Kia Motors, like their parent company Hyundai, seems to be doing everything right these days. Take their Optima sedan for example, which has gone from a boring, disposable econobox to an object of desire (especially when fitted with their 274 horsepower turbo motor) with edgy, contemporary styling. It looks like their engineers and designers have been let loose on the Sportage as well, since Kia is now rolling out a completely new Sportage compact crossover for 2011. Why should you care? Because they’re building an SX Turbo variant with the same 2.0 liter turbo motor, and it’s available in either front wheel drive or all wheel drive. If you want a fun ride, but need a compact crossover to accommodate your family or just your stuff, you’ve now got another legitimate contender to add to your shopping list.
If there’s bad news, it’s that the Theta II 2.0 liter turbo motor loses a little horsepower and torque in the move to the Sportage SX Turbo. Compared to the Optima’s 274 horsepower and 269 foot pounds of torque, the Sportage gets 256 horsepower and 264 foot pounds of torque, which is still better than any competitor I can think of in the price range. Even the Subaru Forester XT’s turbo motor only puts out 224 horsepower and 226 foot pounds of torque, and the Subie is over 250 pounds heavier than the Sportage.
It’s taken Kia some time to create an image for themselves, but they seem to be the brand most focused on affordable performance. Look at it this way: if Hyundai is GM, Kia is what Pontiac was meant to be. Let’s just hope that the Korean automaker gets better support from their parent than Pontiac did.
Source: Kia Motors