KIA SPORTAGE

The Sportage — Kia’s longest-running nameplate — is turning heads with a successful and beautiful exterior and interior makeover. The 2011 Sportage is sleek, modern and bears the desirable proportions sought after in today’s popular Crossover Utility Vehicle market.
The 2011 Sportage starts at $18,295 and is offered in base, LX and EX trims and comes competitively well equipped with standard features, such as satellite radio capability, MP3 player and Bluetooth connectivity; power doors, windows, mirrors; plus air conditioning.
On the outside of the all-new Sportage, sweeping and fluid lines with pronounced wheel wells and a high beltline bring Kia’s compact CUV into the modern age of contemporary styling. The 2011 Sportage is wider, lower and longer than its predecessor.
Two engines are offered in Kia’s popular Sportage. For 2011 the all-new crossover, upon its initial launch, is offered with a powerful and very efficient four-cylinder engine. Later in the 2011 model year, a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that produces V-6 quality horsepower (270 horses) will be available. I drove the 2.4-liter linked to a six-speed automatic in the Sportage EX test vehicle that had a starting price of $23,295. It’s a quiet engine, more powerful than the one it replaces, and of course, fuel efficient due to the six gears.
Kia’s new I4 engine produces 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 168 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The EPA fuel economy ratings on the front-wheel-drive Sportage are placed at 22 miles per gallon city and 31 mpg highway.
In addition to the standard FWD, the new 2011 Sportage is available in a unique Dynamax all-wheel-drive configuration that was co-developed by Kia and Magna International. This AWD system operates 100 percent of the time in front-wheel-drive under normal road conditions. When wheel slippage occurs the Dynamax AWD system makes adjustments to stabilize the ride. The driver also has the option to select “Lock Mode” in this particular AWD model when driving in rain, snow or when taking the Sportage on off-road trails.
Even though the Sportage is built as a unibody crossover utility vehicle, it offers a trucky, SUV-like ride. This is not to say it’s noisy, because it’s not. The Sportage is a quiet-riding vehicle, and engineers at Kia point out that they’ve worked aggressively at noise-vibration-harshness reduction measures. But, this vehicle — more than any other contemporary crossover on the market I’ve been in — maintains its original genetic stuff from “back in the day” when Sportage was first introduced of feeling like a truck. There are buyers who will enjoy the firmness delivered in the Kia Sportage.
For the crossover’s suspension system the 2011 Sportage features an all-new multi-link rear setup with new dampers and coil springs mounted separately. MacPherson struts are used in the front.
Options on the tester were premium-convenience feature-driven that pushed the price up to $28,490. Among the extras was a Leather and Premium Package for $3,000 that included a panoramic sunroof in the first and second rows, allowing all five passengers to enjoy ambient air and light; push button start with smart key entry; heated/cooled driver’s seat; and heated sideview mirrors.
A long list of standard safety features are on the 2011 Sportage, such as six airbags, active head restraints, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. An audible back-up warning sensor is available, and so too is a rearview back-up camera. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters

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