Kia Sportage, a Tucson from Kia? An taller version of the Elantra? All we know is that a Kia Sportage KM is one of the best entry-level SUVs on the market.

By 2004 we didn’t really have time for SUVs. We were busy watching The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, a very popular phrase among Audi A4 owners who printed “The Lord of the Rings” under the badge of the car, so that you know exactly what car they drive, what status they have and especially what education and what a culture they have, as exquisite Lord of the Rings fans

Usher was riding the wave of confessions, Mark Zuckerberg officially launches Facebook and Kanye West debuts with the “College drop-out” album. It was obvious that something had to happen in the automotive world, and Kia Sportage KM and Hyundai Tucson JM appear for the first time.

These two SUVs contributed a lot to the advent of the almost cross-over cars, paving the way for the Nissan Qashqai 2 years before its miserable arrival. These two SUVs were capable of soft off-roading, they were reliable and they were very cheap. Yes, of course, you also had the Toyota Rav4 and the Land Rover Freelander as options, but those cost so much that you said #yolo and if you added 500 pounds and 2 bottles of Sherindan’s to your budget, you could’ve bought a Touareg.

And today the Tucson and the Duster are still pulling each other by their private parts, and the Kia Sportage KM is somewhere around there, in the shadows. It’s cheap, it’s capable and it’s relatively reliable.

Kia Sportage KM side police almostcarreviews




Kia Sportage KM Engines


  • 2.0 MPI G4GC of 140 horsepower – Not too bad of a start. If you also strap an LPG installation on it it’s even going to be reasonably economical on fuel. There are cases in which this engine refuses to start and the mechanics cannot find a solution. But in general they are reliable engines. Also, make sure to replace the VVT timing chain from time to time.
  • 2.7 V6 G6BA of 179 horsepower – Hyundai warranties a minimum of 450,000,000 miles for this engine. This is if you take care of the intake flaps that break and fall into the engine, giving it a severe concussion. And if you take care to replace the timing belt on time, because a broken belt will give the engine a concussion, a blow to the testicles and a sudden death


2.0 CRDI D4EA of 113 and 140 horsepower – The 113 horsepower  one comes with a single mass flywheel and the Euro 3 emissions standard. The 140 comes with a double mass flywheel (expensive), particle filter (even more expensive) but at least it’s Euro 3 compliant. Both have issues with the camshaft sensor failing and the 140 one is much more expensive to run than the 113 horse piece of antiquity. An engine used everywhere in the Hyundai-Kia family, this is also the most popular engine on the Kia Sportage KM.


Kia Sportage KM rear almostcarreviews

Kia Sportage KM Reliability Issues

  • The manual gearbox is prone to failing, especially in combination with diesel engines. As for the automatic gearbox, pay close attention to the oil change, which must be changed every 60,000 km. With the automatic gearbox you don’t have a flywheel or clutch so that’s quite the expense avoided, but you only have 4 speeds and you also get a much worse fuel mileage. 
  • The propshaft is prone to failure and it will fail. When it fails, and it will fail, you better be awake and have money set aside.
  • Kia Sportage KM eats tires and brakes at the same speed as a student eats food from home when he returns from college for the a break.
  • Like any SUV that’s somewhat capable, it needs a lift inspection to check if the car hasn’t been hit underneath. This is if you care about the car and don’t buy it just because you found a bargain and why not??



Kia Sportage KM front almostcarreviews

Kia Sportage KM Verdict

It is not the city car that the next generation represents. Instead, it’s a great family car, which is capable of soft off-roading and which is relatively cheap to run. Although there will never be “SUV” and “cheap to run” in the same sentence, if you are serious. I personally recommend it as “my first SUV”, but don’t have as high expectations from the car as my girlfriend’s expectations when she watched Breaking Bad. “Why would I look at a bald guy who lives in a trailer and coughs every 2 frames?” and with that she asked for her money back for the Netflix account. Or like when I showed a friend an episode of Wife Swap and she said “why should I watch this show? I already know how to argue with my husband, I don’t need advice on how to do it”.

What engine do I recommend? For the Kia Sportage the market is divided between diesel and petrol. So I recommend the 2.0 petrol + LPG for the simple fact that it is cheaper in terms of parts and may also be a tad bit more economical, especially if we are talking about the models with automatic transmission. As for the diesel, the 113 horsepower one is terminally slow but it’s also way cheaper to run.