2008 KIA Sportage Review

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2008 KIA Sportage EX CRDi Review & Road Test

Functional, fun and financially feasible.

Model Tested:

  • 2008 KIA Sportage EX CRDi 2.0 litre turbo diesel six speed manual - $32,490 (RRP)
  • Metallic Paint $300; Limited Pack (Side & Curtain Airbags, Leather, Sunroof) $3000

Economic Engine, Decent Ride Quality, Improved Handling, Price
No Auto Available, Looks Beginning to Date, Lacks Brand Appeal

CarAdvice Rating:

- by Matt Brogan

The Sportage EX CRDi now not only comes with standard ESP but also gains a sweet common rail turbo diesel engine which, thankfully, has helped curb the mid-sized Korean SUV's drinking problem. Along with a few minor aesthetic refinements, most noticeably colour coded bumpers, the most current Sportage has managed, if only just, to stave off old age a little while longer.

Whilst on the outside the Sportage's looks are far from inspiring, they are passable and practical, offering good all round vision from a cabin that has a reasonably attractive decor, albeit with extensive use of dark grey plastic. The seating is generously proportioned and comfortable (driver has eight way adjustment) and all controls and switch gear, despite being rather basic, are functional and fall to hand readily.

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Body roll feels substantially more well restrained with twin tube gas shockers under the MacPherson strut front and dual link rear suspension hinting at some revision since last we met. The ride still feels compliant, though the heavier engine block noticeable impacts negatively on both understeer characteristics and steering feedback. Even during low speed manouveres, tight cornering (think car park) can induce a return action through the wheel which proves needlessly strong, even snappy in certain situations.

Braking is adequate considering the mass of the vehicle and offers reasonable pedal feedback and decent fade resistance. The ABS is well calibrated, with a slightly delayed threshold for off road use and overall did the job with no nasty surprises, something a few other low-end SUVs could take a lesson from.

Cabin storage, as in all Kias, is a well considered offering with an abundance of cup holders, door pockets, seat back pockets, large lockable glove box, sunglasses holder, and deep console bin providing more than enough hidey holes for all your knick knacks and goodies. The centre console seems to have lost its neat twin fold adjustable lid but this doesn't detract too much from the overall appeal.

On the all important safety front, the Sportage is a quiet achiever with ABS, dual front airbags, EBD, ESP, side impact reinforcement, three child seat anchor points and Traction Control giving the Sportage a five star NHTSA rating when tested with side airbags fitted. Although Sportage CRDi has not yet been assessed by ANCAP, its cousin the Hyudai Tucson, managed four stars.

Whilst on the whole the Sportage is a good package, there are a few points that bring down the overall tone of the vehicle, which when you consider the price is to be expected. They're not major quibbles, in fact they're trivial if anything, but to me at least attention to detail is a must.

As I said, in the scheme of things they're not big issues, but they do add up in the mind of the buyer and if Kia is to move ahead in the same way cousin Hyundai has, these small issues will need to be addressed.

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:


  • Engine: 1991cc SOHC Four Cylinder 16 Valve
  • Induction: Common Rail Injection & Turbo
  • Power: 103kW@4000rpm
  • Torque: 304Nm@1800rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Brakes: Four-wheel discs with ABS & EBD
  • Driven Wheels: Part-time 4WD with lock mode
  • 0-100: 12.0 seconds
  • Top Speed: 176km/h
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.1 litres/100km (Combined)
  • Safety: ESP, TCS, & dual front airbags
  • Service Interval: 6 month/10,000km
  • Spare Wheel: Full size alloy
  • Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
  • Towing Capacity: 1600kg (Braked)
  • Warranty: 5 year/unlimited kilometres
  • Weight: 1727kg (Tare)
  • Wheels: 16" Alloys