Kia Sportage 2.0 SX Review
Sport On

Story and Photos by Raymond Lai
31 Jul 2010

The new Sportage is a sharp looking SUV on the outside but the big question is -does it have the substance to match its looks?

Out with the old

Kia seems to have climbed to new grounds since the Cerato Forte was introduced here more than a year ago. The brand has shot up the sales charts to rattle the likes of Toyota and its Korean rival Hyundai while the Cerato Forte is the best selling car in Singapore for the first six months of 2010. The Cerato Forte saloon together with its Forte Koup sibling makes up the bulk of Kia's sales success here.

Things might change soon though thanks to several new model introductions by the brand which started with the Soul last month. There will be a new Magentis in the near future but this month sees the introduction of the all-new Sportage compact crossover SUV.

With the new model, Kia's compact SUV enters its third incarnation. While the previous two generation Sportage models looked and felt utilitarian and somewhat agricultural, the new one looks more sophisticated and up market at first glance. In terms of styling, comparing the new model to the old is like comparing chalk and cheese. Compared to its predecessor, the new Sportage is longer and wider but lower.

While chief designer and ex-Audi man Peter Schreyer's influences are evident on models like the Cerato Forte, Forte Koup and Sorento among others, the Sportage is the first Kia model to be styled by the German design guru from the ground up.

Up front, the Sportage can immediately be recognized as a Kia thanks to the ‘Schreyer' radiator grille treatment and the slim, upswept headlamps. The black air inlet on the bumper compliments the grille and together with the Audi-style LED daytime running lights integrated on the headlamp clusters give the Sportage a pretty and somewhat aggressive snout. The steeply raked A-pillars give the Sportage a sporty profile but its thickness badly hinders the front three-quarter view for the driver.

Along the flanks, the relatively high waistline gives the Sportage an aura of chunkiness and robustness. The C-pillar treatment somehow looks like it came from a Toyota model (I reckon the JDM Ractis). The rear is quite obviously inspired by the Volkswagen Tiguan which is not a bad thing really.


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