Today’s Sportage is now a stylish and well-rounded compact crossover SUV. Thanks to its excellent build quality, strong performance and large array of features, it’s far and away the most appealing Sportage yet. This third-generation model remains on the small side among compact crossovers, however, and as such is a better choice for singles or those with small families.
The current Kia Sportage debuted in the 2011 model year and represents the third generation in the model’s history. Up through 2013 there was a base model that came only with a six-speed manual gearbox. Additions for 2012 brought improved handling, additional sound insulation and the introduction of the Uvo voice activation system.
The previous, second-generation Kia Sportage was launched for 2005 and ran until 2010. Quite a bit different from the previous generation, the second generation Sportage featured a new unibody platform shared with the Hyundai Tucson. Compared to the current Sportage, though, this generation was a bit bigger in interior size but a touch plainer both in design and interior material.
There were two trim levels on the Kia Sportage: LX and EX. Both trims are equipped with items such as alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, tinted glass and a six-speaker CD stereo. The LX was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 140 hp. It came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and a four-speed automatic was available as an option. Most Sportages with this engine were front-wheel drive, though Kia did offer all-wheel drive on manual transmission-equipped models. As an upgrade for the Sportage LX and standard on the EX, Kia offered a 173-hp 2.7-liter V6. It came standard with the automatic transmission and could be had with front-drive or all-wheel drive.
The Kia Sportage is an excellent vehicle to consider when used. It might might not look too big from the outside, but the interior has plenty of headroom and legroom, both in the front and the back. The rear seats split and folded flat for a level cargo floor and a maximum of 67 cubic feet of storage. Fit and finish has been just fine over the years. Safety has always been a strong suit for the Sportage, with strong crash scores and a full complement of airbags, stability control and four-wheel antilock disc brakes.