2015 Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is a compact crossover that offers an appealing blend of style, standard features and optional turbocharged power. It's one of the smaller models in its segment, meaning that cargo capacity is somewhat limited, although the trim dimensions do allow for more spirited driving dynamics than many rivals.

Overview
Unlike its somewhat bland predecessors, the latest Sportage features a sleek, modern and bold look highlighted by a high beltline, a gently sloping roof and Kia's "tab" corporate grille. The theme carries over in the interior, which has a sporty three-gauge instrument cluster and a contemporary feel. The Sportage offers 26.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, a number that rises to 54.6 cubic inches with the rear seats folded. Some rival crossovers can stow up to 70 cubes.

The Sportage is now available with UVO eServices, an infotainment system that provides Bluetooth-based smartphone integration, streaming audio and voice command functionality for everything from placing calls to changing radio stations. It also includes vehicle diagnostics info and maintenance reminders, and lets users send Point of Interest info from Google Maps searches on their smartphone to the Sportage's nav system (when equipped). It also includes integrated Pandora radio, vehicle diagnostics info and maintenance reminders, and lets users send Point of Interest info from Google Maps searches on their smartphone to the navigation system.

The base motor for the Sportage is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gains direct injection for the latest model year, a change that increases output from 176 horsepower and 168 lb-ft of torque to 182 ponies and 178 lb-ft. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway with the auto.
Those seeking a bit of extra oomph can opt for the SX model, which brings a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 260 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, enough to scoot the little crossover from zero-to-60 mph in just over six seconds while still returning 21/28 mpg.

Front-wheel drive is standard, with Kia's Dynamax all-wheel drive system on offer. Opting for the latter setup drops mileage to 20/27 mpg with the 2.4-liter motor and 20/25 mpg with the turbo 2.0-liter.

All Sportage models shift through a six-speed automatic transmission.

To reduce interior noise, vibration and harshness and refine handling dynamics, the latest Sportage features new rear dynamic suspension dampers, increased floor insulation and standard high-performance dampers on EX models.

Standard and Optional Features
The Sportage is offered in LX, EX and SX trim levels.

The LX boasts standard convenience features including air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth wireless technology, LED positioning lights, cruise control and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The EX adds an Infinity premium audio system, UVO eServices, heated front seats, keyless entry, auto on/off headlights, a cooling glovebox, a trip computer, a rear parking camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, heated exterior mirrors, an autodimmer rearview mirror with Homelink, fog lights, LED rear taillights, a rear spoiler, chrome exterior trim and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The SX brings the turbocharged engine, navigation, keyless entry, power-folding door mirrors, HID headlights, roof rails, LED running lights and a trim-specific grille.

Highlights from the options list include leather upholstery, a navigation system, a panoramic sunroof and ventilated front seats.

Occupant Safety
All Sportage models come standard with dual front, side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.

Key Competitors
Before driving home in a new Sportage, car shoppers should also research the Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Tiguan and Ford Escape.