Kind of. Sassy? Definitely. Kia's Sportage drives
into 2006 with a smoother, more carlike ride than
earlier editions and an unmistakable family relationship
to its long-range cousin Hyundai Tucson.
this year are modest, dealing with trim adds after
radical design updates a year ago. Those wanting
more sport in their smaller sporty utility vehicle
this year might opt for the Sport Package available
on the LX V-6. Those touches include rear spoiler,
fog lamps, dark toned metallic gray sidewise body
cladding and black mesh grille.
Inside, there's a sport gauge instrument cluster,
leather steering wheel and shifter knob, and remote
keyless entry, plus audio from the top-line EX.
All models get standard filtered air.
engine choices are a 2.0-liter inline four and
2.7-liter V-6. Transmissions are five speed manual
or four-speed automatic. All models are fitted
with full-time four-wheel drive without low gearing.
Sportages can tow 1,500 pounds (I4) or 2,000 pounds
(V-6). That's enough for a small open trailer
or small boat.
looks on all models come from standard towing
hooks and roof rails, and available side step
bars. A standard front-end skid plate confirms
that it retains a true off-road capability, while
standard traction control makes it more sure footed
on pavement as well. Most safety features are
included, among them a battery saver, and six
standard airbags including full-length side curtains.
didn't ignore comfort and cargo with this redesign.
"Drop & Fold" rear seatings opens
cargo space when rear seating on this five-seater
isn't needed for passengers. There's no struggling
to remove headrests in the process. Need to carry
a lengthy object? Fold down the front "tray
table" passenger seat for added cargo length.
A dual opening rear gate adds versatility.
Kia's biggest claim to fame, in addition to low
prices starting just over $15,000, is what it
terms the industry's best warranty. Clock in a
hundred thousand miles during 10 years on the
road, and the powertrain that drives it is still