Used 1997 Kia Sportage
Edmunds' Expert Review
Many residents of the Midwest and along the East Coast don't know what the heck a Kia is. Kia's are built near Seoul, South Korea, and are currently sold in western and southeastern U.S. markets. The company builds an inexpensive compact sedan, called the Sephia, and a wonderfully affordable sport utility called the Sportage.
Part-owned by Ford and Mazda, Kia relies heavily on resources from both companies as it struggles to its feet in a tough marketplace. The Sportage is the product of a collaboration between Kia, Ford, Mazda and suspension-tuning guru Lotus. Designed from the start as a sport utility, the Sportage sports tough ladder frame construction, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive, and a Mazda-based powerplant.
Two trim levels are available: base and EX. Base models are well-trimmed, including power windows, tinted glass, split-folding seats, a remote fuel door release, power mirrors and a rear defroster. Power door locks, a theft deterrent system, and a spare tire carrier are newly standard for 1997. The EX adds cruise control, rear wiper and a remote liftgate release. Optional are a roof rack, air conditioning, premium stereo, CD player, leather interior, an automatic transmission and a limited slip differential.
A wide variety of colors are available on the Sportage's smoothly styled flanks; few of which appear to have originated from the minds of the folks currently in charge of painting Matchbox cars. The look is rugged yet cute; perfect for family duty in the burbs. Off-road, we found the Sportage confidence-inspiring, but it didn't feel as tight as a Toyota RAV4.
For most owners, that won't matter. Few SUV's actually leave the pavement, and on the pavement is where the Sportage shines. Lotus engineers worked wonders here, and the Sportage is stable and comfortable. The seating position is high and upright, visibility is outstanding, and the layout of the dashboard and controls is top-notch. Rear seat riders enjoy lots of room and support, afforded by "stadium style" elevated seating. From the driver's seat, the Sportage looks and feels much more substantial than its low price would lead you to believe. Our only quibble with the Sportage's interior was the lack of storage space, though this year's standard spare tire carrier certainly helps.
Kia hopes the younger families and active singles that will be buying the Sportage will find its affordability a welcome trade for some cargo room. With a loaded 4WD EX topping out at around $21,000, we think they've got little to worry about.
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Features & Specs
Used 1997 Kia Sportage Overview
The Used 1997 Kia Sportage is offered in the following submodels: Sportage SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV, 4dr SUV 4WD, EX 4dr SUV 4WD, and EX 4dr SUV.
What's a good price on a Used 1997 Kia Sportage?
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Which used 1997 Kia Sportages are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Kia Sportage?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.