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First Drive: 2011 Kia Sportage SX

Forget the “cute ute.”

by on Mar.11, 2011

Kia's focus on distinctive styling shows through with the 2011 Sportage SX.

When it first appeared last year, the Kia Sportage crossover got generally good marks – and plenty of attention to its distinctive design.  The Korean maker has made a high priority of styling, as models like the all-new Optima demonstrate, and so, the Sportage took a distinctive route one might call the antithesis of the “cute-ute” styling repeated, as nauseum, by so many competitors.

That doesn’t mean it’s got a face only an owner could love.  This is no Pontiac Aztek.  The 2011 Sportage looks nice, whether parked or driving up in your rearview mirror.

Add to that a comfortable interior, excellent overall packaging and utility and with a substantial amount of standard equipment at a highly competitive price point and what you get is a surprisingly solid offering making its push into one of the most hotly contested segments in the car business.

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There was one frequent complaint raised, or at least whispered, by the car jocks who thought it was a bit under-powered out there on the great American highway.

Not anymore.  The new Kia Sportage SX blows away the perception that the vehicle’s innards are somehow compromised. Indeed, the turbocharged SX blows the doors off most of the cute utes without sacrificing the features that the Korean carmaker first introduced last year.


Sportage Shows Kia’s Styling Growth

Small sport ute is beautifully designed, but please, fix the ride.

by on Feb.10, 2011

Kia's new Sportage continues the automaker's recent trend toward building stylish vehicles.

For the better part of two decades Kia has made progressively better cars, but the design and styling still lagged.

The designs were often boring (previous generation Sportage) and sometimes strangely ornate (Amanti).

Not many people looked at a Kia, any Kia, and said “Wow, I want to drive that.”

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That is changing rapidly. The latest Optima is a smartly styled mid-size sedan. The Soul is a funky little box, the type of shape that hipsters love. And now, Kia has an swoopy new Sportage small crossover.

Kia says the new Sportage design takes its – sorry about this – cue from the Kue concept that was introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Well, OK. That sleek two-door concept did have a high beltline and a low roof, much like the new Sportage, but after that, they don’t have all that much in common.

First Look: 2011 Kia Sportage

Korean maker adds another trio of premiers at Geneva.

by on Mar.02, 2010

The 2011 Kia Sportage is one of several new models the Korean maker is introducing at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

Kia celebrated its attendance at the Geneva Motor Show with the world premiere of its compact crossover, the 2011 Sportage.

With an all-new look that moves away from classic SUV design, and a new “ecoDynamics” powertrain, the Korean maker is betting Sportage should keep the momentum going in Europe, as well as its biggest global market, the U.S.

The new body looks more svelte, perhaps because it has been lowered by nearly an inch and put on a diet shaving almost 200 pounds of weight; but it’s actually about an inch longer, which translates into a more roomy interior.  Meanwhile, the CUVs aerodynamics have improved which, along with the lower weight, is expected to yield a noticeable bump in fuel economy.


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For the Europe market, Kia will come in with a pair of gasoline engines and another two diesels, Sportage coming to showrooms in either front- or all-wheel-drive configuration.  Reflecting the Continent’s increasing focus on global warming, Kia has added a new Start/Stop feature that automatically shuts the engine off while idling.  That means the crossover can cut CO2 emissions as low as 138 grams per kilometer, depending on powertrain.


First Look: 2011 Kia Sportage

Debut planned for March Geneva Motor Show.

by on Feb.03, 2010

A sneak peek of the Euro-spec 2011 Kia Sportage, which debuts in Geneva, next month.

My, how time flies when you’re working the auto show circuit.  With the L.A. and Detroit events now past tense, we’re getting our reservations ready for Chicago, which stages its press preview next week.  But the folks at Kia are looking even further ahead and have just tipped us off to the launch of the 2011 Kia Sportage, planned for the Geneva Motor Show, in March.

Like its bigger Korean sibling, Hyundai, Kia is trying to shift styling directions.  Gone are the boxy derivative shapes of the past, it promises, touting the look of the 2011 Sportage as “embodying Kia’s newfound visual dynamism.”


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That translates into a more wagon-like crossover, with a sweeping roof line, bold grille and over-sized fog lamp surrounds, among other details.  The 2011 Kia Sportage is longer, lower and wider than the previous model, with more interior passenger and cargo space, as well.