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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tested: The 2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo is the Quickest Kia Ever

2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD Road Test - Review - Car and Driver #pallet {margin:0;}#echoice li.category {margin:0;}Car and DriverIntelligence. Independence. Irreverence. VehiclesReviewsNewsFeaturesBuyer's GuideFollow UsSubscribeSearch Car and DriverHome › Reviews › 2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD - Short Take Road Test

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2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD - Short Take Road TestEven sportagier.BY DAVID GLUCKMAN, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC URBANO
June 2011


2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo AWD

Photos (12)Highs and Lows

Highs:Turbocharged performance befitting something with two fewer doors, not-me-too styling.

Lows:Turbo is only available with all the fixin’s; firm suspension, firmer price.

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That Kia continues to assemble ever-better-performing, more-competitive, more-attractive products should be news to no one. That a small crossover is the Korean brand’s quickest vehicle might take you by surprise. It did us. But it’s true: Since the 1994 Sephia landed stateside, no Kia has hit 60 mph in fewer ticks of the second hand than this new turbocharged Sportage.

A midyear addition to the lineup, the SX gives the otherwise competent Sportage that which it lacked: haste. Its 260-hp, 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo four is a detuned version of the one available in the Optima. With optional all-wheel drive dispersing 269 pound-feet of torque, the Sportage reaches 60 in 6.1 seconds. It’s quicker to that mark—by 2.8 seconds—than a 170-hp, 2.4-liter Sportage with all-wheel drive. Quicker, by 0.3 second, than the lighter, 274-hp Optima SX sedan.

None of the Kia’s all-wheel-drive little-ute peers is as fleet, including the segment’s former top sprinter, the Toyota RAV4.

All turbocharged Sportages come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Its quick, smooth actions help the crossover live up to the first five letters of its name without sacrificing comfort.

Unfortunately, Kia is making a bad habit of exclusively pairing the engine we prefer with a “sport-tuned” suspension. Even though no stiffening of the already firm setup was ?warranted, Kia tightened the ­calibrations anyway. The SX’s suspension is composed but not compliant.

What you get for $4500 in interior options: nav, upgraded audio, leather, heated seats, a backup warning system, and a giant sunroof.

Dual exhaust outlets, a barely scrutable T-GDI badge—that’s “turbocharged gasoline direct injection,” for the faint of scruting—and a less chrome-y grille are the only turbo identifiers on the exterior. Sportages in SX trim come with everything from the formerly top-spec EX, adding $2500 to the sticker for the stiff ride and the stout engine. At a base price of $27,990 for an AWD version, it’s more than a bit expensive. Our test vehicle arrived loaded with the $1500 Navigation option, which includes an upgraded audio system, and the $3000 Premium package (leather upholstery, heated seats, a backup warning system, a panoramic sunroof, a fan-cooled driver’s seat, and more). Throw in a $75 cargo mat, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money ($32,565, specifically). Expensive, yes, but the SX is sufficiently sportaged.

Just think if Kia were to try its increasingly deft hand at a proper sports car.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED: $32,565 (base price: $27,990)

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 122 cu in, 1998
Power (SAE net): 260 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 269 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Wheelbase: 103.9 in Length: 175.2 in
Width: 73.0 in Height: 64.4 in
Curb weight: 3642 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 6.1 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 16.1 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 37.7 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.7 sec @ 96 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 132 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 173 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.80 g

EPA city/highway driving: 21/25 mpg
C/D observed: 21 mpg

TEST NOTES: As with the turbo Sonata, a brake-torque launch yields much slower acceleration times. Simply mashing the gas gets quicker numbers.


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