KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

Most buyers look to a compact crossover SUV for a roomy interior, added ground clearance, and good cargo handling for a reasonable price. But the 2015 Kia Sportage does something else: It adds a big dose of extra power, style and features. Unfortunately, "blah" fuel economy, a harsh ride and tight cargo space diminish the impact the sporty Sportage.

You'll Like The 2015 Kia Sportage If...

If you’re looking for the tall ride height, all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction and flexible cargo carrying capacity of a compact SUV, but you demand extra style, power and creature comforts, the 2015 Kia Sportage deserves a good long look.

You May Not Like The 2015 Kia Sportage If...

While the Kia Sportage is definitely stylish, it’s not particularly thrifty at the fuel pump, and is handily beaten by nearly all of its major competitors. The Sportage is also not as roomy as its competition, especially when it comes to cargo, and the ride quality can be downright harsh.

What's New

The 2015 Kia Sportage is essentially the same as last year’s model, which received numerous visual and mechanical enhancements.

Interior Features

Generally speaking, we like the 2015 Kia Sportage interior. The comfortable front seats and simple controls make it easy to drive around town. Rear passengers will like the roomy rear seats, but if you’re looking to haul cargo, the modest 54.6-cubic-foot cargo hold you have with those seats folded may not cut it as well as a Honda CR-V, which offers over 70 cubic feet of cargo space. That said, we like the anti-bacterial cloth on EX models, which helps eliminate odors and stains. While we’re fans of the panoramic sunroof, we’d prefer the sunshades were power operated, not manual.

Exterior Features

Kia calls its signature grille design a "tiger nose," although we’re not sure we see the resemblance. Regardless, swept-back headlights flank the distinctive grille, fitting with the sharp lines and narrow side glass of the Sportage. The Sportage’s high beltline and big wheel-and-tire combo make it look a bit like a hopped-up VW GTI. Don’t be fooled by the Sportage’s sporty appearance, however, but its available all-wheel drive and nearly seven inches of ground clearance make it a capable compact SUV.

Driving Impressions

The Kia Sportage comes in two flavors: competitive and aggressive. The standard 2.4-liter engine delivers 182 horsepower, and it’s easily competitive with the standard engines you’ll find in a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, or many other compact SUVs. What you won’t find is anything quite like the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and its 260 horsepower, which turns the Sportage into the class jock. However, both Sportage models come with an unexpectedly stiff suspension, which unfortunately doesn’t pay off in handling. Instead, there’s a bouncy ride, but too much body roll, essentially the worst of both worlds. We also found the Sportage’s high beltline and narrow windows somewhat limit 360-degree visibility, which is the exact opposite of what most SUV buyers want in this kind of vehicle. However, the steering feel is pretty good, and the brakes definitely stop the Sportage quickly.

Pricing Notes

The 2015 Kia Sportage compact SUV starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a bit more than $22,500. The additional features of the EX model start at about $26,000, while the turbocharged SX is right under the $29,000 mark. Note that all-wheel drive adds $1,500 to the price of any Sportage. A fully loaded SX will run you about $34,000 when you add the Luxury Package and all-wheel drive, but we think a better bet is the mid-level EX, which lacks the turbo’s power, but gets better fuel economy. Be sure to check KBB’s Fair Purchase Price before you buy to see what others are paying for the Kia Sportage in your area. Residuals won’t be quite as good as the Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester, but probably on par with the Chevy Equinox and Toyota RAV4, and better than the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Compass and VW Tiguan.

Notable Equipment

Base Kia Sportage LX models come with a 6-speaker audio system that includes Bluetooth, USB and SiriusXM satellite radio, and steering-wheel mounted buttons for audio, phone and cruise control. An Active Eco system helps drivers save fuel, and rear-seat passengers get their own air conditioning duct. Also included is a tilt/telescoping steering column and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Sportage EX and SX models add Kia’s UVO infotainment system, Infinity premium audio system with a subwoofer, back-up warning system, rearview camera, a cooling glovebox and automatic climate control. The SX gets exclusive high-intensity headlights, plus the turbocharged engine and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Notable Options

The most important stand-alone option on the Kia Sportage is all-wheel drive, which adds $1,500 to the price of any model. You can enhance the LX with UVO eServices and the Popular package which bundles a backup camera and keyless entry. The EX Premium package adds the panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, leather trim, and voice-navigation with SiriusXM traffic. SX buyers have the option of choosing the same Luxury package.

Favorite Features

PANORAMIC SUNROOFIf you like fresh air and the feel of the sun on your face, the big panoramic sunroof available on the Kia Sportage will deliver plenty of both.2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINEPower hungry buyers will love the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder on the 2015 Sportage. Offered exclusively on the SX trim, its 260 horsepower is the most in its compact SUV class.

Under the Hood

The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder under the hood of LX and EX Sportage SUVs may be overshadowed by its turbocharged cousin, but with advanced fuel injection and competitive power and torque, it’s no slouch. But, yeah, we have to admit we like the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the SX. Who wouldn’t? With 260 horsepower delivered smoothly through its 6-speed automatic transmission, it gives you the power of a V6 engine. Like the turbo, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is connected to a 6-speed automatic which can be shifted manually. While both engines are competitive in power, they lag the field in fuel economy.2.4-liter inline-4182 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/26 mpg (all-wheel drive)2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-3,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/24 mpg (all-wheel drive)

Editors' Notes

Over the years, the Kia Sportage has evolved from a rudimentary 4×4 SUV into a stylish and powerful compact crossover SUV. The 2015 Kia Sportage plays in a tough crowd against established competitors like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, not to mention Nissan’s excellent new Rogue, all of which offer more interior space. As a counterpunch, the Sportage emphasizes the first five letters of its name, with a firm suspension and a powerful available turbocharged engine. While the smaller interior and cargo space, not to mention the stiff suspension, may turn off some buyers, the undeniably sporty Sportage has carved out a niche for itself against its competitors. Of course, the standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty may have something to do with that.

Road Test Video Reviews

2015 Kia Sportage Owner Reviews

4.35
130 Reviews
51% 35% 14% 2 star 0% 1%
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High quality vehicle without the high end price tag.

2015 Kia Sportage

I am the first titled owner of the vehicle, it was a test drive model. So basically, it was new. I have loved this vehicle since the test drive. This is my first Kia vehicle. It rides like a much higher end vehicle, it is like floating on a cloud. You don't feel bumps in the road and it handles beautifully. All of the equipment for the driver can be fully adjusted. The seat has an adjustable lumbar support, goes up, down, back and forth. The back of the seat adjusts also. It also has a heating and cooling system so the leather is never hot and sticky or freezing cold. The passenger seat has this also. The steering wheel is telescopic. Of course the rest of the seating in the vehicle is superb to. It has Bluetooth, GPS, stereo, CD, and many other features I have not even learned to use yet. The back seat has it is own ac vent and adjustment. I get great gas mileage even in the city. I get about 25 mpg on the highway. This is my first SUV to. I love having the extra space in the rear of the vehicle instead of a trunk. It is so much nicer not to have to bend over to load and unload. Mechanically, I have had no problems with the vehicle. I haven't had anything done except oil changes and tire rotations in the mechanical department. But I did get rear ended last year and the other car was going about 40 mph. The rear of my vehicle did sustain damages but not as bad as I would have imagined a that speed. It actually came through it quite well. And I was alright, it definitely protected me. So, to wrap this up, I would recommend the Kia Sportage to anyone looking for a comfortable, dependable, midsize SUV. I love mine and if I ever need to replace it, I would get a newer model of the same.

- Kimberly B

Love my Kia! Very reliable vehicle.

2015 Kia Sportage LX

My 2015 Kia Sportage has been an extremely reliable vehicle. We have taken it all over the state of Florida, even on up to the Carolinas. My husband and I use it as our primary travel vehicle because it gets such great gas mileage. I have never had any problems with the vehicle that weren't related to normal wear and tear and I keep up with regular maintenance. I have had the vehicle for five years and I'm just now needing to replace things like the battery, tires and breaks. I find that the vehicle is very spacious; I have tons of room in the driver seat and the back seat (yes, I have had to ride in the back), and my husband has been able to sit in the back comfortably as well. As I mentioned, we use the vehicle for travel and are able to pack a week's worth of luggage for three people, including a pack-n-play, in the trunk. My favorite feature is the hands-free options/buttons on the steering wheel. The Bluetooth is of good quality and easy to use. All in all, it has been a great vehicle and I don't plan on getting rid of it until I absolutely have to.

- Amanda L

2015 Kia Sportage: Great Small Family SUV

2015 Kia Sportage

My Sportage is very comfortable, reliable and easy to maneuver. It drives like a car but has the trunk and leg room of an SUV. It has rear air vents, which is a must with children. The ac did have to be replaced in my third year of owning it but it was still under warranty so it was covered. The gas mileage could be a little better but it is still much better than some other SUVs out there. The blind spot can be hindering but if you're aware of it, it's overcomeable. Overall, it's a great smaller family car. It's taken us on several road trips and we've been very comfortable in it. The Bluetooth works great! The radio buttons on the steering wheel is wonderful too.

- Meredith E

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