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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
We don't really expect to have a great view out the back in crossover SUVs anymore. Lacking rear-quarter windows, the 2011 Kia Sportage is no exception in this regard.
The large A- and C-pillars reduce visibility somewhat, but it's pretty easy to get used to.
No crash-test scores have been reported for the 2011 Kia Sportage as of yet, but we’re giving it a high score based on the stellar performance of the structurally similar Hyundai Tucson.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not tested the 2011 Sportage, and it hasn’t tested the 2010 Tucson, either. It’s the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that’s had its way with the Tucson—and it awarded the Sportage’s cousin a Top Safety Pick designation, meaning good scores twinned with standard stability control.
The Sportage shares those standard safety systems. It comes with dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes and stability control; and tire pressure monitors. In addition, it has standard hill-start assist and downhill brake assist, which aid and abet its all-traction capability.
The Sportage can be fitted with rear parking sensors and a rearview camera; they’re available in option packages on some but not all models. You'll want them, since the Sportage's rear quarters have sizable blind spots.
Once you’re past the front seats, space goes for a premium in the 2011 Kia Sportage.