Model: Kia Sportage

Vehicle Type: Crossover

History/Description: Selection and value culminate in the latest generation Kia Sportage, which launched for model-year 2011 on our shores with two or four-wheel drive, four-cylinder power, and numerous grade levels and option packages to suit a variety of needs and tastes.

A compelling blend of reasonable pricing and generous feature content attracted many shoppers to Kia showrooms for a test drive, with good all-around dynamics, a confident driving position and plenty of flexibility helping to seal the deal.

Depending on the year and model selected, feature content included climate controlled seats, Bluetooth, and a full suite of power accessories. A back-up camera system, Kia’s award-winning voice-activated UVO infotainment system with advanced multimedia compatibility, navigation, a panoramic sunroof, HID lighting, a heated steering wheel, push-button start and an Infinity audio system could also be specified.

Look for folding rear seats, a generous cargo area, and plenty of at-hand storage to round out the package. Cross-shopping test drives in the used market should include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Dodge Journey and Mazda CX-5.

Engines/Trim: At launch, Sportage offered Kia’s new 2.4L four-cylinder engine, direct injected for 172 hp. From 2012, a 2.0L four with turbocharger and direct injection was offered, packing 260 hp. Most used models will offer a six-speed automatic transmission, though a six-speed manual was available with basic, front-drive units.

Notably, Sportage’s Dynamax AWD system was co-developed by Kia Motors Corporation and Magna International, was advanced and fast-acting and even engaged four-wheel traction pre-emptively when the vehicle came to rest, and sent plenty of power to the rear axle when needed, quickly. The system also allowed drivers to dial in a ‘lock’ mode below about 40 km/h, dialing up traction ahead of use in extra slippery situations.

Trim grade nomenclature saw Sportage, Sportage LX, Sportage EX and Sportage SX filling the model range from basic to loaded, with the turbocharged engine available solely on top-grade models.

Note that newer used Sportage models will be covered by Kia’s five year or 100,000 kilometer powertrain warranty.

What Owners Like: Owners commonly praise a smooth ride, refined powertrains, heaps of power with the turbocharged engine, and the Sportage’s upscale looks. The powerful up-level stereo and media inputs are highly appreciated, as are the Sportage’s largely car-like handling and maneuverability characteristics. Many owners report that the Sportage feels safe and secure in inclement weather, too.

What Owners Dislike: Some owners complain of disappointing fuel economy from the Sportage Turbo, cheap interior plastics and trim, and higher-than-expected levels of road noise at speed.

Here’s a look some owner reviews.

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