More often than not, Kia vehicles have been associated with low quality and low prices, but over the past few years, the rides have shown an increase of quality and styling while keeping prices reasonable. This is especially true for the 2012 Kia Sportage, a small SUV that has earned its place on the road.
On the outside, the Sportage is sleek looking, with unique lines and body panels that will never be mixed up with another ride. It’s a body that has personality, giving it a sort of appeal that many manufactures have trouble designing. With its sleek back front end, full glass panoramic sunroof, and sleep styling, this third generation Sportage is something different in an often-mimicked world.
While the ride is available with a few different levels of trim and engine configurations, in order to get the most out of the vehicle, it’s the 2.0-liter turbocharged motor with 260 horsepower that has truly set the bar high. Available in the SX model with the sport tuned suspension, this engine took the ride to a whole new level of enjoyment when hitting a variety of roads, from cruising the highway in quiet and comfort, to taking the corners of the local mountain roads. Never coming across underpowered, the ride delivered perfectly on every journey it took. And with an estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city, and 29 on the highway for the front wheel drive version, the Sportage is far from cutting into the wallet for those drives.
The features in the ride are far from lacking as well. The base model includes Bluetooth connectivity, iPod/USB audio interface, satellite radio, 60/40 split folder rear seats, and full power windows and doors. Upgrading to the SX model, as was tested, takes it all to a whole new level, with LED daytime running lights, fog lights, keyless ignition and entry, leather seas, 18 in wheels, UVO voice activated controls, HD radio, touch screen controls, and heated/cooled seats. Quite the package for such a well-priced vehicle, and in many cases, steps beyond what the competitors are bringing to the roads.
The interior of the Sportage is a far cry from the bland and boring styling of the past, bringing a touch of class and quality to it that is a pleasing mix of curves and organic design. The leather sears in the SX model are well contoured, allowing for great comfort even on the longer trips, while also providing plenty of support while driving the vehicle in a spirited manner. The headroom was ample, especially with the full panoramic sunroof, and the overall feel was comfortable even with 4 adults inside. Cargo space was a bit smaller than found in competitor’s vehicles, but not so much that it hindered usability. Even with the rear seats laid flat, there was plenty of cargo room for a wide range of tasks.
Driving the Sportage was an adventure in itself, with the 260 horsepower motor powering the ride smoothly and comfortably. With all the driver aids within reach or built into the steering wheel, there was little else to do other than focus on driving. It was pleasantly smooth and comfortable, even while accelerating hard up to speed on the highways, and never gave a hint of linger as it navigated even some of the worst maintained streets in the area. Even with the 18-inch wheels and sport-tuned suspect ion, the ride was quite enjoyable.
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The overall impressions of the 2012 Kia Sportage are quite favorable. With a very well styled ride, paired with an array of options, there are few small SUVs on the market that can meet, or beat, the Sportage. With a fully loaded price of a bit over $26,000, Kia has brought a well rounded, fun SUV to the market that has almost every option imaginable for the modern driver, and has left many competitors in the dust. Price vs. price, option vs. option, the Kia Sportage is the deal of the year in the small SUV market.