It's a rotting lemon in my garage
First off: Cup holders are in a very poor spot, right in front of the air conditioning vents. Middle armrest tray only stays in forward position, where I don't want it of course. I didn't realize it was so underpowered either. Window and door trim or seals are lousy, the cabin is very noisy on the highway as if the windows are open a crack.
Brakes are spongy feeling, took some getting used to.
5,000 miles: Interior electrical problems. The fan setting for the air conditioner and heat wouldn't work in the first and second settings, so I either froze in summer or melted in winter. The radio and interior lights would go out and come back on whenever they felt like it. Windshield wipers go on for no apparent reason as well.
5,000 miles: Rims become very black from brake dust, very unsightly and hard to keep up with. They start to get black after a few minutes on the road after cleaning.
5,000 miles: Check engine light will come on if you don't "click" the gas cap violently after filling up. I mean standing there in front of everyone at the gas station and obnoxiously clicking this stupid thing loudly. Dealer says the Sportage has an extra sensitive sensor that says the gas cap is loose.
9,000 miles: Battery and battery tray became severely corroded and had to be serviced. Not sure if the dealer ever checked it, I have since then switched dealers and the new one has been on top of small maintenance stuff like this when I go in for oil changes.
9,000 miles: A strap on the exhaust became loose and rattled loudly upon acceleration, this was replaced without a problem.
9,000 miles: The assembly that holds the spare tire has started to rust and continues to stain the pewter colored paint below it.
12,000 miles: This is the one that really upset me, I lost the four wheel drive during a snow storm when I needed it the most. Dealer had it for a day and replaced the hubs. Afterwords I asked what caused such a premature failure he simply stated without emotion, "Poor design." and walked away.
15,000 miles: The whole truck has already started to creak and rattle as if it had 100,000 miles. It's starting to look it too with the cheap paint job. I have all sorts of scratched and nicks, no matter how careful I am with parking and washing, ect.
23,000: Two days ago, Connecticut was hit with our first snow storm of this year. I went to engage the four wheel drive, and I have nothing! Without it I have a $21,000 bobsled. No traction at all. We are expecting 12" of snow tonight and tomorrow and I'm driving my front wheel drive 98 Dodge Stratus instead because I feel I would fare better in that.
Most importantly what is wrong with this SUV, I do not feel safe anymore driving it. If the four wheel drive clonks out on me two winters in a row and it's only three years old, who's to say a wheel won't fall off at 65mph?
I blame myself for not researching more on the Sportage, but I cannot stress enough how unsafe and cheaply made this SUV is. I bought it at $21,000 and owe maybe $9,000. Trade in value is disgusting at $4,000. This purchase is by far the biggest mistake I've ever made. After I get the four wheel drive replaced AGAIN, it's trade off time no matter the price. Looking at Jeeps or maybe a Ford Escape.
I took great care of my Sportage, it's pampered in a heated garage every night and was washed every couple of weeks and waxed twice a year. I kept the interior spotless and did all the daily maintenace I could on my own. I never beat on it and only drove it to work, it took me a year to put the first 8,000 miles on it.
I stopped asking myself if it was me that was causing all these malfunctions, as you should too if you own one.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 5th December, 2003