Oh my! How the Kia Sportage Crossover Utility vehicle (CUV) has changed over the years! Has as evolved from a rather frumpy looking bargain CUV to a sleek, expensive looking high quality vehicle with many redeeming qualities. The latest version redesigned in 2011 has to be the best looking yet and for 2013 has a few upgrades. The mid-level EX version receives new upholstery, spoiler and wheel designs, whilst the upscale SX model comes with an upgraded infotainment system or available navigation system, and the LX receives dynamic dampers. The entry level LX with manual transmission is front-wheel drive only. The LX with automatic transmission and the EX are front-wheel drive but can be optioned to the “Dynamax” all-wheel drive. The EX Luxury and SX are all-wheel drive only.
In term of engines, the base power plant is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine in LX, EX and EX Luxury trim. The SX model offers a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection (T-GDi) featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger and an intercooler with 260 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Transmission with this engine is a six-speed automatic transmission with manumatic mode. Features on the LX include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, fog lights, and heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, privacy glass, automatic headlamps, variable intermittent wipers, windshield de-icer, rear wiper, hill start assist, black grille with silver-coated garnish, front and rear mud guards, heated cloth seats, active front head restraints, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, metal grain interior accents, keyless entry, cruise control, driver’s auto-down window, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary and USB ports, Sirius satellite radio, steering wheel-mounted
audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and tilt steering wheel. The automatic-equipped model also includes roof rails, illuminated vanity mirrors and an Eco-Minder indicator.
The EX adds 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights, solar control windshield, black grille with chrome garnish, premium anti-stain cloth seats, power driver’s seat, driver’s auto up/down window, iPod cable, leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic steering wheel, rear parking sonar, trip computer, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear spoiler, cargo cover, and cargo net.
The EX Luxury adds power tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, ventilated driver’s seat, rearview camera, deluxe door scuff, premium stereo, and smart key with pushbutton start.
Our SX 2.0 turbo Navigation tester offers 18-inch sport alloy wheels, power tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof, black honeycomb grille with chrome garnish, dual exhaust, heated cloth seats with leather trim, UVO infotainment, rearview camera, orange interior accents, cooled glove box, smart key with pushbutton start, and premium stereo. The SX with Navigation also offers heated steering wheel, and hand- free blue tooth connection, dual zone climate control and panoramic sunroof.
As has been the case, Kia continues to amaze with the specification and value for money you get in this sector. The Sportage offers excellent leg and head room up front and in the second row and the tilt/slide sunroof and rear vista glass offer a light airy cabin. It is also a very practical cabin with decent storage space, foldaway armrest, door storage and a plethora of cup holders. The leather seats proved comfortable and supportive and there are good sightlines all around. Ty as you can it hard to fault the cabin with good fit, finish and decent quality plastic all around. In the rear the 60-40 folding rear seat can flip almost flat without having to remove or adjust the headrests or slide the front seats forward. Cargo space with the seatbacks down totalled 1,547 litres (54.6 cu. ft.) and 740 litres (21.6 cu. ft.) when the seats are up. On the road the Sportage proved to have good road manners and a decent combination of performance and safety. The electronic power steering proved responsive and predictable. The GDO engine as used in the Kia Optima is a jewel proving to have an ample spread of torque through the mid and low end of the tach. On the safety front decent brakes and multiple airbags offer safety and Kia’s computer-controlled AWD setup used vehicle speed, traction control sensors, and driver input to ‘predict’ wheel spin in slippery conditions.
The AWD system can send 100 per cent of the Sportages power to its front wheels under normal drive conditions, and transfers up to 50 per cent of that power and torque to the rear axle when tire slippage is detected. A driver selected Lock Mode on the AWD system automatically delivers even torque between both axles until you reach about 40 km/hr. Official fuel consumption for the AWD automatic transmission 2.4 liter engine is rated at City: 10.0 L/100 km and Hwy: 6.9 L/100 km. The All-Wheel drive auto 2.0 liter turbo engines fuel consumption is rated at City: 10.0 L/100 km and Hwy: 7.7 L/100 km The Kia Sportage has come a long way since its inception and is certainly an impressive enough vehicle to put on your list if you are shopping for a compact Crossover Utility vehicle that certainly looks amongst the best in its class. Auto review by Veeno Dewan
2013 Kia Sportage priced from $21,995 to $39,995. Price as tested $39.195 with taxes