This week we’re looking at the 2015 Kia Sportage SX AWD SUV. Kia as you likely know is owned by Hyundai and I believe the similarity of the two brands speaks well of the Hyundai Kia Group of today.
A little history helps to see the bonds between the two South Korean car companies.
Hyundai was established in 1946, and it quickly became the largest corporation in South Korea. Kia was founded two years earlier in 1944, producing bicycles before turning to motorcycles and trucks and later manufacturing cars. In the early 1980s, Ford partnered with Kia, and in 1986 the companies produced the car Pride together.
Merger: In 1988, Kia filed for bankruptcy as a result of the financial crisis in Asia. Ford sold the company to Hyundai. Kia quickly became solvent after the merger as a subsidiary of Hyundai.
To me these brands are today what the Japanese brands were for the past 4 decades. Surely they will begin to take over as one of the top dogs in auto making very soon. One just has to experience the management style of the Korean’s to know this is true. As you may recall I mentioned my touring a Hyundai plant recently and was so impressed with their people. Their treatment of workers and their gentle cultural style generally are endearing qualities. I also toured Japanese manufacturing in the early 1960’s and said then of the Japanese what I have found to be true today of the Korean’s. Impressive.
General Information: It is assembled in Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 1%, Korea 91%; Engine and transmission – Korea; Class – Small SUV; Cars from Kia:– Cadenza, Forte, Forte Koup, Forte5, K900, Optima, Rio, Rio 5-door, Sedona, Sorento, Soul, Soul EV and Sportage.
Handling & Performance:
SUV’s are still very popular and I particularly like this size for its ease of handling and it still seats five comfortably. The Turbo charged engine is peppy. No complaints in performance as it will sprint from 0-60 in just about 6.5 seconds. Front wheel drive is standard but my test model had the optional AWD.
Most all SUV’s look like sisters to me anymore. But I mean that in a nice way. They are simply all attractive with clean aerodynamic lines.
Fit and Finish:
Very good and the Koreans continue to impress me.
Fairly priced and competitive.
Conveniences and comfort:
Most of the important features are standard. If anything is missing that I truly like it would be the blind spot warning and adaptive cruise control.
As I said in the overview this is a great car company with great management and likely much like most early car companies. They are also humble and hard working from my observations. Whether this continues for these Korean car companies over time is anyone’s guess. Richard always says a good reputation is easier kept than repaired. We see that with the Big 3 of the mid-20th Century in the US. They were powerful and dominated the industry but management began to turn over often and leaders had little incentive to manage for the long term. They had “golden parachute plans” that virtually assured they would simply leave wealthy when they mismanaged the business. As it is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
If the Korean’s are anything like the Japanese they will manage for the long term. I found their early philosophy was to consider employees to be a long term responsibility and thus a long term relationship. I hope they both continue to be thoughtful management groups. One major difference in the two philosophies of the US and Korean cultures is reflective of Korean’s passionate hatred for Unions. We are beginning to see more commentary in the US of the fact Unions have outlived their usefulness and are now simply destructive of the industries they purport to help. Kinda like our growing and powerful governments that tend to lose sight of values that made them great. Kudo’s to the Korean’s.
My point in making this comment is that when you buy any product it is important to choose the company that is of good character. Happy employees are more likely to do a good job and you get better value. It simply feels good to do business with and support good people.
Kia Sportage $22-30,000, Nissan cube $17-19,000, Nissan JUKE $19-28,000, Nissan Rogue Select $19-22,000, Dodge Journey$21,000, Subaru XV Crosstrek $22-29,000, Subaru Forester $22-33,000.
Nice handling and ride, good safety features, and fair fuel economy.
2.0 liter turbo gas injected 260 hp 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto transmission, all wheel drive, 18” alloy wheels, front side and full length side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc braking system, traction control, stability control, hill start assist control, rollover protection system, tire pressure monitor, dual zone climate control, power windows and locks, infinity audio system with Sirius satellite radio, USB and auxilaary input jacks, bluetooth phone and streaming audio, heated front seats, power driver seat with lumbar support, push button start with smart key, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for bluetooth audio and cruise, tilt and telescoppic steering column, rear camera display and back up warning system, power folding heated mirrors with turn signals.
$3.98/ Gal avg. May 28, 2015
for more information.
19 City and 25 Highway MPG
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