2011 Kia Sportage SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/27 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

  Average Consumer Rating (5 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great ride

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

I have only owned my Sportage since Jan 16 which is 3 days as of today and I could not be happier. Traded in a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee Larado that had poor gas mileage (of course), was noisy to drive, uncomfortable to sit in except for short drives and handled like a Mack Truck. Just was completely dissatisfied with the drive and feel of an 'American-made' car/SUV which felt cheap - not the reputation of Jeep I had expected. My Sportage has just made a 5 hour trip from the upper northwest Ohio to Columbus and neither I or my passengers felt fatigued by the seating or the room available in the seats. Got the 6-speed Automatic, turbo charged T-GDI model and I am thrilled.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Well designed car.

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

I'm very happy with my Sportage SX. It is a lot of car for the money. It serves my need for something big enough to carry me, my wife and toddler on weekend daytrips. It does it while managing to be fun to drive, fairly frugal on gas, stylish and comfortable. Lots of tech features like USB, Bluetooth, backup camera, navigation, heated/cooled seat, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and premium stereo w/ sub.

2 of 28 people found this review helpful

2011 kia sportage sx just

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

Took a long time to review models and a month ago selected the turbo Kia Sportage at $30K out the door-it has all the options including these neat little floor lights. Here's what I think so far: 1-great drive- turbo moves and comes with a better suspension 2-price-it's $6k less than a equally equipped luxury badge. If you don't care about "prestige" save a bundle buying the Kia 3- 31 mpg on open road and 25 in town-this is comparable to the RAV and the CRV-but with the turbo thrust 4-leather-excellent quality 6-driving comfort great 7-roomy but doesn't look like a behemoth on the road

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Can you ignore the ride?

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

I've had my Sportage for approx 1 month and 1000 miles. I traded in a 2010 Mazda 3 Grand Touring. The Sportage was the closest I could get to the 3's handling, performance and options. However, the 30k price tag was a bit hard to swallow. I really feel like I took a huge leap of faith buying a Kia...especially awith a $$ that could get me almost any other CUV out there. The warranty is great, but who wants a vehicle that needs to be in the shop alot. I only have two complaints: 1. The ride is rough. 2. Satellite reception is extremely spotty. So far, happy with the purchase. I just hope Kia is ready to deal with customer's expectations of those spending 30K on a vehicle.

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


  • 22
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs