By on July 8, 2011

Though Hyundai owns a controlling stake in and shares platforms with Kia, the two Korean car companies continue to operate more independently than GM’s divisions did back in their heydays. So the decision between related products often comes down to something beyond price. Take, for example, the Kia Sportage. Why buy it instead of the related Hyundai Tucson?

Sure, styling is subjective, but some designs are clearly worse than others owing to unbalanced proportions or unresolved transitions. Not this time. The Sportage and Tucson share similar athletic proportions and neither exterior has an obvious flaw. The two design teams managed to craft shapes different from every competitor, and from each other. No exterior panels are shared, even the cutlines are different. With the Hyundai, there’s a complex combination of many angles. The Kia’s exterior is much cleaner, achieving a distinctive look through muscular forms that’s further enhanced by the SX’s 18-inch alloy wheels. The decision between them is highly subjective.

Inside, the Sportage’s design is again cleaner, to the point where it looks a bit cheap in the lower trim levels. Step up to the SX, though, and subtle detail changes together with perforated black leather seat surfaces make the interior seem more-or-less worthy of a price in the low 30s. The center stack controls are much easier to reach and to operate than those in the Tucson. One minor oddity: the temperature control for the driver’s seat, though it includes both heating and cooling rather than just heating, is half the size of the one for the passenger’s seat.

Forward visibility is decent in both SUVs, as it had better be since this is a key reason for the popularity of the segment. Still, the raked windshield forces a deep instrument panel and the A-pillars are on the thick side. Rearward visibility is fairly limited in the Tucson and even worse in the Sportage, thanks to unusually wide C-pillars. I wouldn’t be surprised if rearward visibility is the major reason people reject the Sportage after seriously considering it. The Sportage’s front seats don’t provide much lateral support, but are otherwise comfortable.

Given the Kia’s exterior dimensions, the rear seat is roomier and more comfortable than it has any right to be. Cargo space isn’t as generous, with 55 cubic feet compared to the 73 in a Toyota RAV4, and the front passenger seat doesn’t fold to further extend the load floor (it did with the previous-generation Sportage).

Then there’s the big difference compared to the Hyundai Tucson: Kia offers not only the corporate 176-horsepower 2.4-liter four, but also the direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-liter first offered in the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, detuned a bit to peak at 260 horsepower (vs. 274). Standard in the Sportage SX, the boosted four feels strong, especially in the midrange, but sounds like nothing special and doesn’t stir the driver’s soul. The 269-horsepower V6 available since the 2006 model year in the Toyota RAV4 likely remains the segment’s performance champ. As in the Sonata, the turbo four seems tuned and tweaked to serve as a V6-substitute for mainstream buyers rather than for enthusiasts. One definite plus: unlike many turbos, it’s tuned to run on regular unleaded. Its big advantage over the 2.4 is the effortless, nearly lag-free acceleration with fewer revs in typical around-town driving. There’s only one transmission option in the SX: a homegrown manually-shiftable six-speed automatic. It doesn’t lug the 2.0T like it often does the 2.4, perhaps because the turbocharged engine produces far more torque at lower rpm (with a peak of 269 foot-pounds at 1,850). You can get the turbocharged engine with front-wheel-drive, but given this torque output all-wheel-drive is the better way to go.

Four-cylinder turbos are expected to increasingly replace V6s because they tend to be more fuel-efficient. In this case, the benefits are mixed. Based on the EPA ratings, the Kia 2.0T matches the 2.4 and outpoints the Toyota RAV4’s V6 in the city (21 vs. 19 miles-per-gallon), but doesn’t do quite as well on the highway (25 vs. 28 vs. 26). Proving that a four-cylinder turbo can actually get much worse fuel economy than a V6, Mazda’s CX-7 manages only 17 city and 21 highway while kicking out 16 fewer horsepower.

Even in SX trim, the Sportage’s suspension isn’t as taut as that in the Tucson, which was designed primarily for the European market. Still, the Sportage’s chassis feels solid and composed, with more steering feedback than you’ll get from the tragically numb system in the Tucson. The ride is generally smooth and quiet. There’s some jiggle over tar strips and the like, but this is typical of the segment.

Kia Sportage SX AWD pricing starts at $27,990, of which $2,500 goes for the turbocharged engine and a few additional minor features. A Premium Package (panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition, heated seats, rear obstacle detection, auto-dimming mirror with Homelink, cargo cover) adds $2,500. Leather with a cooled driver seat adds another $500, bringing the total for the tested vehicle to $30,990. And this is without the available $1,500 nav system. Yes, we have reached the point where a compact Korean SUV can cost over $30,000—they’re not just for cheapskates anymore. A similarly-equipped Toyota RAV4 Limited lists for only $449 more, a much smaller bump than in the past. Adjusting for feature differences using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool adds about $1,000 to the Kia’s advantage. Not factored in: the Kia looks and feels like a more expensive vehicle than the Toyota.

The related Hyundai Tucson is better in some ways (handling, rearward visibility), but not so good in others (steering feel, ride quality, ergonomics). But the biggest difference is that, for undivulged reasons, Hyundai doesn’t offer the turbocharged engine in its compact SUV. So if you want 260 horsepower with a minimal fuel economy hit, your choice is obviously the Kia. There was a time when a turbocharged engine signified a driver’s car. Well, even with a torquey boosted four and a “sport suspension,” the Kia Sportage SX isn’t a poor man’s Audi Q5. What it is: a more stylish, better-finished, slightly more economical alternative to the Toyota RAV4 V6.

Summit Place Kia of Waterford, MI, provided the tested vehicle. They can be reached at (248) 682-6002.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online provider of car reliability and price comparison information.

 

 

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75 Comments on “Review: 2011 Kia Sportage SX...”


  • avatar
    MikeAR

    I usually don’t like any CUV but this one looks good. It would be good to see one in real life to see if it is as good as the pictures here.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I think it looks just as good in person. As others have noted, however, visibility is very poor to the rear (for no good reason, as far as I can tell), and is not great overall either. A fine looking vehicle, though, I’ll definitely agree with that.

    • 0 avatar
      ZekeToronto

      Agreed, it does look as good in person. I wouldn’t buy a cute ute on a bet–probably my least favorite market segment–but if I was forced to, or asked for a recommendation, this would be it. It’s literally the only vehicle in its class that I’d park in my driveway (and not hide behind the garage).

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        The cute ute is forced on anybody who requires a rear hatch larger than a compact in the U.S. market and doesn’t want to go European or drive a Tahoe or Escalade.

        Even the Europeans are getting out of the wagon market (Volvo, BMW) in the U.S.

        It is connected with CAFE standards, a CUV counts as a truck and can offset the sale of full-size pickups. A station wagon is a car by CAFE standards and doesn’t offset the behemoths in MPG.

        My next vehicle could be an Audi A4 Avant by default, even though a Fusion or Accord wagon would be far more my taste. A sedan and an SUV may be more likely.

      • 0 avatar
        300zx_guy

        Isn’t it great that the US gov’t, in an attempt to make us buy cars with better fuel economy, has come up with a scheme that pushes us into SUVs and CUVs instead of more efficient wagons? And that despite 20 years of evidence that the rules that classify these pseudo-trucks as trucks have caused manufacturers to NOT offer US customers the more efficient wagon alternatives in order to meet their CAFE target for trucks, the gov’t does nothing to change the rules, which means average MPG for all vehicles sold is lower than it should because of the higher proportion of “trucks” sold?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        To be accurate, wagons are being slowly displaced in Europe by MPVs as people learn to love the advantages of a tall roof, butcrossovers are selling over there as well, and in greater numbers.

        This makes sense. People like ease of egress and ingress no matter where they come from.

    • 0 avatar
      Pie

      IMHO, the Sportage looks better in person than it does in pictures. That is especially true of the SX.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This really is a sharp car, but at least in my area the Soul and Rondo both outsell it handily, according to my local dealer: about as much passenger room (more in the Rondo, less in the Soul), easier access, better fuel economy, easier to drive, both less expensive.

    The crossover-ishness (high floor, bling rims, high beltline) really take it’s toll on functionality. And price.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      they’ve stopped making the Rondo

      • 0 avatar
        srogers

        No they haven’t.
        They may have stopped selling them in the US, but they are still selling in Canada. Since Canada is such a small market, I assume that they’re selling elsewhere too.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        What @srogers said. The Rondo is still sold in Canada, and is very, very popular, as is the Mazda5. In the US, both are very, very popular…with rental agencies.

        It’s a testament to how well it sells here that Kia has seen fit to sell it despite it’s being dropped in the US.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    That rear window is ridiculously small. Is a rearview camera available?

    This reminds me of a friends complaint about his new Outback, poor rear visablility. This is a problem that my 2006 Legacy Wagon doesn’t have in the least.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    The LED day time running lamps make it stand out. It’s a good looking vehicle in person. When I saw it, I thought it was a poor man’s audi.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’m glad I hate SUV/CUV’s. Every one I ride in including our CR-V makes me happy my daily driver is either my Impala or our MX5.

    Reading this doesn’t change my aversion one bit. The only thing I will day is that Kias seem to have the overall design edge as far as clean lines go. Although this example speaks “Mazda5″ from the outset due to the C pillar styling, they are a cut above Hyundai.

    It appears more and more that the entire auto industry is moving toward a single design theme: Black interior, silver-painted accents, lots of hard plastic and carpeting that is nearly impossible to vacuum clean and nooks and crannies that a dust rag or vacuum cannot ever reach without dismantling or removing the seats! Don’t get me started on black, silver or the color one could only describe as “tan”.

    Apparently, vehicles of this ilk do appeal to many, and I don’t have an issue with that at all, that’s why we have choices. For those who are looking for such a vehicle, go for it! They do have their place, that’s for sure. Have fun keeping it clean.

    • 0 avatar
      evan

      So true! This type of vehicle is so absurd and compromised, its impossible to summarize the afronts to common sense in less than about 20 pages, but I’m happy we still have so many vehicular choices in the 21st century.

      As an aside, I notice the ‘review’ didn’t even attempt to consider any offroad ability of this minivan in drag… Again, I see we have a free pass for another supposed SUV on this apsect of their ‘utility’.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Don’t forget “needlessly sgressive” and “pointless blindspots”.

  • avatar
    carve

    It looks good, but a RAV4 V6 offers 50% more cargo space (seats down), has better visibility, better highway mpg, has a proven engine, and will hold its value better.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Still can’t cotton to the idea of buying a car that stands for “Killed In Action.”

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      That’s ridiculous. “Kay Aye A” is much different from “Kee-Uh”. Nobody interchanges the pronunciations.

      I guess this means you’ll be buying a “smart”, and not a “Dodge”.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        I’ll be honest, when I bought a Kia bicycle to commute back and forth to college in 1980, I thought it was K I A. It wasn’t a very good bicycle, fwiw, but it got me to class on time.

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      Being of Greek descent, when I first saw the KIA logo, I read K I L.. That’s the phonetic pronunciation of Kappa Iota Lambda.. I thought it odd but what the hell do I know..

  • avatar
    philadlj

    While the first word that comes to mind whenever I see one is “cuteasaurus”, I still believe it is, to date, the most successful Schreyer-designed Kia. None of the Optima’s awkward, fussy details infest its confident, athletic lines.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Michael, 39% isn’t actually a controlling stake. Major influence, yes, and probably a majority at a shareholders’ meeting (unless someone brings a lot of proxies), but it’s still a minority.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      When Ford owned 33% of Mazda, that was enough to qualify as controlling stake. The law might be similar in Korea.

    • 0 avatar

      Whatever the percentage, it’s a controlling interest as defined by Korean law.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @Michael, do you have a reference for that? I’d like to read up on this. Hyundai originally owned over 50% but the percentage has gone down substantially. Understanding Korean legislation might explain why they did that. (Normally without a majority ownership you don’t get to consolidate sales or production results.)

  • avatar
    bryanska

    We have the 2010 Tucson, and the other day I parked next to the new Sportage on purpose.

    The Sportage is a few inches shorter than the Tucson, and has even smaller windows. The side view above is not exaggerated. The windows are truly tiny. I do give the Sportage a leg up on overall styling. The Tucson only looks good in a few rich colors like silver or champagne, and is otherwise offered in horrible flat tones like royal blue and milky gray.

    I must give the Tucson’s interior a wide edge over the Sportage. The Tucson’s interior is two-tone in all colors but “coffin black”. You can get black, grey or a rich dark brown. Seats can be ordered two-tone as well on the midlevel package. The dash is swoopy (and radio controls hard to reach) but very premium looking.

    The review is correct on the Tucson’s driving dynamics. Most new Tucson drivers complain of the awful ride & noise, and according to the owner forums it’s due to the Kumho Solus KL21 tires. So new tires on the Tucson go a long way toward acceptability. But the steering is pretty numb. I wish this were changeable via firmware.

    I am curious: can you get the Sportage with a roof rack? The Tucson is predrilled for a hitch, too, so it’s a real utility vehicle.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    This looks like to me a Veranza with a different grill. IMO Hyundai/Kia’s styling efforts of late have been much sharper than this but I guess if it works for Toyota and is priced less w/ better warranty it will sell well.

  • avatar
    JJ

    I don’t agree about the Tucson not looking ungainly. If you look at a Tucson from the side the sheetmetal looks weird, like it’s a minivan disguised as a CUV (the difference is sometimes arbitrary anyway but you know what I mean).

    The Sportage OTOH looks quite well IMO. KIA made a smart move hiring Shreyer to give their cars a more distinctive look.

    From what I can tell the new Sportage is a lot more popular here in the Netherlands than the Tucson. It’s odd that the Hyundai drives sharper but has less steering feel and vice versa for the Sportage. A bit more cooperation between KIA and Hyundai might be useful on that point.

  • avatar
    stuki

    If one wants a vehicle to look sporty, isn’t the first order of the day to lower it, particularly it’s center of gravity?

    And if chooses not to do that, it is because one wants to increase utility according to some metric, like ground clearance, head room and cargo space?

    Trying to make a “sporty” vehicle by putting “styling accents” on a UPS van just strikes me as utterly futile.

    But I guess I’m just biased, as I could totally get behind an imaginary stretched MX5 shooting brake, as well as the no longer imaginary Panamera.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      If I wanted a car that looked “sporty” I’d go buy a sports car, the last thing I’d buy would be an overstyled SUV.

      If I wanted a practical but sporty car I’d buy a turbo’d 80′s Chrysler.

  • avatar

    We’ve been shopping the 2011 Sportage against the 2011 Subaru Outback. I really like the Sportage. My wife prefers the Outback to replace her 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2WD. We are still a month or so away from doing serious shopping – I want her to drive both, so she can compare the 6-speed against the CVT, and compare the LX AWD power/weight ratio against the power of the 2.5 in the Subaru.

    We really need a true AWD system in order to take the snowy hills to our place in the Sierras through the winter, but I also want good fuel economy, since we drive 2 hours to get there. From what I’m reading and hearing, the CR-V and RAV4 won’t transfer enough traction to the rear wheels before traction control kicks in on the front axle. Dynamax allows you to equally split torque to both axles up to 25 mph, and it only adds 175 lbs in weight.

    Michael, I realize this wasn’t the time of year to test AWD, but can you confirm the Dynamax capabilities at all? I don’t think the Tucson has the Dynamax system, either.

    The Sportage does have limited rear views, but a cheap option package on the LX includes a rear sensor or the more expensive package with nav includes a rear camera.

    • 0 avatar

      I wasn’t able to test the AWD system in the snow. Or the stability control system. When he tested the regular Sportage Ronnie reported that the stability control system cut in so early and so aggressively on snow that it did more harm than good. I noticed the same thing with the Optima sedan. So this is likely a problem with the Sportage SX as well.

  • avatar
    dcdriver

    I’m not a fan of the new swoopy design theme of these new CUV’s. It really compromises visibility and real life cargo room (no matter what it says on paper) never mind the fact that they just don’t look good IMO. I wish some manufacturer would buck this trend and make a CUV similar to the pre-2005 Pathfinder (I know the Pathfinder is not a CUV, but you get the idea) or previous gen CRV. I think this design trend started with the popularity (among women mostly) of the Lexus RX which paved the way for the Nissan Maurano and Ford Edge, then the current CRV, then Venza, then Terrain/Equinox/SRX and now the Koreans and pretty much every lux brand CUV have the same type of swoopy shape. Even the Grand Cherokee and Explorer are now swoopy.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      The Terrain isn’t very swoopy (GM did a good job of distinguishing it from the Equinox).

      Also, Ford still makes the boxy Escape, and it sells quite well despite its age.

      There are always the Kia Soul, Scion xB, and Nissan Cube, which can serve as “CUVs” for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      Yeah, ‘swoopy’ is definitely in these days. I do like some swoopy vehicles (Infinity EX35, Crosstour, Juke–and some others that many people find ugly), but I still prefer CUVs with a boxier look overall (Forester, Escape, Flex, Liberty, and so on including the Soul and XB).

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        Mechanically this cuv holds some promise for me, but as others have mentioned the styling theme seems a little excessive for what it is.I guess old geezers like myself that have been driving vehicles for years, with decent visibility and max utility,see no real purpose for something like this. Good thing somebody still builds a “sensible shoe” style of transport.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Yea I hear ya, but I dont think that look is going anywhere anytime soon. I think the only SUV even worth purchasing is a Jeep Wrangler, anything else is too luxurious! But my wife just LOVES the Lexus RX, FX35, Murano, etc, etc, any of these crossovers with the swoopy styling and luxed out interiors. And pretty much every woman we know thinks the same thing, and thats who makes the buying decision on CUVs/SUVs.

      I know its not a CUV, but there is one option though that seems to hit the right combination, and appeals to women too… The Land Rover LR4. Boxy, upright, great visibility, has real off-road chops, still good on road handling too, has every luxury item your wife could want, but its still manly. Sure, you pay for it, especially in the fuel economy, but still…

      I used to have a first-gen Discovery, back then they were pretty much a Jeep Wrangler 4-dr with a hard roof and leather seats, I always loved that thing, even though it broke down a lot. Every once in a while I consider buying another one, they practically give them away, I see circa-2003 Disco 2′s going for under $5k fairly often, and in excellent condition. They have all the visibility and squared off styling you could ever want. But then my mechanic buddy reminds me of how much money he makes off them, and I come to my senses. Someday though I am going to find one too cheap to pass up! The old Freelander was thier CUV offering, and it had similar visibility and styling qualities, along with even more atrocious reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      jerseydevil

      A CUV with actual utility is called a minivan.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    The fact that a SUV engine doesn’t “stir the soul” should be a given. Vehicles like this are mere utility, all I want is reliablity, economy and comfort. I’ll leave my soul to my Lotus Elan.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    the Kia looks and feels like a more expensive vehicle than the Toyota…

    In my opinion, this is the most important sentence within the review. When a Kia feels like a more expensive vehicle than a Toyota, you have a game changer.

    • 0 avatar
      rem83

      The last vehicle I’ve been in that felt cheaper than a new Toyota was a 2000 Contour (which, somewhat ironically was traded in on an ’08 Prius…). I think that statement is based as much on the extreme reduction in quality on modern Toyotas as it is the increase in quality of the Korean twins. My impression has been that the Equinox and Cruze still hold a bit of an edge interior-quality wise over the Tucson and Elantra. The Optima does seem nicer than the Malibu or a Fusion, though.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      +100

      In related news, freezing temperatures are reported in h3ll, and travel is not advised…

      Seriously though, I don’t see how the Japanese can compete with the Koreans (or for that matter, post bankruptcy Detroit) with their cost structure. I don’t expect that many mainstream buyers would pay a huge premium for a Toyota badge, or a VIN that starts with a “J”.

      The Germans get along fine with high costs, but they sell a premium product at a premium price. That bandwagon is pretty much full. The Japanese, for the most part, sell mainstream mass market products that compete directly with Kia, Hyundai, Ford, Dodge and Chev. In this space, a manufacturer with a cost advantage can increase sales by reducing their price, offering more car for the money, or a bit of both.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    While this is attractive for a CUV (like winning a pig beauty contest), I could care less about it. Let me know when Kia shaves 10 inches of ride height and puts bigger glass on it. Oh right, then you would have a VW GTI which I would much rather have. I just don’t get why people think something like this is “sporty” compared to a proper wagon or hatchback? Are people that obsessed with ride height?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Let me know when Kia shaves 10 inches of ride height and puts bigger glass on it.

      They did. It’s called the Rondo

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        The Ronda is no longer sold in the U.S. While I am a fan of practical wagony vehicles like the Rondo, let’s be honest, it is kinda dorky looking. I would want the sporty styling, utility, and 2.0T engine of the Sportage in a legitmately sporty package.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @Ubermensch: Agreed. The Rondo has many wonderful attributes, but it does look dorky. So is my xB1, and my attraction to practical wagonry has about run its course, I think. Could be my station in life, I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Most CUV buyers/owners I’ve come across are looking for “rugged” vs “sporty” as in “I was going to buy a Wrangler but got this KIA instead ’cause it gets better mileage.”

      These buyers have no interest in assessing true off-pavement capability or cargo capacity for that matter, they simply equate tall with rugged – no additional though typically enters the equation.

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        For the record, CUV’s and cute utes offer the SUV experience [high seat for shorter folks, better ground clearance for snow going, utility] in a smaller footprint with decent mpg. Station wagons, minivans and sedans are all lacking in one or more of those areas.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re describing the Hyundai Elantra Touring, also reviewed recently. Or, from Kia, the Forte hatchback. Though the Forte isn’t as roomy inside as the ET.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Dont get me wrong, I agree with you, and I LOVE my GTI. But occasionally I see the appeal of a CUV. I just spent 2 days driving around in one of the biggest downpours we have seen since last hurricane season. All the roads were flooded, there was mud everywhere, other vehicles drenching my car with water from puddles, cant see around the slowpokes in front of me, just terrible weather. And I couldnt help but think how much nicer it would have been driving an SUV or CUV instead, especially with AWD. There was nothing happening that my GTI couldnt handle… hell I even drove the MR2 most of a day so my wife could have the GTI. But I am a car guy, and specifically a sports car guy, I dont mind taking the bad with the good.

      Most people are not like me, or us. Most people want a car that LOOKS sporty, not that is really sporty. They also want a car thats easy to own, easy to drive, and makes them feel confident and safe, and that looks cool to thier friends. Like it or not, the general public has decided that SUVs and CUVs are cool, and minivans and station wagons are not. A CUV sits up higher, makes them feel safer, can be had with AWD, fits 5 people easier, holds stuff in the back when they need it, impresses thier freinds and looks more expensive than a Soul or Xb. Oh, and higher profile tires make it easier to park, less worries about curbs, potholes, etc.

      I wouldnt buy one for myself, but I would buy one for my wife, and use it during tropical storms and such. She would probably get one too if she wasnt so into convertibles. Maybe the Murano Cabrio is perfect for her??? :)

    • 0 avatar
      rgil627il

      off yourself please. Cretin

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “Four-cylinder turbos are expected to increasingly replace V6s because they tend to be more fuel-efficient.”

    But does the turbo require premium gas ? There’s a 5% cost differential at the pump with premium over regular which is equivalent to 1 or 2 mpg.

  • avatar

    Not a bad looking car but I still like the looks of my Murano

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Another festival of poor sight lines and bad to non existant visability. its amazing to me that the window in the roof is larger than the one in the back. I seriously wish we would get beyond this kind of styling. These vehicles are already to big, making them difficult to see out of makes them even more dangerous. The back of this one, like so many others of its ilk, looks like a refrigerator with red lights on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Tommy Boy

      ++++1

      Perhaps once enough Americans discover that it’s near-impossible to backup and/or change lanes without a “rear camera” — which is expensive to repair once it goes out of warranty (and raises insurance rates due to higher cost repairs in rear-end fender-benders — we’ll finally get past this high-beltine / small windows fad.

      Talk about function following form!

      I’m inclined to hold on to my Jeep Liberty for several years more simply because it’s becoming impossible to find a new vehicle that offers decent “situational awareness.”

  • avatar
    ixim

    $30K for a Kia? Especially one that’s far smaller inside than the admittedly homelier but cheaper RAV4/CRV? [I know, lots more content, but, still]. Like you say, Michael, its pretty subjective.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Yeah, for equivalent money, the RAV4 or CRV seem like better, safer choices.

      Now, if Kia starts offering big discounts on the Sportage, might be a different story…

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’d just like to know why the engine was downtuned. Was it to run on unleaded or will this be like the Shirocco?

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    That homegrown 6-speed transmission is also the one that’s been self-destructing in Hyundai’s crossovers…I don’t have the best faith that it’ll do any better in the sportage.

  • avatar
    TheHammer

    I think I’d prefer the Equinox. More horsepower/torque, better cruising range (by over 100 miles), more rear seat leg room, longer wheelbase, etc, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      787pilot

      Not correct – Equinox does have more 4 more horsepower but a lot less torque. Equinox 6cylinder motor makes 264hp and only 214 ft/lbs of torque. Sportage SX turboed four banger makes 260 hp and 269 ft/lbs of torque. Also Sportage has an available airconditioned drivers seat which is not even available on Equinox. In hot muggy humid conditions having cool air blowing on your balls THAT’S HUGE !

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    Dealer has no brochures for the 2012 Optima, the website for Kia has nothing at all for the 2012 model and refuses to allow a request for any brochure due to poor programming of the site. An attempt to contact Kia customer service via the website fails due to programming in the site. A call to Kia customer service results in a 10 minute wait to be answered and even they do not have a brochure. Nowhere can you find the official specs for the 2012 Kia. Some websites purport to have them, but they must be taken with a grain of kimchi.

    How can anyone have much faith in a company that fails so badly in communicating with the buying public? Do you really want to spend up to $30 large with a company that cannot manage a simple website? I have cash to buy the car, but no information. I am quickly losing faith that Kia is a car maker rather than just another throw-away appliance maker.

    Have others had this experience?


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