Kia's Tucson is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive variants for 2008, and can be powered by either a 140-horsepower, 2.0L four-cylinder engine or a 173-horsepower, 2.7L V6. The four-cylinder engine can be paired with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 comes only with a four-speed automatic.
With the four-cylinder engine, the Sportage has rather impressive fuel economy ratings for an SUV, of 20 mpg city, 25 highway according to the EPA.
The Sportage has carlike underpinnings, with a four-wheel independent suspension for crisp handling on the road, yet long wheel travel and good ground clearance allows it to have some measure of off-road ability.
Inside, the Sportage has space for five adults, with a "Drop & Fold" rear seat that folds down completely, allowing a flat, expanded cargo floor. A fold-flat front passenger seat also helps with especially long loads, or as a work table for the driver when parked. Both of the front seats can be reclined all the way back to meet the rear cushions.
With the back seat folded, the Sportage has a cargo capacity of nearly 67 cubic feet, yet with the back seat up and in place, it can still carry three sets of golf clubs, according to Kia. The rear cargo area also includes an under-floor cargo tray, tie-down anchors built into the floor, and a two-position cargo cover. Other interior extras include a center console with a two-stage tray, a lockable glovebox, map and cup holders for all doors, and a rear-seat central armrest.
The Sportage comes in two different trims, the LX, which comes with either the four-cylinder or V6 engine, and the more luxuriously equipped EX, which includes the V6. The LX includes standard roof rails, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, and a CD sound system. The EX upgrades to a sunroof, remote keyless entry, upgraded seat fabric, a six-speaker sound system, and the cargo cover, along with leather trim for the shift knob and steering wheel.
Safety features aren't at all lacking in the Sportage. Front seat-mounted side air bags, full-length side curtain bags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, and electronic stability control are all on the standard-feature list.
An optional Sport Package, available on LX V6 models, gives the Sportage a slightly different personality by adding fog lamps, sport gauges, a black mesh grille, bodyside cladding, a rear spoiler, six-speaker sound system, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob.
Warranty is also a strong point on the Sportage; roadside assistance and the limited warranty on the entire vehicle extend for five years or 60,000 miles, while the powertrain warranty is good for ten years or 100,000 miles.