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.