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Kia Sportage (1995-2003) Buying Guide

Kia Sportage (1995-2003)
Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Kia Sportage (1995-2003)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

There are some cars that will never go down in history as all-time greats, and the Sportage is just such a vehicle. Bland in every way, it's hardly a landmark car - but it does redeem itself by offering reliability and a reasonable level of towing ability. However, refinement isn't great and it's dynamically tedious too. But with Sportages now worth little more than yesterday's newspapers, buy a good one and you can at least enjoy some top-notch reliability on a budget.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Reliability
Elevated seating position
Lack of diesels
Lack of refinement
Lack of pace
Extremely dull dynamics
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Key Dates 
7/95The Sportage arrives, in 2.0 petrol form only, with a choice of SLX, GLX or GLX SE trims.
6/96The Executive and Executive SE join the range.
6/99The old trim levels are replaced by S, SX and GSX derivatives.
7/00A four-speed automatic transmission is now offered.
Checklist 
  • With only a 2.0-litre petrol engine, the biggest problem is the Sportage's thirst.
  • Spare parts costs can be very high; if you're looking at a Sportage that needs any work, first investigate how much it'll cost to put right.
  • Front wheel bearings can be fragile, so listen for rumbling and chattering as you turn corners at speed; the noise will come from the outside of the bend as the weight is transferred to the duff bearing.
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