2008 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 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 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 140 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Kia Sportage

  • Thanks to its generous equipment list and affordable price, the 2008 Kia Sportage is a value leader among compact SUVs. We recommend buyers on a tight budget give it a look, but those with more to spend may want to check out the Kia's stronger-performing competitors.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stylish and functional interior, impressive warranty, plenty of standard safety features.

  • Cons

    Performance and fuel economy are noticeably lower than most competitors.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Kia Sportage sees no changes.

Full 2008 Kia Sportage Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Kia Sportage sees no changes.


Before CR-V and RAV4, there was Sportage. Yep, believe it or not, the Kia Sportage was one of the first small import SUVs sold in the United States. However, being first doesn't always lead to sales success. While Honda and Toyota's models have gone on to become incredibly popular, the first Sportage never attained critical mass, suffering from being underpowered, somewhat crude and too small on the inside.

A few years ago, the Sportage was completely redesigned. With the redesign came a switch to a car-based architecture and an emphasis on features and value. It was a welcome change, and for 2008, the Kia Sportage stays the course. As with its corporate twin, the Hyundai Tucson, the Sportage boasts a handsome cabin with quality materials, great ergonomics and a smartly designed split-folding rear seat.

As is common for the segment, buyers can choose between four- and six-cylinder power. But compared to rivals, the Sportage's power plants are both down on power -- the V6 makes only 173 horsepower, not much more than competitors' four cylinders. Furthermore, the Kia must make do with a four-speed automatic, while some other compact SUVs offer five-speed automatics.

With so many choices available for small SUVs these days, the 2008 Kia Sportage's detriments keep it from being one of our top picks. It's not as quick as the RAV4 V6, as sporty as the Mitsubishi Outlander or as refined as the CR-V. However, its roomy passenger quarters, strong warranty and high value still make it worth considering, especially if you're on a tight budget.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Kia Sportage is a compact SUV that's available in two trim levels: LX and EX. Either trim can be had in front- or all-wheel drive. The LX comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, tinted glass, a rear windshield 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, a sunroof, foglamps, heated outside mirrors, a trip computer, MP3 capability for the CD player and keyless entry.

Individual options include leather seating (for the EX), side step bars and a remote starting system. There are a couple of optional packages as well. The Sport Package for LX V6 models adds foglights, sport gauges, a black mesh grille, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a rear spoiler and the upgraded audio system from the EX. The Luxury Package for the EX adds leather seating, heated front seats, an auto-dimming mirror and a premium audio system with a six-CD changer.

Powertrains and Performance

Two engines are offered on the Sportage LX: a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder (140 hp and 136 pound-feet of torque) and a 2.7-liter V6 (173 hp and 178 lb-ft). The Sportage EX comes standard with the V6. The inline-4 can be had with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic, while the V6 is automatic only. One may also choose front- or all-wheel drive in either trim.

We timed a Sportage V6 at 10.7 seconds from zero to 60 mph, about a second or so off the quicker four-cylinders in the segment and more than three ticks off the class hot rod, the RAV4 V6. Fuel mileage estimates for a 2008 Sportage V6 with AWD are 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, a few mpg under the class average. The four-cylinder gets only a few city mpg better.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard equipment. In government crash tests, the 2008 Kia Sportage scored a top five-star rating for both frontal and side-impact crash protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Sportage received an "Acceptable" rating (the second highest of four) in that agency's frontal offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Sportage features a functional, roomy and attractive interior. Both the materials and build quality are very good, especially for this price point. The rear-seat design makes hauling a large amount of cargo a breeze -- it folds and lowers into the footwell, making for a flat load floor, and removing the head restraints isn't required. Thusly configured, the Sportage offers 67 cubic feet of cargo capacity, a respectable figure for this class.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2008 Kia Sportage provides a carlike ride and relatively sporty handling that makes it a little more fun to drive than many other compact SUVs. It's capable of being both a good city runabout and a long-distance highway cruiser. Power from the standard four-cylinder is barely adequate, so we recommend you opt for the V6. The four-speed automatic isn't quite as smooth as the five-speed units offered by competitors, but it's alert enough to usually keep the V6 right in its power band.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Have i really become a

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV 4WD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

To be fair this is actually my girlfriend's car but I drive it almost as much as she does. Everything about this car is average: the interior, the exterior, the performance. Nothing impressive. But I have actually become a Kia fan because of the reliability. We've had this thing on several long road trips with no problems. Other than maintenance items and a transmission fluid change at 45k miles due to hard shifting this thing has never let us down. I have a rear-wheel drive V8 and am looking for an 4WD SUV for winter. I just might get a KIA Sportage of my own.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

Non smoking campers view 2008

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

This review do to recal on the 2007 sportage Going home from the dealership my check engine light went on. I read the manual. I checked for recalls on the web. I found one recall for brake sensor and took the 2008 kia back . I told them of the recall. Kia checked the computer and told me they had never had five sensors bad , reset my computer and sent me home. Light came on just down the street. I told them I thought it was the brake sensor. The computer said steering. They replaced it. Almost home check engine light again.I told them brake sensor gives false codes. They replaced pitch,yhaw, finaly the last the sensor a brake sensor done. When cruise control stopped working. Problem fixed

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Vehicle is passable, service stinks

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Vehicle had defect issues with respect to door handles. Within one week, three of the four door handles broke off in my hand. Dealership claimed there was a recall, but used a recent ice storm to slither out of replacing the door handles. Wanted to charge me $500 per door. When asked about the fairness of doing such a thing, dealership shrugged me off and told me "you shouldn't have bought a used car". Vehicle performance is marginal. Acceleration isn't that great, almost no power. Vehicle doesn't seem to handle speeds above 75 very well. Mileage is terrible, but probably good for SUV. Vehicle is roomy, and interior laid out well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great value!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV 4WD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

Great car all in all. I bought it in Feb 09 for $15,000. I was looking at used cars and found this to be cheaper brand new than the used 4 cyl. 07 Ford Escape. I love the way it drives and it looks awesome. VERY SPORTY!!! My only complaints are the tires wore out around 20,000 miles and it cost around $700 to get 4 new ones! Kia told us that the tires for this vehicle are expensive and thats just the way it is. Gas mileage is my other complaint when i fist bought the car I was getting almost 23 on the highway and after replacing the tires with "gas saver" tires I now get about 19.5 highway. No one seems to know why the mileage has gone down. Except for those things I LOVE THIS CAR!

Solid & reliable

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV 4WD (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car in July 2008. I was in a bind, had to get something quick, and couldn't afford hefty car payments. I got a good deal and went with it. For the price, it is a good car. Sturdy, reliable, solid. I have put 28,000 miles on it in 19 months and have not had it in the shop once- we won't mention the trip to the body shop after a silly accident in the snow, will we? I read reviews before purchasing but, worried about gas prices, still went with a 4 cyl. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I had paid the extra $800 for a 6 cyl. The interior is made with lots of rock hard plastic but, for the price, I would recommend this car to someone low on money yet desirious of an SUV.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great colorado suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I bought the Volcanic red Sportage in May of 2008 after much comparison shopping for a small suv. Test drove the CRV,Rav4, Rogue, and Outlander. Based on price, comfort and mpg it came down to the Outlander and the Sportage. Rav was uncomfortable and noisy! Outlander didn't have a light colored interior and was priced a bit higher so went w/the KIA and got it for the same price as a 2007. I get 25-30 mpg(city to hwy). It has 18,700 miles and 3 oil changes on it. Runs great, no problems. Good in snow,rain and mountains. I scaled down from a Windstar minivan and am very happy w/my choice! Recently rented a Sorento and it was even more comfortable, smoother ride and quieter on the hwy Go KIA

Talk About The 2008 Sportage

2008 Kia Sportage Discussions See all Started By

Kia Sportage 2008 HVAC Mode Control Actuator Part Number: 97154-2E200 Auto Part Item View : 971542E200 (97154-2E200) ACTUATOR-MODE for HYUNDAI/KIA TUCSON Southtown Kia Edmonton, AB...

I have a 2008 Kia Sportage. It was recently discovered that instead of repairing my car, someone removed the Instrument Panel, pulled lights, and unplugged the emergency brake switch. Once all of th...

I had a 2001 Kia Sportage 4X4 and had that same problem one morning. It turned out to be the alternator. It was about a $350 repair counting the labor cost. Never had a problem with losing power like ...

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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