Buzzwords have become the crutch of every marketing department in the automotive industry. During the introduction of the 2005 Kia Sportage, the manufacturer's reps used the term "DNA" so many times it sounded like closing arguments in the Scott Peterson trial.
They were making the case that although the Sportage shares its engines, transmissions, chassis, dimensions and other minor details with the Hyundai Tucson, it's still a uniquely Kia vehicle.
Yeah, and Scott just liked to fish.
Less Money, More Stuff Apart from obvious similarities to its corporate cousin, the Kia Sportage is a competent mini SUV, but in today's cutthroat market every vehicle needs a hook. In the case of the Sportage, it's price. Just ask Phil Kelley, Kia's VP of sales. "The Sportage has a positive value proposition," he told us. "With its unexpected value, safety and style, it enables self-confident 'SUV Club' aspirers to get more out of life."
The base price is $15,900, but that's for the stripper 2WD base model that would barely qualify for rental fleet duty. Add 4WD, a reasonable amount of features and the optional V6 engine and the Sportage comes in at just under $20,000. Deck it out in top-of-the-line EX trim and the Sportage tops out at $21,400, which is still a couple grand less than a similarly equipped Honda CR-V, Ford Escape or Hyundai Tucson.
Two engines are available: a 2.0-liter, 140-horsepower inline four-cylinder and a 2.7-liter, 173-hp V6. The V6 comes with a four-speed automatic only, while four-cylinder models can be equipped with a five-speed manual or the automatic.
The base LX model comes with basic stuff like power windows, locks and mirrors and a CD player. Move up to the EX and you get keyless entry, an upgraded stereo, a rear cargo cover and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Leather seats can be added as well, or you can go with the luxury package that combines leather with heated seats, automatic headlights and a premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer.
An even stronger selling point for the Sportage is its array of standard safety features. Every level of trim comes with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control, six airbags (front, side seat-mounted and side curtain) and stability control. Most vehicles in this class don't offer these items at all, let alone as standard equipment.
Less Tough, More Comfort A few hours in the Kia Sportage and the popularity of such vehicles isn't hard to understand. The Sportage is easy to get into, easy to see out of and feels instantly familiar.
The front seats remain comfortable after several hours and the thick side bolsters — a rarity in this class — give you something to lean against in the turns. In back, the Sportage has more head-, leg- and hip room than an Escape. Its seats fold completely flat in one motion, opening up an evil 66.6 cubic feet of cargo room, an average amount for the class.
The dash features recessed gauges that are plain but easy to read, and simple climate and radio controls, which could feel more substantial. Higher-line models use metallic accents to liven up the cabin, but this trim just makes the grainy plastic next to it look that much worse.
We drove V6-powered models and came away impressed with the engine's refinement but disappointed with its power. With several other V6s in this class topping 200 hp, the Sportage feels sluggish in comparison. The automatic transmission knows what you want most of the time, and there's a manual-shift gate if you think you can do better.
Unlike most mini-utes that try to isolate you from the road, the Sportage rides a little firmer, with reasonably tight steering and moderate body roll. It's not sporty, but if that's what you're looking for, you're in the wrong category to begin with. Road and wind noise are also kept to a minimum, so the cabin is quiet even if it's bouncing around.
Unlike the original Sportage that used rugged body-on-frame construction and a two-speed four-wheel-drive system, the '05 model rides on a unibody chassis with a fully independent suspension and all-wheel drive. Standard traction control and a push-button center differential lock give it some measure of off-road ability, but like most mini-utes the Sportage wasn't designed for the dirt.
What's In a Name? If you're a brand snob or need low-range gearing, the second-generation Sportage isn't going to cut it. The transfer case is gone and that Kia badge isn't getting any smaller. But if you value a long warranty, the latest safety equipment, plenty of features and a decent price, Kia now has a truck you will like. Turns out the Kia Sportage does have the right DNA, and the right value proposition.
Is the 2005 Kia Sportage a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2005 Kia Sportage and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2005 Sportage featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2005 Kia Sportage? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2005 Kia Sportage and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2005 Sportage 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2005 Sportage.
Review I am impressed. My wife and I have a 2012 Mustang and a 2013 Elantra and decided we wanted a cheap 3rd car to go off-roading and camping. I was so impressed with our Elantra that I decided to look at Sportages and Tucsons. I found that Sportages were listed cheaper, so I tested one. I actually really loved so much about it and so did my wife so we got it for such a good deal. It has so many features for a 2005! We took it up the mountain in 4 inches of fresh snow and it never slipped once--even going up steep hills. It easily tackled rocky and bumpy steep hills, too. I am more than impressed and cannot wait to go camping in the next few months. It has 125,000 miles on it and runs so smooth!
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What options are available on the 2005 Kia Sportage?
Available Kia Sportage 2005 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: LX, EX, SX, Base
Exterior Colors: Black Cherry, Mineral Silver , Clear White, Sparkling Silver, Hyper Red, Twilight Blue, Pacific Blue, Bright Silver, Signal Red, Burnished Copper, Sand Track, Snow White Pearl, Sage Green, Satin Silver, Volcanic Red, Steel Silver, Royal Jade Green, Verdant Green, Smart Blue, Smokey Brown, Champagne Metallic, Natural Olive, Techno Orange, Black, White
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black leather, Alpine Gray cloth, Gray cloth, Black premium cloth, Gray leather, Beige cloth, Alpine Gray premium cloth, Alpine Gray leather, Beige leather, Gray premium cloth, Black, Brown, Brown leather
Popular Features: Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Alarm, Tire Pressure Warning, Aux Audio Inputs, USB Inputs, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Bluetooth, Trip Computer, Back-up camera, AWD/4WD, Auto Climate Control, Heated seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, Keyless Entry/Start, Sunroof/Moonroof, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Cooled Seats, Navigation, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, Post-collision safety system, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Upgraded Headlights, Upgraded Stereo, Remote Start, Towing Hitch
Engine/Mechanics: 4, 6 cylinders
Transmission: AUTOMATIC, MANUAL
Fuel Types: regular unleaded
Drivetrains: all wheel drive, front wheel drive, four wheel drive, rear wheel drive