2011 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Kia Sportage SUV

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Kia Sportage Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 176 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/29 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (7 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Happy so far!

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

I finally had to say goodbye to my 01 Subaru Impreza RS. At 165 horsepower, I didn't want to lost much on the "fun" factor for my new ride. Test drove a 1.6 Soul, and it was very underpowered. Tried the Sportage and was pleasantly surprised. Love the good gas mileage (27 mpg)and loads more cargo space. Also love the styling. I went w/ the base model because wanted something new/reliable and good on gas. I'll miss the AWD in my Subaru, but if you want the higher level models have AWD. Can't beat the value on the manual 6speed and the awesome warranty. Kia had some great incentives and low APR as well. I think this is a car I'll have for many years to come.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Lovin every minute of it

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

This is my first Kia. We are a big Chevy family, and I was a little hesitant on the Kias. Wanted a relatively loaded vehicle with low financing and low price tag. Was sold on the Sportage the minute I drove it. Very comfortable (I have a bad back). Has a lot of features for a stick shift car. Recently took it on a 6 hour drive to another state. Couldn't have been happier--very comfortable, and 27 mpg.

Love it!

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

I've had my new 2011 Kia Sportage for just 10 days now and I'm liking it more every day. I was previously driving a 03 Jeep Liberty Limited that I absolutely loved but after 133,500 miles the maintenance costs were going up while the dependability was going down. Can't really compare the Jeep with the Sportage but I am very pleased with my choice. There is plenty of oomph when I need it and the 30 mpg is awesome.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sportage delights

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sportage 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

Purchased the KIA brand for the first time. This is my 6th new car I have purchased. I currently own Honda and Cheverolet. I have owned 3 Toyotas. As is my usual routine after driving the car home I go over the car with a fine tooth comb and give it a complete wash and wax looking for flaws. I am impressed! The lines and styling of the new Sportage are terrific. The more I look over the car the more impressed I become. The handling is excellent and the ride is smooth. The interior is well thought out with an amazing number of features you seldom find in a car at this cost. The car is very comfortable to drive with plenty of room for 4. Since it is new I cannot rate it for reliability.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Kia sportage 2011

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

It's only been 4 days since I bought the vehicle, but this review might help anyone who is looking to buy an entry level SUV. When buying, the brands I considered were RAV4, CR-V, Santa Fe. The good thing about getting a Kia is the ability to negotiate a suitable price. Honda and Toyota's are a little too stubborn to do so. But really, the vehicle has an awesome build quality and drivability. I was surprised by the quality of the vehicle, especially comparing it to the previous Sportage. I highly recommend anyone to take an informed decision, if you're buying a Rav4 or C-RV just test drive the new Sportage! That's exactly what happened to me!

Are you kidding me??

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

I got the first 2011 Sportage in this area. It is an EX AWD model, 18" wheels, 6 spd automatic, 4 cyl 176 hp engine. The ride is great, handling and power far better than my previous vehicles, Found this SUV while actually looking at another make. It was just off the delivery truck and not even on the lot yet. The appearance of this car is outstanding. I enjoy getting all the looks while driving around town. Am looking forward to this winter when I can get out on the roads. Have only had it for a week or so, getting 22 mpg in city driving.

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.

Talk About The 2011 Sportage

Read more about the 2011 Kia Sportage

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs