This week we’re looking at the 2011 Kia Sportage EX AWD crossover / SUV. Here is yet another Korean made SUV that has been earning its place in the US market. I recommended a Kia Sorento for my daughter Jen and it has served her well in toting the kids to and fro with school and sports. Price is what moved her to a Korean car and I haven’t been sorry I pushed her in that direction. Simply put she got more for her money. Secondly and equally important the economy has dictated much of what we do to save money.
Guess what… every time you buy a foreign made car or a US car that is made in a foreign country you are “OUTSOURCING”. Dirty word. Not at all. You do it because you must. You support other economies because they don’t have unions. We do in America and they have outlived their usefulness in ‘today’s world’.
As to this Kia – The price is right and the product has stood the test of time now for long enough now to give us confidence that it is here to stay.
Handling & Performance:
These newer SUVs are lower to the ground and although they are not as well suited to off road use they are better on the highways. But this Sportage sports AWD – All Wheel Drive – which gives it sure footing in all road conditions. A short turning radius and smaller size makes it agile and well suited to zipping around town and easier when it comes to parking. The 176 horse engine is perfect for this size car with average to good fuel consumption.
The Sportage is new for 2011 with a modern, clean design that features a high beltline, sweeping angles and more pronounced wheel flares than its predecessor. The second-generation Sportage debuted as a 2005 model with a sportier and more elegant design than its more rugged predecessor and more interior room due to a longer wheelbase and wider stance. The Sportage was first introduced in 1995 and in 1997 Sportage adopted the automobile industry’s first knee airbag to augment its high level of standard equipment. For the 1999 model year, Kia added a 2-door Sportage convertible with a removable soft-top over the rear seat area with a fixed hardtop over the front seat area.
Fit and Finish:
As expected Korea has come to play and are slightly more price competitive. But it is slight and the competition is fierce with only two US products – Chevrolet and Jeep.
Unless you intend to do a lot of off roading this Kia fits in well with the competition. Jeep remains the only option here in class for off road use. I had done a lot of off road stuff with Jeep and remain impressed with the performance in that venue. The liberty therefore would have an edge over the rest of the field for me.
Conveniences and comfort:
I like most of us, love gadgets and gizmos. But they are not only fun they are functional and help us to enjoy the driving experience. One such new feature on the scene these days is ‘voice activated’ control. You know how many Nav systems require you are stopped to input a destination? Well enter ‘voice activation’ and wa-la you just tell it where you want to go and it will make that happen at full speed. This is really cool. Then if you want to change the radio station you can do the same thing. You push a button on the steering wheel and the system asks for a command and you tell it what you want to do.
Kia Sportage $18-25,000, Chevrolet Equinox $23-30,000, Ford Escape $21-27,000, Honda CR-V $22-30,000, Hyundai Tucson $19-26,000, Jeep Liberty $23-28,000, Mazda Tribute $20-29,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $21-29,000, Nissan JUKE $19-25,000, Nissan Rogue $21-26,000, Subaru Forester $20-28,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19-27,000, Toyota RAV4 $22-28,000.
Competitive, great around town car, good fuel economy.
2.4 liter inline 4 cylinder 176 hp engine, 6-speed auto trans, power steering, power 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, all wheel drive, front and side curtain airbags, traction control, stability control, up & downhill brake assist, rollover protection system, tire pressure monitoring, LATCH system (child safety), dual zone climate control, power windows and locks, power mirrors, keyless entry, audio with CD/MP3/ 6 speakers, SIRIUS satellite radio, USB & aux audio inputs, power front seats with lumbar, 60/40 split folding rear seats, cooling glove box, cruise control with trip computer, tilt leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise & Bluetooth controls, roof rails, fog lights, auto headlights and privacy and solar glass.
$3.03/ Gal avg. November 2, 2010
for more information.
21 City and 28 Highway MPG
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