With any version of the 2011 Kia Sportage, there’s a meaty list of standard features including the latest plug-ins for consumer audio. And there’s more to come.
Kia offers three versions of the Sportage. The base vehicle is priced from $19,000 and brings with it air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; and 16-inch wheels. It’s a nearly $1700 price increase over the old ute, and a bargain in comparison.
Opt into the $20,995 LX model and Kia adds on tinted windows; tilt steering; multi-adjustable front seats; and pushbutton start with keyless entry. A word on this feature: for some cost concession, Kia’s put the remote fob’s slot inside the center console, where you’d normally find it on the dash or on the face of the console. It’s an awkward, forgettable spot that will turn many owners into overheated fussboxes, we predict. This version also adds Sirius satellite radio; Bluetooth; steering-wheel phone and audio controls; and a USB port for audio players. While the port’s free, you’ll need a special $40 cable for the stereo to take full control of your iPod or iPhone sounds.
Atop the range, the $23,995 Sportage EX ups the game with all LX features plus a telescoping steering wheel; a cooled glove box; a power driver seat; 18-inch wheels; leather steering wheel and shifter trim; roof rails; and a rear spoiler.
All versions carry Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty—a significant piece of the value puzzle.
The features list has the usual choices of leather, wheels, sunroof, nav system and seat heaters; the driver seat can also be ventilated. The most anticipated option (standard on the EX), coming later in the year, is UVO—the Kia flavor of the Microsoft entertainment controller marketed by Ford under the SYNC brand. UVO isn’t as versatile as SYNC, in that it controls phone and audio functions, not including an optional navigation system. UVO does have the latest software, though, so the list of commands used to operate the car’s functions is longer, which cuts down on the number of voice commands you have to make to access features. You can simply say “Beach Boys” and UVO will search the radio, your music player, or an SD card for the relevant tunes. UVO’s bundled with HD radio, and in future iterations, it will read out your Twitter and RSS updates and allow you to send automatic responses.