Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage was a bold crossover between a compact and an SUV, and debuted in 1993. So far, Kia produced three different generations of the vehicle, with a slight hiatus between the first and second generation. The Kia Sportage is still produced today.

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About the Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage has a checkered past. The first generation of the vehicle performed poorly in power and comfort tests. The frame on body style meant clunky performance at best. In comparison to other models on the market, it lags sorely behind.

The second generation of the Sportage faired slightly better. It was bigger on the inside but the design of the new unibody was lackluster and uninteresting.

The newest generation of the Sportage is a true standout though, sporting some of the finest crossover technology available on the market. It is roomier, luxurious, and performs well mechanically.

Kia Sportage Features

The 2012 Sportage is a true improvement on previous models. Starting at $18,500, this inexpensive vehicle has a lot to offer. Four different trim levels are available on the new Sportage: the Base, LX, EX, and SX versions.

The Base has a fairly standard exterior with 16-inch alloy wheels, body color exterior door handles, chrome front grille, and power mirrors. Inside the vehicle you have Sirius radio standard, USB and auxiliary jacks, Bluetooth and steering wheel mounted controls. The seats are cloth, which is nothing special, but a 60/40 split back seat is standard.

The LX has 17-inch tires and LED turn signals in the side mirrors added.

The EX version adds 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior handles, auto light control, LED daytime running lights, fog lamps, rear spoiler, and roof rails standard. Power windows become available on this model, one of the few standards that should be available on the lower models as well. Dual climate control is also standard.

The SX has a glossy, black chrome grille, and dual exhaust as a standard amenity.

A four-cylinder engine with 176 hp powers all the models except the SX, which gets a 260 hp boost. The Base model gets a six-speed manual transmission while all other models get an electronically controlled six-speed tranny.

All vehicles are well-equipped with safety features including dual front airbags, dual seat mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, rear 3-point seatbelts, four-wheel disc brakes, and four wheel anti-lock brakes.

Kia Sportage Evolution

The first Kia Sportage models were introduced in 1993. These were boxy models available as a five-door wagon or a two-door soft-top convertible. It was almost jeep-like in design but did not have the same power; the first models had a 2.0-liter FE DOHC inline-four banger with 128 hp, which was not very powerful at all. A 2.0-liter diesel was also available, this engine having a weak 82 hp. The first generation failed to sell, most likely because of the yawn-inducing mechanics under the hood.

The second generation came after a two-year hiatus due to Kia’s indifference towards the product. This model was better in some ways, but a big disappointment in others. A 2.0-liter straight diesel in the U.K. and a 2.6-liter petrol meant a bit more power, but this was swallowed up by the increased size of the vehicle. A facelift of the vehicle including new trim and better mechanics was introduced in 2008 in most parts of the world, with a second facelift offered in the U.K. in 2009. The 2009 facelift was named most reliable vehicle by Consumer Reports. It was also the second best selling year for the vehicle.

The third generation was released in 2010 with big improvements. The 2.0-liter CRDi 136 lb-ft of torque cranks out 140 horsepower, a big leap from the previous models. Engines of1.6-liter up to 2.4-liter are available. The third generation model, along with improving the mechanics improved safety as well. The Kia Sportage received the Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for all crash tests performed.

Although early models of the vehicle proved a bust for the Kia company due to lackluster performance and unattractive design, the third generation Sportage was a major boon for the company. Improved engine performance, sleek body design, and luxury features galore make this inexpensive vehicle one to consider. Drivers who choose a used Sportage should make sure to pick a model that is older. There are too many comfort and mechanical issues in the first and second generations to make it a worthwhile choice, especially since better models were being produced by the competition during that period.

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