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

By - September 7, 2011
2011 Kia Sportage EX Front Three Quarters
Long-Term 2011 Kia Sportage Update - FALL 2011 (1 OF 2)
Months in Fleet: 3 / Miles to Date: 8283
An astonishing ninety-one percent of cars sold in South Korea last year were black, white, silver, or gray. It's not all that much better in our supposedly individualistic land, where those same colors enjoy a seventy-one percent share (both figures come from a survey conducted by DuPont). All of this goes to say that a techno orange Korean car is pretty weird. No wonder the Sportage's complexion has been such a hot topic.
2011 Kia Sportage EX Rear Three Quarter
"I have started referring to the Sportage as 'the pumpkin' because of its rounded shape and bright orange hue. Given the shade of orange it's painted in, I think it's apt," quips associate web editor Donny Nordlicht.
Most editors find it a refreshing break from the norm, one that perfectly complements the new Sportage's distinctive styling. Some have even found it to have behavioral influences.
"Try to own/use one of these cars in this color without secretly dressing to match it," says associate web editor Ben Timmins.
"Seeing our eye-popping Sportage in the parking lot, I had the sudden urge to play basketball, perhaps because of its bright orange, basketball-esque color," adds road test editor Chris Nelson (Kia's prominent sponsorship of the NBA may be having an effect, as well).
Not everyone is entirely comfortable standing out, however.
"When I drive the Sportage, I always have one question on my mind: do other drivers see the Techno Orange paint as cool and interesting, or as obnoxious?" asks associate web editor Jake Holmes.
Copy editor Rusty Blackwell, meanwhile, wonders if the orange Sportage will look as dated as a leisure suit by the time its ten-year warranty expires.
"Remember when teal was cool in the 1990s? When I see a teal Geo Metro, Ford Aspire, Mustang, or San Jose Sharks jersey today, 'cool' is certainly not the first word that comes to mind," notes Blackwell.
For what it's worth, our EX isn't the most extroverted Sportage on the road - Kia also offers bright orange plastic interior trim to match the paint, but we stuck with boring old black.
"The orange interior almost certainly would have gotten old during our yearlong test. All the black in our Kia's comfortable cabin is a bit grim, though," says Blackwell.
Most editors at least agree that the color is a nice departure for a brand that's still trying to leave behind fifteen years of blandness, which is probably the point. Concludes Nelson:
"I parked the Sportage parallel to the basketball courts, making sure I could glance over at it now and then. And why wouldn't you want to? Sure, it might not be the most subdued or prettiest car, but it's a welcome departure from former generations.
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:

FALL 2011
2011 Kia Sportage EX - Four Seasons Update - August 2011
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