You might not have noticed, but the crude, trucklike little Kia Sportage slinked out of the U.S. market with its tail between its legs in 2002. The nameplate now reappears on a completely new small sport-ute, one that uses unit-body construction and a four-wheel independent suspension, and offers a choice of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Like nearly all Kias, the Sportage uses a platform from corporate parent Hyundai, in this case that of the Tucson. Larger than before, but still compact, the Sportage will offer U.S. buyers a 140-hp four or a 173-hp V-6. Europeans also can opt for a 2.0-liter common-rail direct-injection diesel. Among the notable safety equipment are side and side-curtain air bags and stability control.
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