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2016 Kia Sportage Puts the “Sport” Back in SUV

Do you ever wonder where the “sport” in sport utility vehicles has gone? Most of the utility vehicles on the market today look like slimmed down minivans only suited for suburban roads. Kia has addressed this SUV identity crisis with the aptly named Kia Sportage.

The Kia Sportage was first introduced in 1993. It was based on the Mazda Bongo platform, came with a 130 horsepower engine and could be had in either five-door wagon or two-door convertible form (really!).

In the last 23 years, the Sportage has come a long, long way. The 2016 model features an eye-catching exterior, powerful turbocharged engine and a full list of advanced technology features. The new equipment changes include a touchscreen display, a rearview camera with the LX trim’s Popular package and standard leather upholstery for both the EX and SX trims.

Though you can’t get the 2016 Sportage as a convertible, there is seating for five passengers in this latest edition and it can be had in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX.

Opting for the LX nabs you 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and a USB port. Tag on the optional Popular package and you also get a rear spoiler, roof rails, a trip computer, a 4.3-inch touchscreen audio system, a rearview camera, illuminated vanity mirrors and a rear seat center armrest.

The EX gets you all of the goodies the LX has, and it also adds keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (with adjustable lumbar support), heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Kia’s Uvo infotainment system, upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome exterior trim.

If you want to go big or go home, adding the EX Premium package gets you heated power-folding mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, a cooled glovebox, ventilated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch touchscreen display with voice controls, a navigation system and an upgraded Infinity sound system with HD radio.

For those who can’t decide between a sport compact and an SUV, there’s the SX, which adds different 18-inch wheels, a turbocharged engine, a unique front grille, LED daytime running lights and taillights, dual exhaust outlets, a panoramic sunroof and aluminum scuff plates.

As for the greasy bits, the 2016 Sportage is available with two different four-cylinder engines: a 2.4-liter version that produces 182 hp and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that cranks out 260 hp. Both engines come paired with a six-speed automatic. Power is sent to the front wheels, unless you order the optional all-wheel drive configuration.

The pairing of powerful engine and sporty suspension allows the Sportage to live up to its name. It’s a blast to drive, yet it also serves as the perfect commuter or family hauler. Fuel economy ranges from 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) to 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway), depending on how the vehicle is equipped.

Last but not least, the Sportage is chockfull of standard safety features including antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In addition, Kia’s optional Uvo telematics system includes emergency and roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, geo-fencing, speed tracking and other smartphone-enabled features accessible via the Uvo app.

The Sportage is the stand out option in a market full of mundane so-called sports utility vehicles. If you’re in the market for an SUV that’s fun to drive and won’t get lost in a parking lot, do yourself a favor and check out the Sportage.

  • Posted by agency-it
  • On September 29, 2015

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