Following a nearly three-year absence from the marketplace, the Kia Sportage returned in 2005 to rave reviews. For 2006, the Kia Sportage will continue to offer the same combination of comfort, convenience and safety features while adding several notable features.
Most importantly, a new Sport Package will be available for all LX V6 models and adds fog lights, a sport gauge instrument cluster, a black mesh grille, dark metallic gray bodyside cladding, leather steering wheel and shift knob, rear spoiler, cargo cover and the AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers from the EX trim level.
A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is now standard on EX models, while all models now feature a standard air filtration system.
Designed with both young-at-heart and value-conscious customers in mind, the Sportage places a heavy emphasis on safety. Its long list of standard safety features includes: six standard airbags (two advanced front airbags, two front-seat-mounted side airbags, and two full-length side-curtain airbags); four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brake system (ABS); traction control system (TCS); and electronic stability control (ESC).
The Sportage is an exceptionally spacious vehicle with an interior that can transport five adults in comfort, or fewer people and a wide variety of cargo with its innovative easy-to-use ‘Drop & Fold’ rear seat.
Access to the Sportage cabin is particularly easy, with large, wide-opening doors and especially generous legroom – 42.1-inches at the front and 37.2-inches at the rear. Front headroom is 40.7-inches, while rear headroom is 39.4-inches.
Generous space is one important ingredient in creating a successful interior and the Sportage designers have fitted the cabin with stylish seats shaped to accommodate both driver and passengers in true comfort. The driver’s seat is equipped with dual-height adjustment, with electrically-heated seats as an option.
In the rear, the Sportage features a ’Drop & Fold’ seat. This has a 60/40 split cushion and backrest, like a conventional hatchback vehicle, but the cushion is supported on hinged legs. When maximum cargo volume is required, the bottom cushion moves forward and down into the rear footwell area, which in turn allows the seat backrest to be folded completely flat and onto the same level as the trunk floor. This easy-to-perform operation can be carried out without removing the rear head restraints.
The ’Drop & Fold’ rear seat, plus the fold-flat front passenger seat, gives Sportage users a large number of seating/luggage carrying combinations. With all seats occupied, the Sportage can carry three sets of golf clubs in the load area. With the rear seat folded, the length of the load area extends from 32-inches to more than 64-inches. Maximum cargo volume is 66.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. The fold-flat front passenger seat allows for carrying long loads or simply providing more legroom for passengers traveling in the right rear seat. The fold-flat seat can also be utilized as a “work table” for the driver when the vehicle is parked.
Sportage’s rear seats also allow up to 18-degrees of adjustability for the comfort of rear seat passengers, while both front seats can be fully reclined (with head rests removed) to meet second row cushions for sleeping.
In addition to its sheer volume, customer convenience benefits offered by the load area include: rear-cargo under-floor oddments tray (above the spare wheel), three seat-back hooks for grocery bags, six tie-down anchors in the floor, side-wall storage with net, and a two-position rear cargo cover.
In addition to the versatile rear cargo area, the Sportage offers a range of storage compartments including a large height-adjustable center console with two-stage tray top, large lockable glove box, overhead sunglasses holder, map and cup holders in all four doors, rear-seat central armrest and floor-console dual cup holders. There’s also a handy shopping bag hook in the front-passenger area to keep bags upright and easily accessible.
One of the biggest stories about the Sportage is its class-leading level of standard safety equipment, including: six standard airbags (two advanced front airbags, two front-seat-mounted side airbags, and two full-length side-curtain airbags); four-wheel disc brakes with antilock brake system (ABS) and electronic brake distribution (EBD); traction control system (TCS); and electronic stability control (ESC).
In addition to the standard features previously listed, all Sportage models are equipped with an electronic stability control (ESC), which continuously monitors the path of the vehicle. If the vehicle yaws (over-steers or under-steers) while cornering, the ESC applies brakes to individual wheels and/or reduces engine power to restore the vehicle to the driver’s intended course. Operation of the stability program is entirely automatic.
The traction control system (TCS) is also fully automatic. It uses the ABS sensors to detect whenever a tire starts to slip and senses the onset of wheel-spin. The system instantly reduces engine torque and/or applies the brake at the slipping wheel, slowing the rotation of the wheel until grip is restored. TCS is particularly effective when accelerating from standstill on slippery surfaces.
The Sportage’s unibody was designed to minimize deformation of the passenger compartment in a collision. Crumple zones in the front and rear absorb and disperse collision forces from both head-on and offset collisions, while side impact door beams enhance passenger safety in the event of a side collision or roll-over.
The Sportage comes with the choice of two engines, a five-speed manual or four-speed Sportmatic transmission and the choice of either two-wheel or full-time four-wheel drive.
The 2.0-liter, 16-valve engine uses Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) to boost performance, enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions at low- mid-range rpm. This engine generates 140-horsepower at 6,000 rpm 136 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, giving the Sportage competitive power for its class.
For even better performance, a powerful V6 engine is available, mated to a four-speed Sportmatic transmission. The lightweight, compact, DOHC 24-valve all-aluminum 2.7-liter engine generates 173-horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque.
The Sportage can be ordered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, depending on model. The electronic control unit (ECU) in the full-time four-wheel-drive system detects when one or both of the front wheels lose grip, and helps to maintain traction by automatically diverting up to 50 percent of engine power to the rear wheels, as needed.
The 4WD system operates at all times without driver intervention. If necessary, the driver can engage a locked center differential at low speeds via a dash-mounted switch, dividing power evenly between the front and rear wheels. When traveling in this mode, the Sportage automatically and gradually reverts to front-wheel-drive when the vehicle reaches a speed of approximately 20 mph.
Fully independent suspension systems front and rear are designed to deliver responsive on-road handling and a comfortable ride on a wide variety of roads, while retaining long-wheel-travel and a genuine talent to also perform with real ability off-road.
A four-channel, four-sensor, anti-lock brake system (ABS) is standard. This system incorporates electronic brake distribution (EBD), which helps to distribute braking force evenly to all four wheels as weight shifts during cornering. The EBD adapts to individual wheel grip conditions, which helps to improve both control and stability. The standard traction control is a fully-automatic dual-mode system that either reduces engine power or applies the car’s brakes – or both if appropriate.
All Sportage models come with 16-inch alloy wheels. The four-cylinder Sportage LX is fitted with 215/65 R16 tires, while Sportage V6 models make use of 235/60 R16 BF Goodrich tires.
Kia has a reputation for packing a lot of car into a small sticker price, and the Sportage takes that tradition a step further. All controls are within easy reach of the driver; for both manual and automatic transmissions, the gear lever is located within easy reach on the center console. Power outlets are located both in the center console and in the luggage area.
Even as an entry-level model, the Sportage LX is loaded with standard equipment. Besides anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), six airbags, and a choice of engines and drivetrains, the Sportage LX also comes with a host of items that competitors charge extra for as options.
Features such as rear privacy glass, power windows with a driver’s one-touch down feature, power mirrors, a roof rack, and an AM/FM/CD stereo system with six speakers are all standard. Cruise control comes as standard equipment on all V6 models.
In addition to the V6 engine with automatic transmission, opting for the EX model adds a power-operated, one-touch sunroof, fog lights, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, heated outside mirrors, a leather-covered shift knob and steering wheel, illuminated ignition, remote keyless entry system, a cargo cover and upgraded seat fabric.
The EX also offers a Luxury Package, which includes leather seats and interior trim, heated front seats, automatic headlamps, electrochromatic interior mirror with HomeLink wireless control system, upgraded stereo system complete with subwoofer and external amplifier, and special body-color bumpers. The leather seats and trim are also available as a stand-alone option for the EX model.
Like all Kia models, the Sportage is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in the package are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty; a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty; and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.