Used 1998 Kia Sportage

1998 Kia Sportage
List price range

Pros

  • Slick styling, cheap price, spunky DOHC engine

Cons

  • Not much cargo room, cheap radio

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

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, but Kia plans for national expansion soon. 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, split-folding rear seats, a remote fuel door release, power mirrors, a rear defroster, power door locks, a theft deterrent system and a spare tire carrier. The EX adds alloy wheels, wood interior trim, and air conditioning. Optional equipment includes leather interior, premium sound with CD player, four-wheel ABS and an automatic transmission.

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 or Honda CR-V.

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 is 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 less than $22,000, we think they've got little to worry about.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Kia Sportage.

don't buy
rodeodog, 6/27/2002
30,000 miles time belt shredded, 12,000 miles replaced heater fan, 45,000 miles tires dry rotted and manufacturer (Hankook)refused to adjust, no power, 70,000 miles exhaust system replaced,uncomfortable to ride long distance, paint peeled off fender and running board mud shields, manufacturer would not discuss, Difficult to get to the sparkplugs to replace, etc
VERY UNSAFE VEHICLE
TJJTRUCKER, 1/13/2004
DO NOT BUY, VERY UNSAFE, HIT POLE AT 25 MPH, TOTALED CAR, SPEND 1 WEEK IN HOSPITAL, CAN NOT BELIEVE I PUT MY SON IN THIS CAR. SPENT MORE TIME IN SHOP THAN I DROVE IT. RUSTED OUT BACK END, 4 WD WENT OUT TWICE, DOOR HANDLES WOULD NOT WORK, FUEL TANK, FUEL PUMP, SPARK PLUGS, BATTERY, WIPERS, FRONT BRAKES, COIL WIRE, STARTER, WASHER NOZZLES, YOU NAME IT.
REPAIRS ADDING UP!
OUCH!!, 8/3/2009
I purchased my Sportage two years used- it had 39,000 miles-high. Owned the car 9 years and have only put 52,000 miles on. The dealer services do little to take care of the car-better to find a good independent. At 60,000 miles, it needed front wheel bearings packed,new timing belt,drive belts,& new battery. At 78,000 miles, the radiator overheated; I had replaced the radiator,thermostat,fan clutch,and a cooling system power flush-cost $1200. Car has always had poor, vibrating brakes that I've had repaired numerous times to no avail. The engine leaks oil - I've had this partially fixed twice for $$$ but still leaks. The 4 WD failed some time back but the indicator light says its working.
What do you expect from this car?
KennyRayRay, 10/27/2005
I've driven my '98 Sportage from day 1. 7 years now. It's had a few problems. Most annoying was that I had to replace the starter about 4 times. $300 bucks a pop. It's a cheap, little car. You didn't spend $50K on a BMW. You spent $12K on a Kia. It's been a great car for me. If it died today, I got my money worth. Repairs and all. Most people don't post things on this site unless they are REALLY happy or REALLY upset with a car. I was tired of listening to people moan about this particular car that has been good to me.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 21 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
130 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
17 city / 21 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
130 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
17 city / 21 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
130 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
17 city / 21 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
130 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 1998 Kia Sportage features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Marginal

More about the 1998 Kia Sportage
Used 1998 Kia Sportage Overview

The Used 1998 Kia Sportage is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include 4dr SUV, EX 4dr SUV 4WD, EX 4dr SUV, and 4dr SUV 4WD.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Kia Sportage?

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