The original Kia Sportage was one of the vehicles that led the Korean automaker's initial charge into the American market. Those early SUVs (they were body-on-frame back then) were inexpensive and honest, but that's about the best thing you could say about them. After a near brush with extinction, Kia is a very different kind of automaker today. Like the rest of the company's recent introductions, the Sportage features crisp, aggressive styling that won't leave you embarrassed to be seen in one.
The new Sportage actually had its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show early this month, but the New York Auto Show is considered the crossover's U.S. coming out party, even though it actually showed up at the Atlanta show just recently. Like sister brand Hyundai's new Tucson, the American-spec model gets a new 176 horsepower variable valve timing 2.4-liter inline-four that beats the power and efficiency of the old 2.7-liter V6 with the buyer's choice of manual or automatic six-speed transmissions.
Later in the 2011 model year, the Sportage will finally get some real sport when it gets the new 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct injected inline four that's going into the Optima and Hyundai Sonata. A snazzy looking, 274 hp Sportage? What is this world coming to?
Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
All-New Compact CUV Continues Kia's Design-Led Transformation
Complete redesign for longest-running Kia nameplate
All-new CUV offers increased levels of refinement, power, fuel efficiency, technology and convenience features
NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – Adding another chapter to Kia's ever-evolving design transformation story, Kia Motors America (KMA) held the North American debut of the all-new 2011 Sportage compact CUV today in conjunction with the 2010 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). Taking a "Kue" from Kia's concept vehicle of the same name that was shown during the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the completely redesigned Sportage offers a more urban and fluid silhouette than its predecessor while retaining the functional features and benefits of the popular CUV. In addition to an all-new design package, the 2011 Sportage also offers increased levels of performance and efficiency, comfort and convenience and the latest in-vehicle technologies incorporated into all of Kia's latest new vehicles.
"Adding world-class design and cutting-edge technologies to an already successful value-packed CUV equation, the all-new Sportage offers Kia the opportunity to attract an entirely new and more sophisticated customer," said Michael Sprague, vice president marketing, KMA. "The 2011 Sportage retains the functionality and versatility of the previous generation model but repackages the CUV into a sleek, modern and bold style with new proportions and a completely new look to help elevate the Kia brand further as a world design leader."
With a high beltline, sweeping angles and more pronounced wheel flares than its predecessor, the team at Kia's U.S.-based design center in Irvine, Calif. aimed to convey an even more demanding road presence within Sportage's compact footprint by emphasizing its hunkered-down position. The all-new 2011 Sportage projects a modern and clean CUV and greatly expands beyond the current generations' basic, reliable appeal. The full-sectioned body, defined by a spearing shoulder line throughout the length of the car, helps to visually connect the headlamps and tail lights. The crispness of this line, together with the lowered body, offers a distinct sense of precision while the pronounced C pillar gives a sense of solidity and balance when viewed from the side.
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Emotion-Evoking Exterior Design
Drawing generously from the distinct styling elements of the Kue concept, the 2011 Sportage's front end proudly displays the new face of Kia, or the "Schreyer" line, with dramatic swept back headlamps, signature tabbed grille and a distinctive lower fascia treatment. The dynamically sculpted hood, framed by a distinctive windshield design, adds to Sportage's fresh appeal. The rear view offers a clean and contemporary look with pronounced unique tail lights set solidly within the rear lift gate. Longer, wider and lower than the previous model, the all-new CUV successfully retains the key features – commanding driving position, heightened sense of security and powerful road presence – which helped make the second-generation Sportage so popular among consumers.
Available in two trims, LX and EX, Sportage offers numerous standard exterior features. Starting with LX, Sportage is outfitted with 16-inch alloy wheels matched with 215/70R16 low-rolling resistance silica tires, body-color door handles, adjustable side mirrors with side mirror turn signal indicators, and tinted glass. Moving to the EX trim offers more prominent 18-inch alloy wheels mated with 235/55R18 silica tires, standard body-color heated side mirrors, roof rails, a rear spoiler, chrome body trim and door handles and a chrome-accented radiator grille for additional athleticism.
Contemporary and Comfortable Interior Space
The sleek aesthetic design from the exterior flows seamlessly into the interior, establishing an inviting and comfortable ambience with well-appointed features and the availability of numerous convenience and technology features. With the signature three-pot instrument cluster set prominently within the dash, Sportage's interior exudes contemporary design while optional paddle shifters on the steering wheel and an available Supervision™ meter cluster with a red-hued glow add to the modern and upgraded driving experience.
All LX models come standard with a host of convenience features including air conditioning, power windows, 12-volt power outlets in the front and cargo areas, dual sun visors with vanity mirrors, tilt-adjustable steering wheel and height-adjustable front seats. Stylishly appointed cloth seats provide comfortable seating while 60/40 split-folding rear seats effortlessly accommodate driver and passenger cargo needs.
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Further increasing the level of refinement, EX models benefit from a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, telescopic steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, automatic folding rear seat, keyless entry with alarm, a dual temperature control air-conditioner with ionized filtration, illuminated and cooled glove box, power driver's seat with lumbar support for additional comfort and support. Both trim levels come equipped with an active an active EcoMinderTM indicator for optimal fuel-efficient driving.
Impressive technology features also come standard throughout, including an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service. Also standard on both trims are auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting with MP3 players and Bluetooth® wireless technology connectivity with steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls to enable hands-free operation for compatible mobile phones. The 2011 Sportage will be the second Kia model to offer UVO powered by Microsoft®, the brand's advanced hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system (standard on EX models) enables drivers and passengers to answer and place phone calls, receive and respond to SMS text messages, access music from a variety of media sources and create custom music experiences. HD Radio® also will be made available to enhance listening enjoyment.
Available upgrades for the LX trim include 17-inch alloy wheels paired with 225/60R17 tires, navigation with SIRIUS traffic data, rear sonar, privacy glass, power windows with automatic driver up/down, heated side mirrors, an air-conditioned and illuminated glove box, telescopic steering wheel, roof rails and a rear spoiler.
Sportage EX models can be further enhanced with available features, including leather-trimmed seats, heated and ventilated front seats, push button start, rear sonar detector, heated side mirrors and a panoramic sunroof.
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More Powerful, Fuel-Efficient Engine
The all-new Sportage comes standard with a 2.4-liter DOHC 16-value four-cylinder engine with Continuously Variable Value Timing (CVVT), offering more power and better fuel economy than the previous 2.7-liter V6 engine. A more powerful but extremely fuel efficient Gas Direct Injected (GDI) turbo powerplant will be available in the 2011 model year. Offered with two-wheel (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations paired to either a six-speed manual transmission (base) or a six-speed automatic transmission, consumers will have a variety of powertrain combinations to fit their driving needs. The six-speed automatic transmission, first seen on the 2011 Sorento CUV, is a proprietary design for Kia that was designed, engineered and built specifically for Kia vehicles, making the brand one of only three manufacturers to employ such a transmission. All automatics feature Sportmatic® clutchless shifting.
Perfectly suited for on-road driving through the city or on the highway, the 2WD configuration offers an efficient package with responsive acceleration, enhanced fuel economy and impressive ride and handling. For drivers who typically face more difficult road and weather conditions, the AWD powertrain provides even more possibilities.
The Sportage's AWD design delivers 100-percent of engine torque to the front wheels during normal driving conditions, enhancing fuel economy, however when wheel slippage is detected a percentage of the torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels to help maintain forward momentum. When driving in slippery conditions, such as rain, snow, mud, unpaved roads or off-road, the driver can manually select the "Lock Mode," distributing torque evenly between front and rear axles up to a speed of 25 mph for enhanced stability.
New and Improved Platform
The 2011 Sportage is all-new, including its platform, which has been completely redesigned for the new CUV. With an overall length of 174.8 inches, overall width of 73 inches, wheelbase of 104 inches, Sportage is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, enhancing handling and aerodynamics. Built on a unibody frame, Sportage utilizes independent front-and-rear suspension systems. MacPherson struts are used in the front and have been fine-tuned to improve feel and stability, while new side-load coil springs reduce friction. An all-new, multi-link rear suspension system is used in conjunction with new dampers and coil springs mounted separately to minimize intrusion into the cabin and trunk space and add to Sportage's handling.
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The newly engineered suspension offers the same comfortable ride as the previous generation but also delivers improved handling characteristics with more precise responsiveness to driver input. Both the front and rear suspension systems are mounted on a lightweight hydro-formed subframe, to help isolate the occupants from irregularities in the road surface.
Significantly quieter and more refined than its predecessor due to an aggressive series of NVH reduction measures, the all-new Sportage employs a new bodyshell design with greater use of high tensile strength steel.
Impressive Safety Features
Like all Kia vehicles, the 2011 Sportage is equipped with a long list of standard safety equipment. Both trims come outfitted with driver and passenger advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and front active headrests, four-wheel Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and a Brake Assist System (BAS), which recognizes an emergency stop and delivers maximum braking power. Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC) also come standard on all models, the former assisting in preventing the vehicle from rolling backward when trying to pull away from an uphill gradient, while the latter helps keep the vehicle moving straight and steady down steep grades.
To assist drivers when the vehicle is in reverse, an available back-up warning sensor helps the driver avoid contact with certain objects in the vehicle's path by triggering an audible warning when the vehicle approaches an obstruction, while an available rear-view back-up camera enables drivers to view certain items behind the vehicle.
The 2011 Sportage is covered by Kia's warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the vehicle coverage.
2011 Kia Sportage Specifications
Overall Length: 174.8 inches Width: 73.0 inches Height: 64.4 inches Wheel base: 104.0 inches
Front Headroom: 39.1 inches
Rear Headroom: 38.5 inches
Front Legroom: 41.4 inches
Rear Legroom: 37.9 inches
2.4-liter 16-value DOHC with dual CVVT four-cylinder: 176 hp
2.0-liter GDI turbo four-cylinder (late availability)
6-speed Automatic w/ Sportmatic® shifting
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 16-inch alloy (LX); 17-inch alloy (optional on LX); 18-inch alloy (EX)
Tires: 215/70R16 (LX); 225/60R17 (optional on LX); 235/55R18 (EX)