Kia's Sportage is still available in both front-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive for 2009, and can be powered by either a 140-horsepower, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine or a 173-horsepower, 2.7L V6. The 4-cylinder engine comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed electronically controlled "Sportmatic" transmission. The V6 is only available with a 4-speed "Sportmatic".
With the 4-cylinder engine, the Sportage has rather impressive fuel economy ratings for an SUV with an EPA estimated 18 mpg city and 23 highway.
The Sportage features a 4-wheel independent suspension for crisp handling on the road, yet long wheel travel and good ground clearance allows it to have modest off-road ability.
Inside, the 2009 Kia Sportage has space for five adults, with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat for cargo versatility. A fold-flat front passenger seat also helps with especially long loads or as a work table for the driver when parked.
With the back seat folded, the Sportage has a cargo capacity of nearly 67 cubic feet, yet with the back seat up and in place, it can still carry three sets of golf clubs, according to Kia. The rear cargo area also includes an under-floor cargo tray, tie-down anchors built into the floor, and a 2-position cargo cover. Other interior extras include a center console with a 2-stage tray, a lockable glovebox, map and cup holders for all doors and a rear-seat central armrest.
The Sportage comes in two trim levels, the LX, which comes with either the 4-cylinder or V6 engine, and the more luxuriously equipped EX, which comes with the V6. The LX includes standard roof rails, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, and an upgraded AM/FM CD sound system with Sirius satellite radio and MP3 capability, remote keyless entry and power windows and locks. The EX adds a power-tilt sliding sunroof, fog lights, dual power heated mirrors, upgraded seat fabric, optional navigation system, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and rear center armrest with dual cup holders.
Safety features lacking in the Sportage. Front seat-mounted side air bags, full-length side curtain bags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are all on the standard-feature list.
To further customize the Sportage has two available package options. The Sport package, available on LX V6 models, gives the Sportage a slightly different personality by adding 17" alloy wheels, fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift, rear cargo cover and aluminum trim. The Luxury package, available on EX models, boosts this top of the line model with heated front seats, leather seat trim, chrome inside door handles, automatic headlights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink and 6-disc in-dash CD changer with subwoofer and external amplifier.
Warranty is also a huge selling point for the Sportage. It includes roadside assistance and limited bumper-to-bumper warranty for five years or 60,000 miles, while the powertrain warranty is good for ten years or 100,000 miles.