For 2007, the Kia Sportage receives only minor changes: there is an upgraded stereo with auxiliary input jack, and a USB insert for playing MP3s from a memory stick.

Twinned with the Hyundai Tucson, the Sportage is available with a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic, or a 2.7-litre V6 that comes only with the autobox. An all-wheel drive system can be added to both engines (but only with the manual transmission on the 2.0-litre); it’s standard equipment on the LX-V6 Luxury package. The system runs almost 100 per cent front-wheel until the wheels start to slip; it will then send up to 50 per cent torque to the rear wheels. The driver can also lock the system into 50/50, via a button on the dash, at speeds up to 40 km/h.

The Sportage starts with the 2.0-litre LX, which includes 16-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, stability control, traction control, side and curtain airbags, power mirrors, power windows, power locks, CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, centre console with armrest, tilt wheel, rear cargo lamp, eight-way manual driver’s seat adjustment, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, and 60/40 folding rear seat.

The LX Convenience adds air conditioning, privacy glass, heated mirrors, fog lamps, roof rails, cruise control, keyless remote, and metal grain interior accents.

The LX-V6 has the features of the LX Convenience, along with body side cladding and fender flares.

The LX-V6 Luxury adds heated leather seats, power sunroof, leather-wrapped wheel and cargo net.

The Kia Sportage handles more like a car than a truck; it’s fairly nimble, tracks well, and is comfortable both for short jaunts and longer trips. The six-cylinder is the better choice of the two, as the four-cylinder can be underpowered, especially when you need to pass someone on a hill, and the five-speed manual is rubbery. All models feature a well-done interior. The rear seats are roomy enough for adult passengers, and they fold into a flat floor with just the tug of a handle, without flipping seat cushions or removing head restraints, for quick and easy conversion to cargo capacity.

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