Quickie KiaSecretly quick cars are fun, but the outgoing Sportage SX had its part of shortcomings exterior of its rowdy engine. The intermission was downright harsh, the interior exactly was there, too it returned middling fuel economy. For the latest SX, the sportiest Sportage inwards the lineup, Kia retained the hot-rod-in-disguise aspect piece improving nearly everything else. The crossover’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine pushes 240 horsepower too 260 lb-ft (that’s a 59-hp too 85 lb-ft bump over the base of operations model’s naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four) shot our front-drive SX to lx mph inwards 6.7 seconds too on to an electronically governed 135 mph. Those numbers best everything inwards the compact-crossover melee excepting the Subaru Forester 2.0XT, which comes only inwards all-wheel-drive form.
Drive the Kia similar a workaday compact crossover, rather than a tiny Porsche Cayenne, too the turbo engine makes a amend instance for itself past times yanking roughly the SX with relaxed aplomb. It never feels wanting for passing power, too the chassis is buttoned-down too stable. Critically, compared with the one-time SX, which came measure with a “sport suspension,” Kia tuned this novel SX model’s chassis to live to a greater extent than compliant, similar that of the regular Sportage, without sacrificing trunk control. The brakes are reassuring too returned stops from seventy mph inwards 173 feet, skillful for this class. Outside of some flutter from the large 19-inch wheels when passing over closely spaced groupings of route imperfections too an verbalize lack of experience from the steering, the SX chassis performs good piece riding quietly too smoothly fifty-fifty at highway speeds.
Kia Can-DoWhile the Sportage’s fun quotient survived the redesign, its previously austere, if functional, interior was shown the door. The novel cabin is good executed, to the cry for that it garnered from our staff several flattering comparisons to those of Audi vehicles. The pattern is restrained too the dashboard too door panels characteristic classy soft-touch materials too character plastics. We particularly similar the nice-to-hold steering bike too the centre stack’s slight cant toward the driver. Rear-seat passengers lead keep enough of legroom, although their topographic point cushions are positioned a tad low, too they lead keep laid upwards access to a 12-volt ability plug too a USB slot. The cargo concur is large too basically rectangular; the raise seats tin crease completely apartment using loose buttons side past times side to the outboard headrests. Those seats lack loose handles readily accessible from the cargo bay, but the charge flooring dorsum at that topographic point tin live fitted to i of 2 heights; when inwards the lower position, there’s a built-in ramp to render a smoothen transition to the folded seatbacks.
The front-end pattern (headlights stacked atop a grille, stacked atop an intake, stacked atop a skidplate) may non adjust everyone’s taste, but inwards SX trim, especially, with its large wheels too chrome trim, the Sportage manages to facial expression to a greater extent than expensive than it is. Kia has come upwards a long agency since the days when its products were carried alone past times their long warranties too value-packed MSRPs.
This particular Kia is genuinely priced on the higher halt of the compact-crossover segment, at $33,395, but it feels worth the cost. The turbo’s ability corrupts the driver every bit easily every bit it vanquishes the front end tires, the residuum of the bundle is every bit good turned out every bit you lot could inquire for inwards this segment, too measure equipment is generous. Dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a Harman/Kardon audio system, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated too ventilated ability front end seats, a heated steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, LED fog lights, LED taillights, LED running lights, a (huge) panoramic sunroof, a ability liftgate, too the all-important Android Auto smartphone integration (but non yet Apple CarPlay) are included. The SX cut down degree is thus all-in that Kia lists no options except for all-wheel drive. As nosotros said, we’d banking concern check that box, but with that alternative or without, the Sportage SX remains stealthy quick, piece too having improved every bit an everyday crossover.
- May 2016
- By ALEXANDER STOKLOSA
- Photography By MICHAEL SIMARI