2011 Kia Sportage Review - "Best in Class" - VIDEO ENHANCED
See Also: Kia Buyers Guide
See Also: E-Carmony: Is The 2011 Kia Sportage Your Perfect Match?
Senior Editor-at Large
The Auto Channel
Kia, long under the shadow of Hyundai, its bigger corporate cousin, is emerging as a unique automotive personality with outstanding, good looking vehicles. A few years ago Kia retained noted German automotive designer, Peter Schreyer as its design chief. Schreyer is famous for his previous work at Volkswagen and Audi, but is now eclipsing has former associates with designs for the new 2011 Sportage.
During an automotive design seminar I attended earlier this year in Seoul, Schreyer in comments about his new work for Kia said, “The exterior design is what catches a person’s interest, eye and attention, but the engineering and technology are of equal importance and must work together in a harmonious manner.”
If the new Sportage, unveiled to automotive media types recently in San Francisco and arriving in dealers stores now, is a prototype of Schreyer’s vision for the future, Kia is starting to cast its own big shadow! This is the best of the new compact CUVs (crossover utility vehicles) combining design, engineering and technology into one effective, efficient and economical vehicle. Highlights include:
Masculine Design – this is not a wimpy looking vehicle, if anything it makes its presence known from every angle with looks of a compact, powerful linebacker who knows what he’s all about: power, strength and balance. In car-designer-speak, they do have a lexicon of their own, the shoulder line moving the length visually connects the headlamps to the taillights as a signature look. On the road test South of San Fran the vehicle turned heads. The Sportage is certainly distinctive stylistically, not a derivative me too design.
Engineering & Techno-speak – a 2.4 liter, four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing provides 176 hp and better fuel economy than the previous model Sportage V6 powerplant. There’s an optional 2.0 four-cylinder engine with turbo that delivers V6 power and a 100 more hp. Fuel ratings are an acceptable 21 city/28 hwy mpg. It’s available in all-wheel or front wheel drive models with either a six speed automatic with Sportmatic® clutchless shifting or six speed stick. I drove both and liked the automatic in-town (San Francisco traffic can be disconcerting) and the stick on the highway. Making a decision I would suggest the automatic for most drivers.
The LX model comes standard with:
- Air conditioning
- Power windows
- 12-volt power outlets in the front and cargo areas
- Power side mirrors with integrated led indicators
- Tilt-adjustable steering wheel
- Keyless entry with panic alarm
- Multi-way adjustable front seats.
- 60/40 split-folding rear seats
- LED string of running lights evocative of Audi’s running lights
The EX model has upgraded features including:
- Leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
- Telescopic steering wheel
- Illuminated vanity mirrors
- Automatic folding rear seats
- Dual-zone temperature control air-conditioner with ionized filtration
- Illuminated and cooled glove box
- Power driver’s seat with lumbar support
Standard Features in both LX and EX
- AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system
- SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities w/3 months complimentary service.
- USB audio input jacks for connecting with MP3 players
- Bluetooth® wireless technology connectivity
- Steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls for compatible devices
- UVO powered by Microsoft®, an advanced hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system (standard on EX models) that enables drivers and passengers to answer and place phone calls, receive and respond to SMS text messages, access music from a variety of media sources and create custom music experiences. HD Radio® also will be made available to enhance listening enjoyment.
Naturally there are a number of optional upgrades for both the LX and EX models that will add to personal enjoyment and driving pleasure. More info at Kia Buyers Guide.
Bottom Line – affordable pricing is a hallmark of Kia as are its guarantees.
- Base model -- $18,295
- LX model -- $20,295
- EX model - $23,295
Warranty -- very inclusive program including
Without a shadow of a doubt, the new 2011 Kia Sportage represents quality at a very fair price.
Click PLAY to watch Kia Sportage in San Francisco video