2000 Sportage New Car Test Drive
With its roomy passenger compartment, long list of standard equipment, easy-to-operate four-wheel-drive system and reasonable price, the Kia Sportage might be perfect for SUV shoppers on a tight budget.
Unlike most small SUVs, which are based on a carlike unitbody chassis, the Sportage uses body-on-frame construction. The available four-wheel-drive system is a part-time system with a two-speed transfer case designed for serious mud slogging. The Kia Sportage can go just about anywhere.
The Sportage is available as a four-door hardtop and a two-door soft-top convertible. Both body styles are available with two- or four-wheel drive. The least expensive convertible starts at $13,995. The base four-door Sportage ($14,795 for a 4X2) is well appointed with power door locks, power windows, power mirrors, and intermittent wipers.
There's also an upgraded trim package for four-door models. The Sportage EX adds air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped gear shift knob, privacy glass, roof rack, and rear wiper/washer. A Sportage EX 4X2 retails for $16,295, and the 4X4 starts at $18,595. Base and EX versions are essentially the same mechanically.