2013 Kia Sportage SX AWD Review
Trolling the desert in Kia's sporty crossover.No Comments
The Kia rode with grace and stability that's somewhat surprising for an all-wheel-drive crossover SUV. It felt heavy and solid, but not cumbersome.
Automakers love to call their compact crossovers 'sporty' so that they can duck the stigma that SUVs aren't fun to drive. Kia even goes so far as to put 'sport' right there in the name 'Sportage.'
It's not all that audacious, really, since the Sportage does pack a punch under the hood in SX trim (a 260-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sits in the engine bay). Kia has also added 18-inch wheels and a dual exhaust to outline the SX's sporting mission.
We spent some time traversing across the Southwest in the SX's natural territory--suburbia.
Acceleration from the four-banger provided a nice swift kick, but when hammering on the throttle for passing maneuvers, there was a delay as the transmission kicked down and the power ramped up. Using the manumatic function of the six-speed automatic transmission probably can help alleviate this problem.
High crosswinds pushed the tall Sportage to and fro on our first interstate run, but when the weather calmed down, so did the Kia--it rode with grace and stability that's somewhat surprising for an all-wheel-drive SUV. It felt heavy and solid, but not cumbersome.
Cornering was competent in around-town situations, with a nicely weighted steering system that provided a lot of the Sportage's sporty feel.
Our official test-driver is a bit on the tall side, and he had no complaints with leg or headroom, although he did wish the tilt steering wheel would have gone lower. Cargo room was enough for a suitcase and a backpack without much room left over, and we were mystified by a power liftgate that refused to do what it was told via the key fob.
Tire noise was muted, and the engine only intruded at higher RPMs, but wind noise from the A-pillars was noticeable at highway speeds.
Crossover SUVs are about compromise in the end--they exist so that drivers who need an SUV (either for extra cargo/passenger space or for better handling in inclement weather) can still get a somewhat car-like user experience. The Sportage fits that bill nicely.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: All
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Base Price: $28,400
As-Tested Price: $32,400
Available Features: Navigation system, satellite radio, heated front seats, Bluetooth, air-cooled driver's seat, sunroof, heated outside mirrors, cargo cover, leather seats, push-button start, backup warning system, tilt/telescope steering wheel, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control.