2008 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Kia Sportage SUV

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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 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Wonder kia

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

I was skeptical when I test drove this vehicle. Hopeful when I bought it. After owning it for two years I am extremely happy with it. I have had no problems and it goes everywhere I ask it to. Keyless entry would be nice, and a little more horsepower would improve it. However, I feel happy with vehicle and I WILL definitely buy another one. I was able to make the 25 mile commute to work with 6-8 inches of snow covering the roadway, no problems, it just powered right through.

Better deal than gm

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

My sportage was a leftover 2008 and i bought it feb 2009 i was very happy with the warranty and the rebate of 4000 .i will never go back to gm after owning a kia.it handles good on the road ,and in the snow and ice.only complaint i have is that the front seats need to have arm rest.

Truly understated all-around roadster

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

As i was trying to find a better off or on-road veh to own this early 2009, i end up looking at the 2008 Sportage model. A lot of disappointing feedbacks causing me to wonder how true these feedbacks really was. i drove two brand new units in the past from toyota and Volks. But i made a test on this one. God It's understated 1000x!! The 5 speed manual can climb any dune and boost 195kph in few seconds... who tells its a slow starter? Only at 200+ plus a buzzing sound seems noticeable. braking is great too. In cornering u must slow- down. Space is too good for my field projects with many small equipment and computers. Very dependable. Cute everyone love its curves. Im just too happy for it.

Don't buy a kia sportage

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

Don't buy one at all! I have asthma, and the airflow system is so bad, that every time I pass a vehicle with a bad exhaust system, all that polluted air comes into my vehicle, and I get an attack. Whenever it rains or there is an ice-storm, the elements pile up inside the rim of the door jamb, and this increases the possibility of the vehicle rusting. It is a spacious vehicle, but I would never recommend anyone buy this model. The ABS system is horrible. Don't even think about braking! It was my first experience with such a system, and I had to go to the dealership about 3 times, before I realized that this is what I have to deal with until I sell this vehicle.

Nice get around town vehicle

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

Fuel mileage has been better than expected (27 MPG), performance with the 4 cyl a little sluggish, loud engine noise while cruising at freeway speed. Sensor light came on for ESC Off about 4 days after purchasing, finally getting fixed this week. Car feels a little cheaply made, but you get what you pay for. For purposes of getting around town, it's a nice enough vehicle. Would marginally recommend.

Surprisingly excellent purchase!

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

When shopping for an economy suv, our first choice based on reputation and suitability for our needs was the Toyota Rav-4. But before we sank that kind of money into a vehicle, we thought we would look around at what else was available. First stop, Kia place. Last stop, Kia place. We were very impressed with the ride, the performance, and the overall appeal of the Sportage, and it soon became apparent that there ain't no way the Toyota Rav-4 can possibly be worth the $4,000 to $5,000 more it costs than a comparable Kia Sportage! And the frosting on the cake is the super gas mileage we get with the 4-cyl. engine with manual transmission. Way to go Kia!

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.

Talk About The 2008 Sportage

Gas Mileage


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