2011 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Kia Sportage SUV

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

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 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 176 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Kia Sportage

  • The 2011 Kia Sportage offers many improvements over the previous-generation Kia crossover, and now the Sportage matches up with the best crossover SUVs in the class.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sharp styling inside and out; more fun to drive than other crossovers; plenty of premium features; intuitive controls.

  • Cons

    Slightly stiff-legged ride; less cargo capacity than other crossovers.

  • What's New for 2011

    The Kia Sportage has been completely redesigned for 2011.

Full 2011 Kia Sportage Review

What's New for 2011

The Kia Sportage has been completely redesigned for 2011.


Nowhere is it written that a crossover SUV must be bland and uninspiring, yet it seems that America's streets and highways have taken a turn toward dullsville as crossover sales march forever upward. In response, Kia has decided to inject this segment with a much-needed boost of adrenaline with its fully redesigned 2011 Kia Sportage, a small crossover with sharp styling and lively handling.

With no small bit of irony, you could have pointed to last year's Kia Sportage as a prime example of boring design. Underpowered plus generic to look at, the Sportage had little to offer beyond its low price and high value. But the 2011 Kia Sportage represents the Korean company's charge from the back of the pack to challenge those brands that sit at the head of the class. Thanks to chiseled lines and a sleek-looking interior, the 2011 Kia Sportage is one of the best-looking small crossovers for this model year.

In terms of engine performance, the 2011 Kia Sportage is still pretty average when it comes to actual output, because the standard 2.4-liter inline-4 makes 176 horsepower. But when you're behind the wheel, the Sportage feels much more athletic and engaging than any other compact crossover in its class thanks to taut suspension tuning. We expect the Sportage to get even sportier when the SX model with its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 debuts later in the model year with 270 hp.

The drawback to the Sportage's sporty handling is a ride that feels slightly stiff-legged. Rough pavement and washboard highways might lead some drivers to choose more comfortable crossovers, though the SX turbo will feature driver-adjustable dampers that might take the edge off the ride harshness. The Sportage also gets points deducted for having less cargo capacity than some of the front-running crossovers.

Among the competition, the stalwart 2011 Honda CR-V and 2011 Toyota RAV4 can accommodate about 25 percent more cargo, although that extra space will cost a few thousand dollars more than a comparably equipped Sportage. The Sportage also represents a relative bargain when compared to the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, 2011 Mazda CX-7 and 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander, as it delivers more standard features at a slightly lower price. While its lack of practicality means it won't be for everyone, we're happy to report that the 2011 Kia Sportage is a proverbial bright spot in an otherwise dull landscape.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV with seating for five. Initially, it will be offered in three trim levels: base, LX and EX. Soon after launch, a turbocharged SX model will be available.

Standard features on the base model include 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel with audio and phone controls, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth and a six-speaker CD/MP3 player with satellite radio and USB/auxiliary input jacks.

Stepping up to the Sportage LX adds turn signals integrated into the exterior mirrors, tinted rear windows and keyless entry. Seventeen-inch wheels are optional, but only on the LX.

The Sportage EX comes with 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, foglights, chrome exterior accents, a rear spoiler, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel that also telescopes, a power driver seat and a chilled glovebox. Some EX features are available on the LX as options.

Available on LX and EX models are an upgraded audio system and a voice-controlled navigation system with a back-up camera. An optional Premium package is only available on EX models and adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a ventilated driver seat, keyless ignition/entry, panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a cargo cover.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering the base, LX and EX examples of the Sportage is a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine that produces 176 hp and 168 pound-feet of torque. The base model is only available with a six-speed manual transmission, while other trims receive a six-speed automatic as standard. LX and EX buyers may also choose between front- and all-wheel drive. Later in the model year, a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will be available in SX trim.

All-wheel-drive Sportage models are suitable for light off-road duties only. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway mpg and 25 mpg in combined driving for a 2.4-liter automatic with front-wheel drive. Opting for a manual transmission or all-wheel drive drops those estimates by a few mpg each. In our performance tests, a front-drive 2011 Kia Sportage accelerated to 60 mph from a standstill in 9.5 seconds, an average time for this class.


Standard safety features on all 2011 Kia Sportage models include front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front headrests, antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction control and stability control, as well as hill descent and hill start control. In Edmunds testing, the Kia Sportage required 124 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, which is about average for a compact crossover SUV. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2011 Sportage its highest rating of "Good" for frontal offset and side impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Kia Sportage's interior in EX trim features a pleasing mix of complex and organic shapes. There is quite a bit of hard plastic throughout the cabin, but for the most part, it's well-textured and adequately padded where passengers generally make contact.

Passengers and driver alike benefit from well-contoured seats and adequate head- and legroom. The rear seats comfortably seat two average-size adults, but a third second-row passenger will likely find the center seat decidedly less comfortable. Sadly, the seat doesn't recline or slide fore and aft, features that have been adopted by the competition.

The Sportage comes up a bit short in regards to cargo space, accommodating a maximum of 26.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.6 cubes with the 60/40-split-folding seats laid flat. In comparison, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 both can hold roughly 70 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Despite rather average test numbers, the 2011 Kia Sportage is reasonably fun to drive. Its stiffer suspension may be an item of contention for some, however, as road imperfections (especially with the 18-inch wheels) are felt more often and with more intensity. Power from the four-cylinder engine is adequate, and the automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 yrs later...

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I gave 5 stars too... 3 years ago! The styling is cool, awesome sunroof, decent cargo and passenger room and... well... that's about it. 2 brake switch replacements* (recently recalled), less than expected gas mileage, squeeks and rattles and lately the transmission is reving too high. I have no faith that this rather expensive model will last me the 10 years I was hoping for. It might be a hard sale once the warranty expires! *when the brake switch blows, the car is completely dead. I know things happen but I shouldn't have to see my car being towed on a flat bed twice while making car payments.

2011 kia sportage sx

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage SX 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I purchased the Sportage based on the long list of features, engine performance and styling. I regret to say the build quality, reliability and performance have been poor to say the least. This was my first experience with Kia and will be my last. I was really hoping this would be a vehicle I could depend on for years but found out after only two I must replace it or risk becoming stranded and once out of warranty, paying dealer costs for repairs, TSB and recalls. Fuel mileage average during ownership (30,000) = 22.4 MPG (well below advertised) 5 trips to the dealer for warranty repairs in two years, 30,000 miles.

Wish i had waited

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage SX 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I have owned my 2011 Sportage SX 2WD for just about two years now. While my wife uses the vehicle as her daily driver, I have had enough seat time to offer my opinions about this great looking but not-so-reliable little SUV. Sadly, the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine failed at about 9,000 miles and basically had to be replaced. We have had ongoing issues ever since, but nothing bad enough to be considered a "lemon" under NC law. I feel certain we will be trading the vehicle next year despite getting killed on depreciation. My KIA/Hyundai experiment is over. Japanese for me from now on.

Great looking, functional awd, a

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

The good: great looking eye catching vehicle. I have heard complaints about the interior hard plastics, but I think its all fine. I never would have thought about it had I not read it. Awd system works exceptionally, I live where it snows a lot and handling is great. The bad: road noise, punishing stiff suspension, at 30k miles dash fan squeaks, radio led flickers, tires wearing poorly, steering is atrocious on long straight stretches seems like a half inch dead spot on center, requiring constant minor correction. Design flaw causes debris kicked up by front tires to ding up lower rear door badly. I like the car a lot, especially for the price, but some design change needed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2nd kia

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Traded in my 10 Soul for the 11 Sportage. I wanted something with AWD and the reliability of the Soul was awesome. Nothing besides oil changes at 78,000 on the Soul! The sportage has be extremely reliable as well. at almost 30,000, it has needed nothing except a switch replaced (covered under warranty). I am short at 5', and it was hard finding a car I fit in comfortably, I drive 70+ miles a day for work, and my butt never goes numb like on past cars.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Not working out like i

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Love the car, enjoying it then just had to have the transmission totally replaced at 14,750. The warranty covered this. My beef is with Kia Roadside- the rep was clueless, I waited forever for a tow (not a flatbed) and the tow truck driver was not careful (to say the least).

Talk About The 2011 Sportage

2011 Kia Sportage Discussions See all Started By

as there doesn't appear to be a thread for the new up coming redesigned model, I thought its time to start one....

Now that many of you have owned your Sportage 2011 for a while please share with us your MPG. Past models I know have had pretty sad MPG ratings. I keep hoping the new engine will make a difference. R...

I feel the same way about my KIA. We bought a 2011 Sportage SX for my wife's daily driver. The feature content was head a shoulders above any similarly priced competition. The feature content was a...

Read more about the 2011 Kia Sportage

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411