2011 Kia Sportage SX
2011 Kia Sportage SX. Click image to enlarge

Related links
Kia Sportage on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Kia Canada

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2011 Kia Sportage

Miami, Florida – When I first drove a 2011 Kia Sportage, I was impressed with the fact that our EX Luxury AWD tester was loaded with more upscale features than many much higher priced luxury brand competitors.

In fact, even the lowest priced two-wheel drive Kia Sportage, starting at $21,995, includes a very high level of standard equipment: alloy wheels, fog lights, Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats and windshield wiper deicer, as well as air conditioning, power locks and windows, remote keyless entry, cruise control, heated mirrors and automatic headlights.

And base Sportage models come with the same engine as top-of-the-line Sportage EX Luxury AWD ($33,145) models: a 176 hp, 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine.

2011 Kia Sportage SX
2011 Kia Sportage SX
2011 Kia Sportage SX. Click image to enlarge

Kia is not the only manufacturer to eschew six-cylinder power for four-cylinder economy. The Honda CRV has been that way since it was introduced. Kia’s 2.4-litre is a decent engine with more than enough power for every day duties – accelerating off freeway ramps, passing on two-lane roads and to get going in the stop and go of city traffic.

But for some folks – maybe more than just some folks – enough power just isn’t enough. So halfway through the model year, the 2011 Sportage is available with a new more powerful engine option. It’s not a V6, but it has as much power as just about any V6 in this class and burns regular gasoline on a par with most fours. It’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with direct injection, a twin scroll turbocharger and an intercooler. This little beast puts out 256 hp and 264 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,850 – 3,000 r.p.m.

Now when you press the accelerator in a Sportage, there is not just “more than enough” power under your foot, there is a whole lot of excitement too.

The 2.0-litre Turbo GDI is what Kia calls a “win/win/win” solution. With Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), highly pressurized fuel is injected directly into the cylinder (instead of intake tract) where a more complete combustion occurs. The twin scroll turbocharger enhances power by forcing more air into the engine than would normally be possible. This turbo design also reduces turbo spool-up lag time and achieves a desirable early and flat torque curve. The intercooler cools the air for a denser, oxygen rich intake charge which results in even more power. Direct injection, turbocharging and intercooling create more power, better fuel efficiency and lower emissions – win/win/win.

Connect with Autos.ca