The 2009 Kia Sportage is a fine, light-duty commuter vehicle, but little more.
Kelley Blue Book is "not overly impressed by the responsiveness of the Kia 2009 V6; it will meet consumer expectations, but we don't believe it will exceed them." They advise that the "four-cylinder should be reserved for light duty only—no full loads, light towing and little exposure to work at high altitudes." Cars.com reports that the "Kia Sportage 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 140 horsepower, while the 2.7-liter V-6 generates 173 hp and 178 pounds-feet of torque." According to ConsumerGuide, "2009 Kia Sportage four-cylinder models are fine for light-duty commuting but lack enough power for confident highway merging and passing." They "recommend a V6 model, though they're no fireballs."
ConsumerGuide says "the automatic transmission is responsive enough with either engine, though not even the V6 has abundant passing punch." All-wheel drive is an option. Cars.com reports that "a five-speed manual gearbox is standard in the four-cylinder Kia Sportage LX, and a four-speed automatic is available," while "all V-6 models come with the automatic...automatic-transmission responses are prompt, but downshifting can be sluggish when passing."
ConsumerGuide says the 2009 Kia Sportage is "among the better-riding compact SUVs." Off-road ability draws some mixed comments, however; while Kelley Blue Book acknowledges a "smooth ride, improved handling," it notes that "the trade-off is an inability to tackle the harshest sorts of off-road terrain." Jalopnik, on the other hand, points out "off-road-worthy fish-vertebrae underpinnings...tougher than most." "On rougher pavement, the ride is well-cushioned...suspension reactions are seldom excessive, and recovery is prompt," reports Cars.com. This source adds, "maneuvering smartly and steering with a somewhat light touch, the 2009 Kia Sportage feels satisfyingly secure on rain-soaked pavement. On expressways, however, it takes some concentration to stay centered in your lane."