The thick side pillar gets in the way when changing lanes, and visibility through the thin rear window is horrible. But we do like how the hatch goes all the way down to the bumper; and the load floor itself feels at an easy, natural height. But it's a bit surprising that cargo space is so small.
Tech delights and disappointments
Our very well equipped Sportage EX included items such as dual-zone climate control and LED running lamps—plus the Premium Package, which brought a nav system, rear camera display, premium audio, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a panorama sunroof, and heated outside mirrors, to a total of $29,990.
2011 Kia SportageEnlarge Photo
The Sportage remains true to one of its main promises, which is efficient yet stylish transportation; we averaged about 24 mpg over almost exactly 400 miles of driving, with much of it on the highway. From studying the trip computer, we noticed we were only getting 18 mpg or so in around-town stop-and-go, but out on the open road mileage jumped to the 25-26 range.
Ultimately, we see why the Sportage might appeal to some shoppers; it's affordable, well-equipped, quite fuel-efficient, and good-looking to nearly any taste. But we can think of several other crossover models that have both better handling and a better ride (most of its rivals, in fact), and inside, there's less usable space than most other alternatives. We'd love to do a back-to-back with Kia's much more affordable Soul, in fact, but it is another look—and argument—altogether. And for some Sportage buyers, Kia's newfound sense of style alone might be enough.