Thanks to a fun-to-drive nature, the 2015 Kia Sportage is an entertaining alternative to other small crossover SUVs on the market.
When the Kia Sportage made its U.S. debut almost 20 years ago, it tried to take on traditional sport-utility vehicles head-to-head with its serious four-wheel-drive capability. Before long, however, Kia realized that the growing number of buyers was really looking for more than just physically smaller versions of familiar full-size SUVs. They wanted a vehicle that combines the practicality of the sport-utility body style with the more civilized ride and handling qualities of a passenger car.
The 2015 Kia Sportage goes a little beyond that, even. More than just giving you carlike abilities, it effectively backs up what its name implies by offering nimble handling and strong engines. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the SX trim level, in particular, is a standout, thanks to its 260 horsepower. You won't find much else out there that's quicker. The Sportage also gives you sleek styling, an extensive list of standard features and options and a price tag that typically undercuts the compact crossover competition.
The 2015 Sportage does have a few shortcomings, however, starting with an interior that's a little short on both passenger room and cargo space compared with some of its rivals. It's something to keep in mind if you routinely chauffeur older kids around town or load up bulky gear for weekend camping trips. The same suspension that makes the Sportage fun to drive also creates a ride quality that may be a little too firm for some folks' tastes, while both of the available engines return EPA fuel economy estimates that are just so-so.
With all that in mind, buyers looking for a small crossover with a larger interior should check out the 2015 Honda CR-V and the 2015 Toyota RAV4. There's also the Sportage's bigger brother, the Kia Sorento, to consider. If a lively on-road driving experience is important to you, the 2015 Ford Escape, 2015 Mazda CX-5 or the smaller but sportier Mini Countryman are smart picks. The mechanically related Hyundai Tucson is also worth checking out. In the final measure, the Edmunds.com "B"-rated 2015 Kia Sportage is most alluring as an alternative to these crossover mainstays. But if small and sporty are your priorities, it should work out well.