Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo: One Fast And Sporty Compact Crossover


Highlights: The five-passenger SX model is the latest addition the Sportage family, offering a sport-tuned suspension which features firmer shocks and struts.

And the Kia Sportage has one of the best resale values in its class. In fact, the resale value improved by over 20 points from the previous-generation Sportage.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $30,990 (Base price of SX starts at $26,490)

SX’s Major Standard Features: 18-inch alloy wheels; a distinctive grille; a dual exhaust system; fog lights; LED daytime running lights; six-speed automatic transmission; hill-start system, which keeps the vehicle from rolling back on a hill; rear-center armrest with cupholders; automatic a/c with separate driver and passenger control; remote keyless entry; tilt and telescopic steering wheel; cloth seats; and a power driver’s seat


SX’s Standard Audio System: 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 with a satellite system

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

SX’s Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/256-hp

SX’s Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/27-hwy

What’s New: This is the second Kia to receive the brand’s all-new 4-cylinder turbo, which spews out just as much power as most six-cylinder vehicles. This super-peppy engine is only available in the brand’s sportier SX model.

Pros: As we noted in a previous review, the roomy current-generation Sportage has an upscale design, which has a Audiesque influence, since the lead designer is a former transplant from the German automaker.

Added to that, the overall fit-and-finish of the Sportage is significantly improved from the previous generation. And it doesn’t hurt that the top-of-the-line SX model offers buyers two exclusive interior choices and colors: orange or blue. With the unconventional color choices, the vehicles will be outfitted in orange (or blue) stitching on the steering wheel, center console, and seats coupled with orange (or blue) accents on the door panels and air vents.

Moreover, just like in the other Sportage models, this one offers some must-have premium options: a panoramic sunroof, a rear view camera, a nav system, a ventilated driver’s seat and heated front seats too.

Furthermore, the SX is available in a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration. This means that this sporty compact crossover is equipped for all weather conditions.

Cons: Just think: Who would expect to pay $30,000 for a Kia? Now while the vehicle is significantly improved, the layout of the instrument panel is still surrounded by too much plastic. If the folks from Kia would spend just a little more money on the interior, the upscale, sporty exterior design could compliment the sporty exterior.

Also the narrow rear-window limits the driver’s rear vision due to the vehicle’s design. Moreover, some may find that the ride is a little too firm due to the sport-tuned suspension system.


The Verdict: The Kias of today or not the Kias past. The design, the quality and the resale value has immensely improved from the previous-generation Kia. Even the power under the hood is quicker. The SX model actually has 80 more horses under the hood than the typical Sportage. So although one may experience complete sticker shock with this vehicle surpassing the $30,000 mark, upon a closer examination, one will notice all of the features that justify the price, especially in a comparison test.

Also we can't forget that Kia has one of the best new-vehicle warranties in this segment.

Sportage SX’s Competition: Ford Edge, GMC Terrain, Mazda CX-7, Nissan Murano and VW Tiguan

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