There are lots of improvements this year for the Sportage, including a new grille, new alloy wheels, tilt steering wheel, passenger-side airbag, better brakes, improved air conditioning and four-wheel ABS that replaces last year's rear-wheel ABS.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1998 Kia Sportage 4dr SUV and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
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.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1998 Kia Sportage.
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.
1.5 out of 5 stars
1998 Kia Sportage EX 4dr SUV
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
1.13 out of 5 stars
VERY UNSAFE VEHICLE
1998 Kia Sportage 4dr SUV 4WD
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
1.38 out of 5 stars
1998 Kia Sportage 4dr SUV 4WD
The worst car I have ever owned.
Consistantly one problem after
another, each time I would give it the
benefit of the doubt believing that this
was the last problem, it never was. I
have spent thousands of dollars in
repairs and have had horrible
experiences with the Kia dealership.
No one else is familiar with Kia's so
they all told me to go to the Kia
dealers plus I … could still get a
warrenty out of it, that never
happened once. I'm happy to tell
anyone to not even consider this
brand. I've had it for 1 year and I'm
selling it now and have lost half my
value, big waste of money!!!!