2011 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 2.4 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 Yes

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

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 yrs later...

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2nd kia

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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.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Never again!

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

I bought the 2011 Kia Sportage EX after looking for the right model and getting what I thought was a good price, I had the car for 10 months. This car left me stranded 3 times in 10 months. The first time I was out of town and a "fuse" blew and the car wouldn't start, towed to dealer for repair on a Sunday, took $50 cab ride home 2 weeks later it dropped dead at an intersection, fuse blew again due to bad fuel pump, replace pump after tow to dealer, 3rd time it left me stranded on a dirt road high in the mountains, Kia roadside was no help at all and ignored me, had to use my buddies AAA to get a flatbed, some expensive computer module broke, fixed, promptly traded for 2010 Ford Taurus.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great cute ute

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

Finally got rid of my 10 yr old Toyota Sequoia-had problems with it from the get go. I live in rural Vermont on dirt roads and need clearance and 4WD plus room for 2 dogs and 2 kids. I love the Sportage. Very fun to drive and great gas mileage for 4WD-about 25 mpg average, mostly on rural roads. So far, good on dirt roads and I don't have serious tires on it yet. I bought the EX and the seats are very comfortable especially with the lumbar support for the driver. Very quiet ride. Visibility is fine in back, but the combination of the pillars and side mirrors in the front is a safety hazard! I can't see medians while turning left and I can't see people in in crosswalks.

Fuel mileage dissapointing but nice

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

We've had our 2011 Sportage for about 6 months and we pleased with almost everything. Traded in a Lexus IS250 that got 29-32 mpg for more room and mileage that ranges from 22-33 on the sticker. Driving very conservatively in "ECO" mode with reg fuel only gets us about 19.8 combined highway and city. If we use premium fuel with no ethanol we up that about 4 mpg. Using premium on the highway only we can get about 26.5. Now has about 8500 miles so should be broken in by now. Other than that, the car is loaded with options comparable to our Lexus. We like the nav better and it updates with Satellite vs buying a disc. Enjoying it overall and looks great, just disappointed in the fuel.

6 of 14 people found this review helpful

Pleasantly surprised

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

Like most folks I was hesitant to buy anything Korean based on friends who actually bought them. After watching and researching the rise of both Hyundai and KIA I decided to give it go. I got a good deal thanks to having both a 2008 CRV and 1999 CRV which is what we used as a trade-in.Also, recent college grad helped as well. The 2011 KIA has its strong points and both Honda and Toyota better wake up. With 18s the KIA is definitely the more firm/harsh ride but also decidedly more sporty. The Honda has more cargo room and better visibility overall. The build quality is tight and the car pretty much sells itself which is a good thing because the dealers look like they need some upgrading.

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
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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