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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.