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Kia’s New Sportage Cures Compact Crossover Boredom

Posted in Import Rides, Kia, Reasonable RideLust by Kurt Ernst | March 7th, 2011 | 4 Responses |
2011 Kia Sportage EX

The 2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo. Image: Kia Motors

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

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4 Responses

  1. SNAK3 says:

    It’s funny too because some of the dealers didn’t know about this. My dad (a service manager) said he was checking in a transport and looked and it said turbo and was like wtf?! This is new lol

    One of the techs said that the turbo on this actually looks larger then the one of the optima, but must be running on lower boost due to the lower numbers.

  2. Kurt Ernst says:

    Snak3, I’d suspect the difference is intake or exhaust related. The Koreans like to share as many parts as possible, so I’d be surprised if they used a bigger turbo on the Sportage.

  3. J D Stadler says:

    *Like* I love to see these underdogs doing well as of late.

  4. BigRuss says:

    i may have to take the wife to the Kia place instead of they Hyundai place to look at a sporty new SUV…