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2011 Kia Sportage Photo
8.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$17,930
BASE MSRP
$18,295
Quick Take
Kia hits game reset, and gives the 2011 Sportage an appealing new look and feel. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features

The new model’s proportions are as dramatic as the outgoing model’s are dull, and few curves are found on its sheetmetal….a beefy, high-tech appearance.

Car and Driver »

It's downright fashionable in a vehicle class that usually isn't.

Inside Line »

The interior is about on par with the rest of the segment. Plasticy but fine…the Kia's plastics are at least the non-greasy kind.

Autoblog »

The interior is attractive, and the layout is uncluttered. Controls are easy to see and reach.

Motor Trend »

Expanses of black plastic may look better than they feel, but the overall layout is efficient and pleasant enough, with a large navigation screen front and center, and dual-zone climate-control switches just below.

Popular Mechanics »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$18,295 $27,295
MSRP $18,295
INVOICE $17,930 Browse used listings in your area
2WD 4-Door Base
Gas Mileage 21 mpg City/29 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 2.4L
EPA Class 2WD Sport Utility Vehicle
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Sport Utility
See Detailed Specs »
8.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

We used to call them “cute-utes.” From the Ford Escape, to the Honda CR-V on to the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, a generation of small sport-utility vehicles were pitched at first-time shoppers in the hopes they’d trade up to bigger, higher-profit SUVs in the future.

Now that the SUV time-space continuum’s been disrupted by gas prices and a sour economy, these compact crossovers are growing up a little, doing the reverse of their original intent. They’re becoming a good alternative for buyers trading down from the larger utes that fell out of fashion over what seems like a matter of months.

With the 2011 Sportage, Kia’s placed its bets in all the right places. The Sportage has grown up into real-world dimensions, with more cargo space than ever. It’s still among the smaller vehicles in its class but it fits adults better in all situations.

And though it’s a mechanical twin of the 2010 Hyundai Tucson underneath, the Sportage’s sheetmetal hits the sport-ute crowd squarely with its smart blend of rugged details and hatchback practicality. The Tucson’s “fluidic sculpture” theme is compelling, but it can’t beat the Kia’s refreshing, crisp take on utility—and the Sportage has an equally direct and good-looking cockpit that contributes a lot to the crossover’s newfound quality feel. It’s even tackling the hands-free-arena with UVO, a Microsoft-engineered system with much in common with Ford’s SYNC; the Tucson has to wait while Kia gets it all to itself.

Pricing has jumped considerably for this Sportage. Its base price of just under $19,000 means the coming 270-hp SX model will nudge the $30,000 bottom line. That pitches the Sportage into a headlong battle with the longtime titans in this group—CR-V, Forester and Escape—and overlaps the base price of larger vehicles like the 2011 Ford Explorer. A higher sticker price could turn off some shoppers, but most who kick the Sportage’s tires will be far more impressed with its magnitude of change.

Likes:

  • Rakish new shape
  • Better build quality all around
  • UVO’s hands-free audio
  • SX’s 270-hp turbo

Dislikes:

  • Rides a little stiffly
  • Steering feels heavy
  • Cabin is on the smaller side
  • Skimpy rear-seat head room
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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