Something unexpected is happening at Kia. The Korean car company released new models, updated others, and put hamsters in its commercials. We took a preview drive in the Sportage, Kia's small SUV that has undergone a radical restyling.
With a base price of $18,295, the 2011 Sportage makes an economy play, and some of the car's appointments, such as hard plastics in the cabin, reflect that strategy. But other aspects of the car, such as the ride quality and handling, suggest something slightly more upscale. Think Honda when it ruled the economy roost.
At its highest trim, and fully loaded, Kia says the price only gets to about $28k. At this level, the Sportage includes features such as dual-zone climate control, a heated and cooled driver seat, locking all-wheel-drive, and navigation.
Following a trend Kia set with the new Forte and Soul models, all Sportage trims come with a Bluetooth phone system that lets you dial by name using voice command and a USB port for iPod integration. … Read more