Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: 2013 Kia Sportage LX

I remember when I first saw the redesigned Kia Sportage back in 2010. I was interning at Nissan in Tennessee and my jaw drop after seeing a red Sportage. I could not believe that it was a Kia and that it looked that good. Two years later and the Sportage is still a good looking vehicle. The 2013 Kia Sportage competes against the Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tuscon, Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V, and Chevy Equinox. The Sportage comes in 4 models: Base, LX, EX, and SX. My tester was a Sportage LX FWD that had a price tag of $24,495.

The 2013 Sportage is definitely a looker. The Sportage is probably the second best looking Kia after the Optima. The looks of the Sportage and Sorrento are very different which I think was a good idea. The addition of LED lights adds to the premium look of the Sportage. My tester's exterior color was Clean White. I just love vehicles in white.

The interior of the '13 Kia Sportage is a nice place to be. I wouldn't say the Sportage's interior is at the top of the class but it is surely not at the bottom. There is a lot of hard textured plastics throughout the cabin but there is soft touch and padded materials where it matters. The seats in the Sportage were firm but comfortable. The driver will have more than enough room upfront. The backseats offer a lot of legroom and headroom. I found the buttons and knobs to be of good quality and easy to reach from the driver's seat. The touchscreen is a little on the small side for me. My only real problem with the interior was the steering wheel. It was a little to hard for my liking. I would probably pay extra for a leather wrapped steering wheel.

My tester came with the convenience package which brought along Kia's UVO system and backup camera. There was also Bluetooth connectivity which is very important to me. I really like the UVO system. I thought that it worked well and was easy to use.

The Sportage's safety features include a Tire-Pressure Monitoring System, Side-Impact Door Beams, and 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes. Other features include Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Front Seat-Belt Pretensioners, Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags, and Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children (LATCH), Downhill Brake Control & Hill Assist Control, Traction Control System, and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution.

Behind the Wheel
The 2013 Sportage is powered by either a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine or a 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cylinder engine. The 2.4L engine makes 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0L engine makes 260 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. My tester came equipped with the 2.4L engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The base model Sportage comes standard with a 6-speed manual. All other models are paired with a 6-speed automatic. The Sportage sits higher than some of the competition, so make sure that is not a problem for you. Driving around town I found that the 2.4L engine produces more than enough power. The suspension is on the firm side which wasn't a problem for me. The steering is a bit vague but the average person would not notice. I decided to take the Sportage on small roads, busy streets, and the shopping mall parking lot. I felt that the Sportage handled really well, it didn't feel bigger than it is. I was able to move in and out of spaces and lanes easily without any problems. The Sportage has 26.1 cu. ft of cargo room with the seats up and with the seats down has more than 54 cu. ft of cargo room.

I think that the 2013 Kia Sportage is a great crossover for a young family or for someone who wants to start off with a small crossover. If you're a buyer who doesn't want to be seen in a Toyota Rav4 or Honda CR-V then the Sportage is definitely worth a look. I know that I had a few issues with the Sportage but I do believe Kia to address those problems with the redesign. The little problems I had most people will not even notice. Kia is doing an amazing job with offering quality products with good value. The base model Sportage starts at $19,000 and achieves 22 city and 32 hwy.  If you are in the Eastern Carolina area please stop by and visit the wonderful people at Lee Kia of Greenville to check out the Sportage.

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