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STYLING | 8 out of 10
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.
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.
The interior is attractive, and the layout is uncluttered. Controls are easy to see and reach.
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.
We think the 2012 Kia Sportage is one of the best-looking compact utes, with its deft mashup of SUV and hatchback lines.
The tipped-back stance shares some sass with the Soul, and a few well-chosen details lighten up thick body sides. It's chunky, but not at all clunky--we think, what the Jeep Compass could have been. The front end is particularly crisp, with a sort of elegant simplicity in the way the headlights and spoiler play with the reverse-bowtie blacked-out grille. The light sculpturing down its flanks makes the Sportage’s straight lines look even better in relief, too.
The cockpit of the 2012 Sportage relates to the sheetmetal in a way most cars and utes gloss over. Big gauges are framed by a rectangular dash that's toned down significantly versus the one in the Tucson, though if you look hard, you can see how the two share some common hard points. It's workmanlike in the best way possible--it looks substantial, and feels authentic. But it’s handsome, too—something you’d never say of high-utility crossovers like the outgoing Ford Escape or Honda CR-V.
Mashing up hatchback and cute-ute cues, the 2012 Kia Sportage manages a trend-setting look without becoming a fashion victim.