The 2014 Kia Sportage will welcome gasoline direct injection to its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder base engine, adding “enhanced efficiency” to its dynamic design, as well as a bit of a power bump. Last year’s primary powerplant, without GDI technology, made 176 hp and 168 lb.-ft. of torque, while this year’s model produces 182 of the former and 177 of the latter. That will no doubt pep up the compact crossover even further, but it does remain to be seen if the change will have an impact on the EPA ratings of the 2014 Kia Sportage.
The 2013 model was rated at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined, and if those marks remain unchanged, the result would be a package that provides some of the highest power outputs in the segment with fuel-economy marks that are just off the pace set by the leading small mainstream crossovers. The 2014 Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Chevrolet Equinox, for example, all hit 26 mpg in combined driving.
This year, however, the only transmission offered in the vehicle will be a six-speed automatic, which brings us to another change to the 2014 Kia Sportage family: Last year’s starting point was a “Base” model that was stickered at just $19,000 and was the only Sportage with a manual transmission. Well, that model has been deleted, removing a nice choice for enthusiasts and likely raising the price of admission significantly. The least-expensive 2014 Kia Sportage will be the LX model, and last year that was priced at $21,200.
Prices for 2014 has yet to be released, but last year’s LX MSRP still would provide a four-figure cost advantage over the mainstreamers, since entries like the 2014 Toyota RAV4 open north of $23,000. Just remember, one of the reasons that the Sportage has a smaller MSRP than its mainstream alternatives is that it’s also smaller physically.
The 2014 Kia Sportage is 174.8 inches long, while the mainstream brands’ small crossovers range from the Escape’s 178.1 inches to the Equinox’s 187.8 (excluding the 162.4-inch Nissan Juke that’s in a class by itself).