2011 Kia Sportage SX Gets Turbo Engine


If you liked the sporty looks of the Kia Sportage but weren’t impressed with the just-average power of the base model, Kia has corrected that problem.

The 2011 Sportage SX will go on sale later this month with a 256-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 264 pounds-feet of torque. All this power still returns 27 mpg highway. City mileage is rated at 22 mpg. Kia has confirmed it will have the same six-speed automatic found in the Optima sedan equipped with the same power plant. The sedan also has more power at 274 hp, but it’s slightly heavier.

Kia has also adjusted the suspension to actually be firmer than the current non-SX trim levels of the Sportage. We’ve tested those versions over hundreds of miles and found the suspension to be extremely firm as-is, and it’s one of the vehicle’s few drawbacks.

Read our review of the standard four-cylinder 2011 Kia Sportage

Pricing will start at $25,795 for front-wheel drive and $27,295 for all-wheel drive. That's a $2,500 bump in price from the top of the line EX trim.

Hopefully for Kia, the allure of so much power in a compact SUV will draw enthusiast drivers who can overlook the firm ride in exchange for the performance. There truly isn’t a competitor for it out there with this much space. The closest performance crossover on the market in this price range is the Mini Cooper S Countryman, which is priced at $25,250 for front-wheel drive and $26,950 for all-wheel drive. The Acura RDX has a turbo engine, too, and starts just over $30,000, but it isn’t made for performance aficionados.

The SX will also have some unique features, including its own specific style of 18-inch alloy wheels, unique grille, dual exhaust and a revised gauge cluster. There will also be some SX-specific interior color combinations, including orange and blue.

More photos are below.

By David Thomas | March 4, 2011 | Comments (15)
Tags: Kia, Kia Sportage



I like this car in pictures but when I see it in person I dislike it due to the "chopped" look of the greenhouse and the large C-pillar.

Amuro Ray

HELLO 1990's!

Shops should retrain staff on turbo replacement soon, with such small engine giving out so much hp/torque on such a heavy vehicle (that's sthg the 90's vehicles don't have - weight!).


Very kewl SUV in photos and in person, and far more attractive than the Tucson.


The maximum boost pressure is reduced versus the Optima turbo for the 'SUV' duty cycle.
Weight is a non-issue here, curb weight is probably only 3400 pounds, marginally more than the Optima.
The KIA Sportage is one of the lighter CUV.


1. Front bumper still looks idiotic

2. Rav-4 V6 is not good enough for this thing???

3. For same money one can get 2.7L Highlander with same MPG ratings and that is a nice vehicle with comfort.


I actually love the design, but it was only after seeing it in person that I realized how low (and small) this car really is.

Still, if I were in the market, I'd definitely give it a look.


Does anybody know if the turbo will require premium fuel?


So many questions, and they are all why? Why put a turbo engine in an SUV? Why does a Kia Sportage START at nearly $26K? Why is there no manual transmission option for something which is at least enthusiast-oriented? Why would an enthusiast even consider an SUV, a Kia, an automatic, or the absolute worst of everything, a Kia SUV equipped with an automatic? So many questions, so few answers.


The Toyota RAV4 Sport V6 is definitely a competitor to this. The 4x4 version starts around $27,000 MSRP and probably has at least as much space as a Sportage.

Amuro Ray

@ George,

"Weight is a non-issue here"

I beg to differ. For a 2000cc engine to push a 3000+ vehicle (not to mention the added weight of a 4WD system), this means that turbo needs to be engaged most of the time - for acceleration, to maintain speed, etc. Unless they are using high quality ceramic turbo like that in the GT-R...


this is a all-roader I want to love, but the bang bang ride and arbitrary options packages isn't going to win my heart :|


I can say the regular 2.4 doesn't have too much trouble getting the car moving. And it is a pretty agile vehicle. But don't expect for a second that you will get anywhere near 22 mpg city in this or the standard 2.4.


Not big on those SX wheels. Like the EX Luxury wheel better.


Love my SX turbo. Getting roughly 25 mpg highway and this thing moves when you want it to!


Been driving my SX for a month now. So far I've gotten 27mpg on the highway and 19 around town...but that's me enjoying the turbo occasionally. Time will tell if this was a good choice but I'm loving it so far.
Btw, I installed the chrome mesh grille and it really improved the looks IMO.

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