paid $8300. Book value went UP even with 27k more miles on it. Avg. 24 mpg mostly freeway. For you gear heads, there is about a 1400 rpm drop between gears. 3800 rpm in 5th gets you about 72 mph on flats. You'll need to drop 1 on hills. Great car for the $.

Love it!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sportage EX 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

I traded my 2004 Ford Ranger because I needed more room. I didn't want to trade but I am so glad I did. I LOVE this 2006 Kia Sportage. It is comfortable, quiet and fun to drive. Even my large (6 ft+, 300 lb) husband was comfortable on the long drive we took this last weekend. First half of trip he was the passenger, second half he was the driver.

2006 kia sportage fwd-problems

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV 4WD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

I purchased my KIA and loved it until 2 mo. after purchase, I left for Pa. to visit family. One hr. from destination it started shorting out. Acted like running out of gas-had half a tank. Had it towed to KIA Dealership, was told it was a filed out spark plug. Only replaced 1 spark plug. Went back to Vt. no problem. One month later left for Fl. One hour before destination started doing the same thing. Towed to KIA Dealership, after 3 days and a $250.00 car rental bill was told the problem was fuel pump. Has been fine since. Now my key will not turn in ignition everytime. Just came from KIA Dealership and will cost me $250.00- $300.00 for ignition.

Talk About The 2006 Sportage

2006 Kia Sportage Discussions See all Started By

I have a 2006 Kia Sportage EX and was recently told to have my wheel bearings checked. When I call/go around for estimates/pricing, what should I ask? I don't want any unnecessary repairs or parts tha...

2006 Kia Sportage with only 70K miles: ESC Light has been coming on after driving highway speeds every day, and cruise control stopped working the same time the ESC light started coming on. Everywhe...

even Kia will lay claim to that one. I have a Sportage 2006 EX V6 (loaded) and have not had ONE problem. I get about 18 city, 22-27 highway, and as high as 30 mpg on the highway with cruise. Also, di...

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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