2006 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Kia Sportage SUV

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Kia Sportage Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.7 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 173 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (22 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The perfect car

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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 it!

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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.

Tough little suv

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

We traded in a 05 Sedonna, and bought this Sportage new. It is a nice vehicle, comfortable, good driving manners. It has everything we could ask for in an SUV. V-6 engine has plenty of power. Haven't had any problems with it at all. We have it serviced at the dealership, and have had nothing but outstanding workmanship out of the dealership. My wife drives it daily to work, and we have taken it on several trips, with virtually no problems. Gas mileage ranges from 19 to 21 in town and 23 to 25 on the road at speeds up to 70mph. I would not hesitate to buy another one.

A bad choice

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

I bought this SUV new 3 years ago, and liked it. However recently it started stalling when I tried to stop at traffic lights. A Kia dealership could not figure out what the problem was. The situation happens from time to time but nobody can fix it! It's a dangerous car.

Very good value but with

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

I purchased this car used with 19k miles at a dealership for only $12k and it is still under factory warranty. This is a loaded EX 2wd model. It is a vibrant blue color and looks great inside and out. The car is relatively quiet and comfortable and fit and finish appears to be very good. I do have a problem with one of the rear passenger interior door handles not working, but I can just take that in any time to get it fixed. The interior leather seems to be very durable and should up up to many years of use. The premium stereo system sounds good, though loading and unloading cds into the 6-disc changer is very slow and cumbersome. Exterior lighting is very bright, both headlights and tail.

Best valued mid sized suv

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

We looked at all of the players; Rav4, CRV, Focus, BMW X3, Tuscon, etc. This was by far the best car for the money. It's comfortable, gets good gas mileage, great on trips and handles like a dream. This is a well engineered vehicle. It also has the best warranty in the industry.

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.

Talk About The 2006 Sportage

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs