Kia Sportage Review
Overall Impression: I recently tested a 2013 Kia Sportage EX and SPOILER ALERT – I like this car! What is the Sportage? The Sportage is a small/compact/crossover SUV depending on your terminology of choice. It fits into a class that includes the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV 4, the Maxda CX-5, Honda CR-V and more. As someone that travels a lot, I find myself frequently renting cars in this class. And this class has taken quantum leaps forward in the last couple of years. I haven’t driven all of these but of those that I have, the Ford Escape seems to be the best of breed. To-date, I haven’t had the option of renting a Kia Sportage so this test was a great chance to get to know it. And guess what, Ford? Kia has come to play! The 2013 Sportage looks great inside and out, it performs well and WOW, what a value.
Exterior: The sheet metal of the Sportage has been molded into an attractive, stylish and innovate skin. The front end has a swept back look with great placement of the headlamps, turn signals and the fog lamps. My test car had a large sunroof that I’ll cover with the interior. The rear end of the car is a bit stubby but – and I’ll admit it – this was not unanimous with my family, but I think it looks good. The placement and shape of the lights are attractive and along with the shape of the rear window it is a modern likable look.
Interior: The interior really works. The dash is designed extremely well. It is functional, looks good and on my EX model, it is loaded to the gills. It comes with all you’d expect and a lot more. The sound system was very good and came with satellite radio along with UVO, Kia’s version of the Microsoft voice controller similar to Ford’s SYNC. The Navigation system was easy to use and very functional. There were air bags all around the front seat cockpit. AND, it came with a backup camera with proximity warnings. That gets me to the seats. The EX model has leather seats that I was amazed by. The quality of the leather, the stitching the side bolsters and the feel are way beyond what I would expect in a car that retails for about $25k! I’m not a large guy and someone that is might have a different opinion but I really liked them. My car came with full power – driver’s side only – and electric lumbar support. The driving position and the feel of the seats were a real highlight. The front seats came with heaters AND, the driver’s seat had air conditioning. Another highlight, literally, was the oversize sunroof. While only part of it retracts, it brings an airiness and an openness that is really a plus in a relatively small interior. And rear seat space? I judge the space by my 6’1″ son. I’m not that tall so maybe we even it out but bottom line, he was comfortable in the back seat. Nuff said. The air conditioner was strong in both the front seats as well as the back. Living in Las Vegas, I can’t tell you how important that is! It is not a spacious vehicle for luggage, groceries, trips to Lowe’s etc. But this is a small SUV and in it’s class, it is about the same as the others.
Drive: Let’s talk about the acceleration and power train first. The Sportage EX has 176 hp which I thought was adequate. We all want max 0-60 speeds but let’s get serious. This is a small SUV, not a sports car. I judge acceleration by a couple of things. The ability to move out quick enough to get out of a sticky situation and the ability to pass with confidence. This car has both. If you compare the acceleration times in the class, it is right there with the others. The steering is tight, maybe too tight. I found it to be a little jumpy. The ride is pretty stiff. While I don’t mind that, others may find it stiffer than they like. I like it because it communicates to me what is happening with the road. Cornering is good which is partly a result of that stiff suspension. Braking was smooth and precise.
Final Thoughts: You can get into the Sportage starting at about $19k. That is a ridiculously low price for what you get. This car comes with a 5/yr 60,000 mile basic warranty and a 10/yr 100,000 mile warranty on the drive train. That is significantly better than everything else in it’s class. Don’t underestimate that. When you have 50,000 miles on your car, repairs can be expensive. As your car ages, problems come for a number of reasons, primarily due to the way it has been driven. The Kia Sportage is going to cost you less over the long term. As far as gas mileage, I was disappointed as it seemed a little thirsty. When I look across the it’s competitors, it s right in line with them. The KIA is rated at 20/27 MPG. With the really phenomenal mileage that we are seeing in newer cars, I’d hope that all the manufacturer’s in this class would be shooting higher. So who would buy the Kia Sportage? This is exactly what I would buy for my kids who are heading off to college. Its a perfect car for around town commuting, getting the kids to school or getting to work.
Once again, I really liked this SUV. Kia has stepped up to the competition and is a serious offer in it’s class. And oh, one last word: the glove box has a air conditioning vent in it… WHAAAAT???
Product was provided by Kia Motors in order to review the Kia Sportage –
all opinions are my own.
Kia Sportage Review