The Sportage is offered in Base, LX and EX models with a sporty SX model on the way late in the model year. All but the SX come with a new 176-horsepower, 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. The 4-cylinder can be paired with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and either a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy, according to EPA ratings, is as high as 22 mpg city and 31 highway.
The new Dynamax all-wheel drive system in the Sportage combines the ability to lock the power split 50/50 front to rear, or operate in a smart mode for best on-road performance.
Underneath the Sportage, a new MacPherson strut-type front suspension and multi-link rear suspension is tuned for crisp handling yet good ride comfort--and the setup helps maximize cargo and passenger space, Kia says. Kia has also included a new lightweight hydroformed subframe, with isolated front and rear suspensions, to help keep road noise out of the cabin. There's room for five in the Sportage and the back seats fold down neatly for a flat cargo floor.
In addition to front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and front active headrests, the Sportage includes electronic stability control plus anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and Brake Assist--which helps provide full stopping power in panic-braking situations. In addition, the Sportage has been named a 2010 Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Modern technology and connectivity features are all well-represented in the Sportage as well. Even base trims include auxiliary and USB inputs, as well as Bluetooth with steering-wheel controls, for hands-free calling. Sirius satellite radio is also included with a trial subscription. Kia's new UVO communication and entertainment system is optional on the Sportage. Developed with Microsoft, it can bring up music easily through voice controls; the system includes SD-card capability as well as HD radio.
Base models of the Sportage include a surprisingly long list of standard equipment, including power locks and windows, air conditioning and a 6-speaker sound system. LX models add larger alloy wheels side mirror indicators, privacy glass and extra power outlets, with an expanded options list. EX models are equipped like a luxury vehicle, with dual-zone automatic climate control, a telescopic steering wheel, roof rails, leather trim and other upgrades. Heated leather seats are available.