Used buyer's guide: Kia Sportage

25 Jun, 2013 11:00am Richard Dredge

Look beyond the styling and the Kia Sportage is a fine second-hand buy

Verdict

The Sportage Mk2 is from an era when Kia’s cars were improving quickly, and as a result it offers surprisingly good off-road ability, plenty of standard equipment and decent refinement. You can expect it to be dependable, too; this good-value compact 4x4 is often overlooked simply because of its uninspiring styling.Adding to the appeal is the seven-year warranty on models from 1 January 2010 – buy one of these, and you’ll still have over three years’ cover left, although there’s a 100,000-mile limit. So while the Kia is up against some tough rivals, in terms of all-round ability per pound it’s one of the best used small 4x4s on sale.

Even though fuel prices are high and drivers’ wallets under pressure, small 4x4s have never been more popular. As a result, decent second-hand compact SUVs can be costly to buy, as they retain their value so well.

But there’s an exception to every rule, and in the small 4x4 class the Kia Sportage Mk2 is it. Lacklustre looks and a dowdy image have kept prices low, even though it’s very capable at towing, off-roading and family duties. It’s no wonder owners love the Kia; they know how talented it is.

History

The Sportage Mk2 hit dealers in January 2005, initially with 2.0 or 2.7-litre V6 petrol engines. Within two months there was also a 2.0 diesel, rated at 111bhp but then raised to 138bhp in October 2007.

The 2.7 V6 and 2.0 CRDi had manual or automatic boxes, while all Sportages featured a part-time 4WD system that sent power to each corner only when needed.

From November 2007, 2.0-litre petrol and diesel versions were offered with 2WD and an auto, then in August 2008 a facelift brought a restyled nose and tail, as well as front and rear lights and extra standard equipment.

Alternatives

You’re spoiled for choice here. The Toyota RAV4, Nissan Qashqai (or bigger X-Trail) and Honda CR-V are all highly regarded and more accomplished dynamically than the Kia. They also have solid, well equipped cabins and are very reliable. Problem is, these alternatives all cost more.

This is also true of Land Rover’s even more talented Freelander. It looks more stylish and is more accomplished on and off-road, but it’s not as dependable as the Sportage.

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