2012 Kia Sportage EX FWD (942)


This week we’re looking at the 2012 Kia Sportage EX Front Wheel Drive mid size Crossover SUV. It has been around since 1995 and just gets better every year. Today the Korean automaker has earned its reputation for an impressive product in both design and technology. Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have enjoyed great popularity, but Kia is looming large as a competitor.


The value of the cars we buy necessarily depend on the value of the companies that build them. I continue to be impressed with Kia as I have been with Hyundai. Both have captured the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of many in the US and around the world. Both car lines are produced for the global market and they are both owned by Hyundai.

Like so many global companies the lines get totally blurred with revolving door ownership positions changing as the need and opportunity arises. BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce one company?; Fiat owning Alfa, Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM and Jeep (20% last I knew); how about GM that the people of America have a big stake in, owning brands like Cadillac, Chevy, GMC, Buick, Daewoo (I think that one has ceased doing business), Opel, Vauxhall and Holden (in Australia). Toyota has, of course, Lexus, Toyota and Scion but also has its fingers in Daihatsu, Hino Motors and Fuji Industries who owns Subaru and a piece of Izuzu.

Just to think, not so long ago GM, Ford and Chrysler were not only the Big 3 they were the only car makers in the world worth mentioning as far as volume of cars manufactured and sold around the world is concerned.  Europe, of course, produce a few brands.

US car makers have lost their edge and position of dominance in the world of car makers, but they still have the capability to produce arguably the best cars ever. The problem is they are less competitive because of outrageous labor cost and poor management in the recent past. The real leaders over the years, in the industry, like Lee Iococca are no longer. They simply have “Golden Parachutes” and cave to the union at every turn, perform miserably and then take huge severance packages and leave the company worse than they found it.

Will we get the lead back as preeminent car makers? Doubtful unless we shake the bondage of Union Organizers. Frontline headline states “ Obama pick for NLRB was a top lawyer for union tainted by mob ties, history of corruption”. The story goes on the state, “Embezzlement, wire fraud and Bribery … just scratching the surface of crimes committed by the union ranks.”

These are the thugs who continue their stronghold on industry and should be gotten rid of. They cripple our businesses and kill job creation.

They are the enemy in today’s world where union organizing leaches suck the life blood out of workers and the companies who employ them. They are destroying the automotive industry that so many of us love. Think about it.

General Information:

It is assembled in Korea . Classification is Crossover / SUV. Cars from Kia:  Forte, Forte Koup, Optima, Optima Hybrid, Rio, Rio5, Sedona, Sorento, Soul and Sportage.

Handling & Performance:

If you are in need of speed a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine and all wheel drive option are available. I feel the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine’s 176 horses is all most of us would ever need. It gets up to speed easily and has good passing power. Sportage isn’t meant as an off-roader and the fact is that only 5% of owners will never get off road anyway. Sportage’s AWD system is meant more for on-road security than off-road prowess.


Rakish lines that spell confidence. It shares its basic design with its sister company’s Hyundai Tucson. Two great companies so sharing design makes total sense.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


Competitive pricing in such company as Toyota and Honda… not that others in this segment are slouches. Kia is a top pick for me and I thought enough of the brand to buy one for my daughter, and she still loves it after three years, while other relationships, unfortunately, are less stable for most of us.

Conveniences and comfort:

Kia’s UVO (for ‘your voice’ control) is a convenient standard feature in the EX model. Fairly simple voice-commands, but you will have to learn the core commands out of 144. Once learned, they will prevent drivers from looking away from the road to make a call or change a song. These are the features of the future that are available today.

I also appreciate the Hill-start assist feature that holds the brake on momentarily when you are ready to proceed.

Consumer Recommendation:

Try it, you’ll like it. I promise. And owners rate it a 9.7 overall, with styling and quality rated 10. Kia is on the move.

 Recognized Competition:

Kia Sportage $24,000, Honda Crosstour $28,000, Honda Element $21,000, Mazda CX5 $21,000, Dodge Journey $19,000, Honda CR-V $22,000, Jeep Wrangler $22,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $22,000, Ford Escape $22,000, Subaru Forester $21,000, Jeep Compass $19,000, Jeep Patriot $16,000, Nissan JUKE $20,000, Nissan Rogue $22,000, Toyota RAV4 $23,000, Hyundai Tucson $19,000, Jeep Liberty $23,000, GMC Terrain $26,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $20,000, Chevrolet Equinox   $24,000.

 Good News:

Great companies produce great cars. Lots of upward mobility to a turbo and AWD. Very good fuel economy and aggressively priced with other in class.

Bad News:

None noted.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 176 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto transmission, power steering, 18” Alloy Wheels, front, side and side curtain airbags, traction control, stability control, hill assist control, rollover protection system, tire pressure monitor, climate control, power windows and locks, Microsoft UVO, audio with CD/MP3, Bluetooth iPhone and streaming audio, SIRIUS satellite radio, USB and Aux input jacks, adjustable power driver’s seat, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tilt and telescopic steering column, steering wheel controls, cooling glove box, back up warning system, fog lights and auto on/ off headlights, privacy and solar glass.

Gas Stats:

$4.39/ Gal avg. October 6, 2012


For more information.

22 City and 32 Highway MPG


MSRP $24,200.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair


Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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