- Mostly unchanged after large updates in 2014
- Two four-cylinder engine options
- Lots of standard features for its price
Back after receiving a long list of updates last year, the 2015 Kia Sportage is a stylish, well-outfitted compact crossover.
The Sportage mostly stands pat for the new model year; the only changes of note are found on the line topping SX trim, which now comes with navigation, power folding mirrors, and push button start as standard equipment.
Going up against stout competition like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Mazda CX-5, the Sportage needs to stand out and its styling helps. For 2014, it got an updated front grille, new wheel designs, HID headlights, and LED taillights. 17-inch allow wheels come standard, with 18-inch wheels coming on EX/SX models. The Sportage’s best angle is from the front, where the larger pinched grille and expressive front fascia give it a handsome face; from the rear, it looks somewhat pedestrian.
The Sportage’s base engine also got a power upgrade last year, bumping output up to 182 from 176. The 2.4-liter, inline-four cylinder also makes 168 pounds-feet of torque and is found in LX and EX models. The top-of-the-line Sportage model, the SX, comes with a 260-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter, inline-four cylinder engine that makes 269 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic, sending power to either the front or all four wheels.
The standard four-cylinder/front-wheel drive combination returns EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21/28 mpg city/highway, while all-wheel drive models with the 2.4-liter get 19/26 mpg city/highway. With the more powerful EX, the ratings come in slightly behind that at 20/26 mpg city/highway with FWD, and 19/24 mpg city/highway with AWD.
The Sportage, like most Kias, also does not disappoint when it comes to standard features and value for money. Among the Sportage’s notable standard features are an audio system with satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a USB port, auto-down power windows, tilt steering wheel, and 60/40 split rear seat. Option highlights include Infinity premium audio with HD radio, dual automatic climate control, automatic headlights, and a cooled glove box. The voice-activated Uvo eServices information and entertainment system was upgraded last year; it integrates with your smartphone via Bluetooth to offer a long list of services, including emergency crash notifications, a parking minder that will remember where you left the Sportage, vehicle diagnostics and maintenance reminders, Pandora internet radio, and personalized Google maps points of interest. Behind the rear seats is 26.1 cubic feet of cargo space.
Standard safety features include electronic stability control, antilock brakes, and six airbags. The available rearview camera and rear parking sensors make for easier reversing. All-wheel drive models of the 2015 Sportage got a full five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA.