INTRO: While the Kia Sportage compact crossover returns with the same motion evoking lines of its 2011 redesign, for 2012 the Sportage adds more gusto to its lineup with a new turbocharged sport model. Trims for the 5-passenger Sportage are Base, LX, EX and the range-topping SX.
FEATURES: EX and SX trims come standard with the Microsoft powered UVO infotainment system that includes an LCD touch screen, HD Radio and voice control of music and cell phone functions. For a premium feel, leather trimmed seats are optional on the EX and standard on the SX.
PERFORMANCE: The SX also gets a responsive 260 horsepower turbocharged 2-liter powerplant. All other trims get a 176 horsepower 2.4-liter. The base Sportage sends power to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. Up-rated trims get a 6-speed automatic sending power to either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
FUEL ECONOMY: Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
PRICING/WARRANTY: Pricing for the 2012 Kia Sportage starts at around $18,500. Expect to spend over $28,000 for the turbocharged SX with all-wheel drive. The Sportage is backed by a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
CLOSING: A host of available features plus two fuel-efficient powerplant choices give the 2012 Kia Sportage a leg up in the compact crossover marketplace.