If you’re looking for a relatively young compact diesel SUV under the hood, it’s hard to find a better aftermarket offer than the several-year-old Kia Sportage. The price-performance ratio is excellent and the diesel engines are among the best in their class.
Kia Sportage 3 characteristics
The car debuted as the third generation of the Sportage in 2010 and quickly became a sales hit of the Korean manufacturer on many European markets.
This was due to the excellent ratio of the price of the car to the quality it offered. The Sportage was close to the competition and in many ways it was even better.
The quality of materials and the overall reception of the interior in richer specification are surprisingly good. Especially the models after the facelift, which was carried out in 2014.
In addition, the cabin is spacious enough for four adults to feel at ease, and the luggage compartment holds 564 liters of packages.
If you think of Korean cars as the second kind, you should definitely drive any Kia produced in the last decade, and certainly the Sportage model.
Structurally, it is a typical Asian product. It has 4-cylinder engines (the predecessor even had a V6) driving the front axle. The higher specs of the car, specifically those with 2-liter engines, also have an optional four-wheel drive.
This is the typical system with an auto-engage rear axle, the clutch reacts to slippage at the front wheels. In practice, the drive is efficient and it can handle the conditions in which this car usually drives.
The suspension is also a classic in this segment. The MacPherson strut and the multi- link rear axle represent a compromise between driving comfort and safety.
The fact is that the tuning of the chassis is one of the advantages of this car. In short, the Sportage drives well.
Kia Sportage 3 Engines
Good, provided that the right engine is selected. The range of units was not large, but certainly sufficient. 1.6 GDI gasoline engines with direct fuel injection develop 132-135 hp.
They provide sufficient performance for everyday commuting. At the same time, they surprise with a high work culture, and with the right driving technique, they can be economical. Average fuel consumption at the level of 7-8 l / 100 km is achievable.
The more powerful 2.0-liter petrol engine was available in two versions. Powered by multi-point injection, it reaches 163 HP, while the GDI with direct injection (from 2014) is not much more, i.e. 166 HP.
It is strong and dynamic, but quite fuel-consuming. It’s just that the pre-facelift version is suitable for gas, if someone prefers it.
In practice, there is no problem with LPG operation. Average fuel consumption of 2-liter engines is in the range of 9-11 l / 100 km. GDI is a bit more economical.
The range of diesels is, in our opinion, the most interesting. Why? Because when looking for a car in this year and segment, it is difficult to be sure. CRDI engine are really reliable and can be recommended with a clear conscience.
In terms of operation, the basic 1.7 CRDI engine is the best, which unfortunately develops only 115 HP and only 260 Nm.
It’s a bit too little for a fairly heavy car, but it will be great for short distances, if someone absolutely needs a diesel. It burns about 6-8 l / 100 km.
The 2.0 CRDI with 136 HP or 184 HP has better parameters. The first one already provides good performance, while the most powerful one is also the most dynamic in the entire range – acceleration to 100 km / h in 9.8 seconds. Fuel consumption? At the level of 7-8 l / 100 km.
The 2-liter engines could be equipped with four-wheel drive, as well as an automatic transmission. 4WD was standard on the 184-horsepower version. However, the 136 HP version was not combined with the automatic engine.
Which Kia Sportage 3 engine to choose?
We will focus on diesels because when it comes to gasoline engines, you can say that they are fine. We recommend the most reliable in operation 2-liter pre-facelift, which can be fitted with gas.
GDI versions are problem-free for now, so don’t be afraid of them either. However, when looking for an SUV, we usually think about diesel, and in the case of the Kia Sportage we have two refined structures. Even choosing a weaker variety can be considered good.
The 1.7 CRDI engine is a developed older 1.6 CRDI engine that powers Hyundai and Kia compact cars. Of course, it has all the technical solutions known from modern diesel units, such as Common Rail injection, a variable geometry turbocharger or a diesel particulate filter, but it does not have a dual mass wheel. While the durability of these elements is comparable to those of other manufacturers, Sportage users rarely complain about defects.
If something is causing problems, it’s mainly the DPF filter. However, it is not more common than the competition and the filter can be regenerated or replaced at a low cost.
Interestingly, the accessories for this diesel are also not very expensive, and most of the parts can be obtained outside of the Dealership, but unlike the products of the PSA Group or Volkswagen, you have to look for a little longer.
The big advantage of the 1.7-liter diesel engine in the Sportage is not only the lack of dual mass, but also the chain-based timing drive.
This one is permanent and usually has no problems stretching it. We recommend checking every 50,000. km, but its lack is not a threat.
In terms of the 2.0 CRDI engine, the important information is that the Kia Sportage 3 uses a completely different design than the previous one.
It is a brand new R-series engine introduced in 2009 that has nothing to do with the older D-series. One of the biggest differences is the timing chain drive – previously a belt was used.
Reliability is what the D and R series have in common. It is true that the engine is not ideal – the biggest problem is sensor failures – but it has no design flaws, and it is durable. On versions with a manual gearbox, the dual mass wheel wears out fairly quickly.
Unfortunately, the replacement costs from $ 490 to even $ 785, which, after adding the price of the clutch, clutch actuator and labor, gives the amount of $890-$1118 for the replacement of the set. This is one of the areas worth checking before buying a car.
Another fairly common problem is gearbox wear. Usually, only the bearings and some small parts are to be replaced, but the work associated with it is quite time-consuming and expensive.
But don’t worry – this applies only to intensively exploited cars, and usually 184hp. A good solution is to choose a car with an automatic transmission, but you have to remember that it increases fuel consumption.
What Most Common Problems in the Kia Sportage 3?
In general, the car is not an emergency. The quality of the interior and the efficiency of the equipment elements deserve a high rating. The varnish looks worse, because it is quite thin and easy to chip off.
Fortunately, perforation corrosion is alien to this model, but rusty deposits may appear. We ourselves are curious what the situation will look like in 5 years, because the car has a low market experience.
The suspension is nicely tuned, but it doesn’t impress with its durability. Usually there is a minor knocking sound from the running gear.
This also applies to the rear axle, for which not every element can be purchased outside of an authorized service station.
The control arm bushes are usually to blame, so you should think about regenerating them. You just need to find a mechanic who will select the appropriate bushings and press them into the rocker arm.
There are no major problems at the front. The MacPherson triangular wishbones are fully remanufactured, and bolt-on pins can even be replaced in the garage without removing the complete wishbone.
Operating costs, prices and availability of spare parts
The running costs are low for a simple reason – it’s a reliable car. Ironically, hardly any reports confirm this. Example? In last year’s ranking, prepared by TUV, among the 4- and 5-year-old cars, the Sportage took only 108th place out of 127.
However, one must remember about the specific nature of this report. It does not apply to costly defects, but to those that affect safety according to German standards. Thus, it is quite easy to eliminate them.
Is it worth buying a Kia Sportage 3?
In our opinion, it is not only worth it, but we even think that it is one of the best proposals on the market. Regardless of whether you choose petrol or diesel.
The most recommended versions include the trouble-free 2.0 16V engine before the facelift and the 1.7 CRDI diesel. The richer the equipment, the more pleasant the car is.
The Sportage 3 is a very well-designed, practical car that could still be sold. Actually, in no way, apart from the safety equipment, it is not inferior to the latest Kia Sportage 4, which is probably the best possible recommendation.