There is no substitute for weekend drives except for lounging around in a big bad SUV and asking for your way of the road. Well the SUV that I have got today with me doesn’t have too much of road presence and would also be one amongst the quirkiest SUV designs. Unfortunately its not the Porsche Cayenne however it’s the 2011 Kia Sportage SX SUV that I am referring to. The Kia Sportage SX was always considered to be one quirky SUV and the 2011 model takes it to the next level. Since it’s a weekend, I have the vehicle with me for a review for two days. To head to the mountains or not would only be decided once I get acclimatized to this car and its relative controls. I guess I would be late for my trip wherever it takes me to. So without any further ado, I am going to rip apart the 2011 Kia Sportage SX for all what its worth.
The 2011 Kia Sportage SX is at the best quirky however it is to be expected from Kia. However not long ago, I remember us calling the Kia Optima one of the better looking sedans in North America. Those head lamps which are slightly blacked out at the edges make for a wonderful apparition. The grille of this car echoes the Kia family grille. The fog lamps find their prominent placement just below the head lamps. The 17 inch sporty and equally quirky alloy wheel design brings into picture somewhat sort of semblance however the Cadillac like rear sloping roof line makes the internal greenhouse look a bit cramped. The wing mirrors have the turn indicators embedded into them. The rear windscreen glass also is very small and the single wiper employed to do the wiping duties is more than enough for this one. The twin tail pipes however are chunky and make this SUV look very sporty.
The interiors of this SUV are highly functional but then a bit boring. However turn on the ignition and the meter dials light up showing a central ovoid dial with a smaller one to its left and the right portion left as it is. The central one displays the speed whereas the red pod inside it resembles that of a fire arc. It is a multi information display which brings up the distance to empty, fuel efficiency and other features. The one to the left shows the tachometer. The 3 spoked steering wheel tries to mimic the one in the Kia Optima and has all the essential controls on it. The aircon vents however look and feel a bit dated with their wide apertures. The climate control system as also the central navigation system display is not so big but then it is crisp. The driver’s seat is height adjustable but then pretends to be too sporty which it actually isn’t. On a long stretch, I was fidgeting to find a comfortable position. However there are no such complaints when I was being driven around. The 60:40 rear split seats add to the convenience of loading the flat loading floor of the 2011 Kia Sportage SX. Estimates put it at 25 cubic feet overall however those may be more and I cannot say for sure on this since there was no Kia spokesperson around, whom I could actually ask the tech specifications of the boot.
Handling and ride quality
Well, this Kia is tuned to be sporty. The ride quality can be strictly called as firm in this context however the well laid out roads of Arizona didn’t reveal any major ride quality issues. However those living in areas with cobbled roads would definitely find the 2011 Kia Sportage SX’s ride quality harsh. The sound damping was to my liking with little or no sound filtering through inside the cabin. The handling however benefits from the stiff chassis as there is virtually no body roll to speak about. The steering wheel however plays the dampener as its electrical tuning leaves a lot to be desired in the feels department. However after half and hour, I was accustomed to it and didn’t find anything amiss later on. Maybe, once you get used to it, you forget its perils. Moreover, the 4×4 configuration of the powertrain enables this small crossover to keep the things going smoothly. Since its an on-demand thing, the vehicle runs in two wheel drive mode most of the times. Moreover, this car lacks any true off-roading capability but most of the everyday requirements are taken care off with aplomb including the occasional trip to the village.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The engine is the one major change in the 2011 Kia Sportage SX. The 2.0 liter engine now gets a twin-scroll turbocharger which allows the engine to make 260 horse power whereas the torque figure reads as 269 pound feet. The transmission is a 6 speed steptronic one and it does its duties well. This SUV moves from 0-60 mph in only 7.3 seconds whereas the top speed achieved is in excess of 120 mph. The best part is that the entire combination of the power train works real smooth and making rapid progress isn’t a problem in this SUV. The all disc setup is perfectly calibrated and the ABS and ESP kick in smoothly as well. Stopping power is ample with some left in reserve for the panic stop situations. Brake fade however was noticed after repeated high speed run ins. Safety is being taken care of by 8 air bags, parking sensors, collapsible steering column and side impact beams. Infact the IIHS gave it an “Acceptable” rating while the US government accorded it 4 star rating.
Fuel efficiency for the 4 wheel drive model stands at 21 mpg in city and 26 mpg on the highway. This is quite true for the time since I started driving the vehicle, the digital display tells me that the fuel efficiency stands at 23.2 mpg. My driving was a mix of both the highway and city roads.
2011 Kia Sportage SX Photo Gallery
The 2011 Kia Sportage SX is one such vehicle which was built with the intention of satisfying the purists however ends up being a family vehicle. It has ample space for 5 plus their weekend luggage and may be will even assist them in shifting homes. It is also feature laden and quite fuel efficient considering that it has got a 4 wheel drive mode working for it. Now comes the pricing part. The 2011 Kia Sportage SX price is $27,238. It’s a steep price but you get driving thrills to the maximum. As for me, I am content with taking my Nissan Murano to the hills and return the Kia back to the Kia show room.