by Mike Tucker Jr
I started in my driveway face to grille with the all new Kia Sportage and the words italicized above the license plate: “The Power to Surprise.” I twisted my mouth with doubt. My mouth would soon drop along with anyone’s mouth that came in contact or eyesight of the vehicle.
Mouth still gaping, I slide into the intimate leather cockpit which matches its clean and subtle dash where the only interface save two knobs for climate control is a single touchscreen. Navigation, streaming audio from my phone and Bluetooth were all one touch or voice command away. Features are abound inside, from the massive sunroof for front and rear passengers, heated and cooled driver seat to cooling glove box to keep water cold.
Multiple adult and child passengers were pleasantly surprised. “Nice whip.” “Wow.” “Kia is stepping it up.” “This is nice, daddy.”
Already tons impressive, the road is the true test. More pep and a more comfortable ride than the Kia Sedona, the Sportage seems capable. I was also able to put an office desk and chair in the rear, unassembled but large boxes none the less.
In 2011 the Kia Sportage has crossed over like LeBron from cold dreary days to the hot Miami night of crossover design. The exterior, with its compact curves and black bezel headlamps bling like diamond running lights. Its foot game is provided by top tire maker Hankook and sits on 18 inches of alloy to boot. Winner!
Price Tag: $24,795 base ($29,990 tested)
Power: 2.4L 4-cylinder engine 176 horsepower.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift
Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 21-city/28-hwy