1998 Kia Sportage Review

Pros & Cons

  • Slick styling, cheap price, spunky DOHC engine
  • Not much cargo room, cheap radio
List Price Estimate
$451 - $958

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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.

1998 Highlights

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1998 Kia Sportage.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

1.5 out of 5 stars
don't buy
rodeodog,06/27/2002
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
TJJTRUCKER,01/13/2004
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 NAME IT.
2.5 out of 5 stars
Poor Purchase!
Wendy,04/16/2002
4dr SUV 4WD
I bought th 98 Sportage thinking it was a cute little sporty 4-wheel drive that I would find useful. Unfortunately it wasn't useful because something was broke on it every 3-6 months. I wasn't impressed with the service of the dealership either. Now at 60,000 I'm faced with trading it in because of the horrible problems I'm facing. The warranty is no longer effective and the repairs are just too expensive. I'll be paying my way out of this for quite some time.
1.25 out of 5 stars
the biggest mistake i ever did
svetlana,06/27/2002
EX 4dr SUV
when i purchesed the car on march 26 2002i had nothing but i major problems and still does and they can never find a problem i would never recomend to any one or but it my self kia again or deal with thatg dealership they take advantage of people i wish i never got this car it still have more problems than i know what to do with

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: Sportage SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV, EX 4dr SUV, 4dr SUV 4WD, and EX 4dr SUV 4WD. Pre-owned Kia Sportage models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 130 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1998 Kia Sportage comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

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

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1998 Kia Sportages are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1998 Kia Sportage for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1998 Kia Sportage.

Can't find a used 1998 Kia Sportages you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Sportage for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,097.

Find a used Kia for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $10,819.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Sportage for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $22,924.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $13,957.

Should I lease or buy a 1998 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.

Check out Kia lease specials
Check out Kia Sportage lease specials