The Kia Sportage is a compact sport utility vehicle which was the second vehicle offered in the U.S. market by the Korean auto manufacturer Kia. After Hyundai, Kia was South Korea's second-largest vehicle maker, and Sportage was the first Korean SUV sold in the U.S. Soon after Hyundai merged with Kia to make an outstanding tandem and is catching up with the rest of the world auto maker leaders. Basically, the Kia Sportage has been the most renowned vehicle in the Kia lineup.
Designed as an enclosed passenger vehicle, not based on a pickup truck, Sportage was intended squarely at U.S. buyers who sought a roomy vehicle for their active lifestyles. The SUV went on sale in January 1995, but only in Western and Southern states that had Kia dealerships. Four-wheel-drive Sportages utilized a 2.0-liter dual-overhead-cam engine, which produced 130 horsepower. Rear-drive models got a single-cam 2.0-liter engine, rated at 94 horsepower. Only a 5-speed manual transmission was available in the 2WD version, but 4WD Sportages could be equipped with an optional 4-speed automatic. The part-time 4-wheel-drive system was intended only for use on slick surfaces.
Initially, the Sportage had little direct competition, but soon after, many Japanese auto makers soon came up with vehicles as competition. The Kia Sportage offers the space and utility of an SUV for the price of a compact car. For about the price of a base Sportage 4-door, you get only a two-door variant of its competition with less equipment, a smaller engine and a smaller passenger compartment. Those, whose hobbies take them off road, may appreciate the superior off-road capability of the Sportage when compared with the more expensive, more carlike mini SUVs from other well-known imports. For its size, Sportage has a fairly wide track, so stability in tight turns is amazingly good and body lean surprisingly modest. Springing is tight, though, so the ride is more truck-like than car-like, with modest bounce and pitch on uneven roads.
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