Kia’s Popular Sportage Crossover is All-New for 2011

December 4, 2010/Steve Tackett

MOTOR MATTERS NEW ON WHEELS BY CONNIE KEANE

The Sportage — Kia’s longest-running nameplate — is turning heads with a successful and beautiful exterior and interior makeover. The 2011 Sportage is sleek, modern and bears the desirable proportions sought after in today’s popular Crossover Utility Vehicle market.
The 2011 Sportage starts at $18,295 and is offered in base, LX and EX trims and comes competitively well equipped with standard features, such as satellite radio capability, MP3 player and Bluetooth connectivity; power doors, windows, mirrors; plus air conditioning.
On the outside of the all-new Sportage, sweeping and fluid lines with pronounced wheel wells and a high beltline bring Kia’s compact CUV into the modern age of contemporary styling. The 2011 Sportage is wider, lower and longer than its predecessor.
Two engines are offered in Kia’s popular Sportage. For 2011 the all-new crossover, upon its initial launch, is offered with a powerful and very efficient four-cylinder engine. Later in the 2011 model year, a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that produces V-6 quality horsepower (270 horses) will be available. I drove the 2.4-liter linked to a six-speed automatic in the Sportage EX test vehicle that had a starting price of $23,295. It’s a quiet engine, more powerful than the one it replaces, and of course, fuel efficient due to the six gears.
Kia’s new I4 engine produces 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 168 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The EPA fuel economy ratings on the front-wheel-drive Sportage are placed at 22 miles per gallon city and 31 mpg highway.
In addition to the standard FWD, the new 2011 Sportage is available in a unique Dynamax all-wheel-drive configuration that was co-developed by Kia and Magna International. This AWD system operates 100 percent of the time in front-wheel-drive under normal road conditions. When wheel slippage occurs the Dynamax AWD system makes adjustments to stabilize the ride. The driver also has the option to select “Lock Mode” in this particular AWD model when driving in rain, snow or when taking the Sportage on off-road trails.
Even though the Sportage is built as a unibody crossover utility vehicle, it offers a trucky, SUV-like ride.

This is not to say it’s noisy, because it’s not. The Sportage is a quiet-riding vehicle, and engineers at Kia point out that they’ve worked aggressively at noise-vibration-harshness reduction measures. But, this vehicle — more than any other contemporary crossover on the market I’ve been in — maintains its original genetic stuff from “back in the day” when Sportage was first introduced of feeling like a truck. There are buyers who will enjoy the firmness delivered in the Kia Sportage.
For the crossover’s suspension system the 2011 Sportage features an all-new multi-link rear setup with new dampers and coil springs mounted separately. MacPherson struts are used in the front.
Options on the tester were premium-convenience feature-driven that pushed the price up to $28,490. Among the extras was a Leather and Premium Package for $3,000 that included a panoramic sunroof in the first and second rows, allowing all five passengers to enjoy ambient air and light; push button start with smart key entry; heated/cooled driver’s seat; and heated sideview mirrors.
A long list of standard safety features are on the 2011 Sportage, such as six airbags, active head restraints, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. An audible back-up warning sensor is available, and so too is a rearview back-up camera. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters

Next New On Wheels: 2011 Volvo S60
Next Bonus Wheels: 2011 Land Rover Range Rover

SPECIFICATIONS
2011 KIA SPORTAGE EX
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger compact FWD CUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $23,295 (as tested: $28,490)
MOTOR TYPE___________________ 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 2.4-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 176 at 6000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 168 at 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 103.9 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 174.8 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 34.7 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 14.5 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway

Spare Parts
2012 BMW CONVERTIBLE: The new BMW 650i Convertible combines a classic soft-top roof with flying buttress design. Powerfully contoured surfaces of its lines promise the anticipated BMW driving experience. The 4.4-liter V-8 engine develops a maximum 400 hp between 5,500 and 6,400 rpm, and makes peak torque of 450 lb-ft between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm (preliminary). The engine can be paired with either BMW’s new 8-speed Sport Automatic gearbox or BMW’s traditional 6-speed manual transmission. The new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with the manual transmission (4.9 seconds with the 8-speed automatic). (Source: BMW)
2011 KIA OPTIMA HYBRID: The all-new 2011 Optima midsize sedan lineup expands with the all-new Optima Hybrid. With a stunning design, roomy interior, and an estimated 40 mpg class-leading fuel efficiency, Kia’s first-ever hybrid in the U.S. will attract those looking for a striking and well-equipped sedan that does not sacrifice style, comfort, performance or value for fuel efficiency. The 2011 Optima Hybrid is set to hit Kia showrooms early next year. (Source: Kia)
1,000 NEW JOBS: General Motors is adding 1,000 engineers and researchers in Michigan starting Nov. 30, 2010 over the next two years to significantly expand its vehicle electrification expertise and lead in the development of electric vehicles from hybrids to electric vehicles with extended-range capability, like the Chevrolet Volt. The new jobs will build on GM’s strategy to develop, validate and manufacture automotive battery, electric motor and power control technologies in-house as core competencies. (Source: General Motors)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010

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