12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2011 Kia Sportage EX - Four Seasons Update - May 2011

May 18, 2011
2011 Kia Sportage Ex Awd Left Full Side View
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Long-Term 2011 Kia Sportage Update - SPRING 2011 (1 OF 1)
Months in service: One / Miles to date: 4033
One month into our twelve-month test, we've all had a chance to get behind the wheel of our techno orange Kia Sportage EX. First impressions have been added to the logbook, and the comments are mixed. The Sportage has come in for a lot of praise, but there are also some reservations. Still, everyone agrees that the 2011 Kia Sportage is a huge improvement over the outgoing model, part of an impressive recent pattern from the Korean automaker.
2011 Kia Sportage Ex Awd Front Interior
Senior web editor Phil Floraday questions whether we got the best version. "Overall I think the Kia Sportage is a very pleasant crossover," he writes. "However, if I were going to spend $30,000 on one, I'd happily forego the $3000 premium package in our test car and instead spend $2500 for the turbo engine upgrade in the Sportage SX." He later has another thought: "The better idea might be to spend only $25,000 and get a base Sportage, since it comes well equipped and looks so good."
We do admit we regret not opting for the turbocharged SX, but as copy editor Rusty Blackwell put it, "Most non-leadfoots should be perfectly happy with the normally aspirated engine."
As improved as the new Sportage is, we're not enthused with the clumsy suspension, which has fallen short of our expectations. Logbook commenters have posited that a better suspension would help the Sportage really stand out in its class. "Overall it's a very comfortable vehicle, but Kia hasn't dialed in the damping on the Sportage quite as well as some of the competition has," says Floraday. Kia's history of less-than-excellent chassis tuning is shared with Hyundai.
This is just the beginning; and early impressions have a way of evolving over time. We're looking forward to eleven more months with our funky Sportage. Check back next month to see what our Sportage has been up to as summer vacation season gets under way.
Body style 4-door SUV
Accommodation 5 passenger
Construction Unibody construction
Engine 16-valve DOHC I-4
Displacement 2.4 liters
Power 176 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 168 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Four wheel
EPA Fuel Economy 21/28/23 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Electronically-assisted
Lock-to-lock 3
Turning circle 34.7 ft
Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R Power-assisted disc brakes; ABS
Wheels 18-inch aluminum alloy
Tires Hankook Optimo H426 all-season
Tire size 235/55R18 100H
Headroom F/R 39.1/38.5 in
Legroom F/R 41.4/37.9 in
Shoulder room F/R 56.7/55.1 in
Wheelbase 103.9 in
Track F/R 63.5/63.6 in
L x W x H 174.8 x 73.0 x 64.4 in
Cargo capacity 26.1/54.6 cu ft (rear seat up/rear seat down)
Weight 3355 lb
Weight dist. F/R 58/42%
Fuel capacity 14.5 gal
Est. fuel range 406 miles
Fuel grade 87 octane (regular unleaded)
STANDARD EQUIPMENT 2.4-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine 6-speed automatic transmission All-wheel drive 18-inch alloy wheels 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS Traction control system Electronic stability control Downhill brake/hill-start assist control Tire pressure monitoring system Rollover protection system Dual-zone automatic climate control Power windows/locks/mirrors AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with 6 speakers Sirius satellite radio USB & Auxiliary input jacks 60/40-split rear seat Cooling glove box Cruise control Bluetooth connectivity Tilt/telescoping steering column Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob Steering wheel-mounted controls (Bluetooth, audio, cruise)
Premium package with leather $3,000 Leather seat trim Heated front seats Ventilated driver seat Auto-dimming rearview mirror Cargo cover Panoramic sunroof Back-up warning system Heated outside mirrors
Navigation with premium audio $1,500 Navigation with Sirius traffic Back-up camera Premium audio with amp and subwoofer
Cargo net $75
Cargo tray $75
Cargo net $50
Wheel locks $50

Long-Term 2011 Kia Sportage Reviews to Date:

2011 Kia Sportage EX - Four Seasons Update - May 2011
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