A compact sport-ute with a techie edge.
Few buyers may remember it, but the Sportage was the model that got Kia of the ground in America. The current version, however, has nothing to do with that sad little SUV. The current Sportage is a sibling under the skin to the Hyundai Tucson, but the Kia has a unique look inside and out. The interior is as stylish as the exterior, but the sometimes cheap-looking materials remind you that this vehicle is aimed at budget-conscious buyers. Kia likes to play up the high-tech aspects of the Sportage. Among them is Uvo, an audio system that allows for voice control of the radio, CD player, or connected iPod. A navigation system and a backup camera are optional. In the world of small crossovers, the Sportage stands out, thanks to well-controlled body roll, nicely tuned electric power steering, and good brake feel. The ride quality, however, leaves something to be desired. You can really add some sport to the Sportage by opting for the SX, which has a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that puts out 256 hp. Despite its extra oomph, the turbo gets the same highway mileage as the base four-cylinder. Unfortunately, the six-speed manual transmission in the base Sportage is not offered with the turbo. The SX does, however, have a stiffer suspension with variable-rate dampers.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
new for 2013
All Sportages have sun-visor extenders and power-folding exterior mirrors as standard equipment. There’s a new “Kia” badge on the hood, liftgate, and steering wheel of all models. LED accent lights are standard on EX and LX models, and SX models get LED daytime running lights. A Blue Interior Package, only available on the EX, includes dark blue cloth seats and interior accents and a black headliner.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; active front headrests; ABS; and stability and traction control are standard.
Stylish and sporty
Turbocharged engine available
Inexpensive interior materials
Base Price Range: $19,800–$29,200
DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: Base, LX, EX, SX
BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger
ENGINES: 2.0L turbo I-4, 256 hp, 254 lb-ft
2.4L I-4, 176 hp, 168 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 100.0 cu ft
CAPACITIES: Towing 2000 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 26.1/54.6 cu ft