The Sportage's interior adroitly straddles the line between hip and mature. Wild color inserts wake up the cabin but somehow don't come off as tacky or cheap, as they do in the Kia Soul. It helps that this well-equipped Sportage was equipped with a very attractive, easy to use navigation interface. My only issue was that it seemed to reject my iPhone. Good taste likewise prevails on the exterior. Standing next to the vehicle, it's clearly more of a tall hatchback than a small crossover, sort of like a Dodge Caliber (but much better). There is a penalty as far as utility is concerned. I had a bit more trouble than I expected getting my mountain bike in back, but ultimately it did fit (with the front wheel on).
That compactness pays dividends in the Sportage's ride and handling. It's no Volkswagen Golf, but it might give Honda CR-V drivers something to think about.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor