The interior is attractive, and the layout is uncluttered. Controls are easy to see and reach. There were some quirks, though, as the spot where you plug in the key fob for pushbutton start is in the center console storage area and the iPod jack is just below the center stack. If those two features were swapped, you could leave the iPod in the vehicle, out of sight, and you wouldn't have to open the armrest/storage area twice every time you drive (storing and removing the key fob).

As is often the case with Kias, there is a lot of value in this vehicle, and a lot of equipment comes standard, including cruise control, power door locks, driver-side one-touch down windows (one-touch up available), tilt wheel (telescoping available), aux/USB jack, Bluetooth, and steering wheel stereo controls. So are numerous safety features, including six airbags (including side curtains), four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, stability control with defeat switch, traction control, brake assist, downhill brake control, hill-start assist, and tire-pressure monitoring. Panoramic sunroof, navigation, rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, handsfree UVO system, cooled glove box, and pushbutton start are optional. The new UVO system allows the driver to use voice commands to control iPod, phone, and, if the driver has the right type of phone, safely receive and respond to text messages. But the UVO system won't be available for the first six months or so, and at that point buyers will have to choose navigation or UVO; they won't be able to get both until probably the 2012 model year.

The Sportage is now much more in line with the rest of the huge crossover market, and has the cool styling to make it stand out. Official pricing has not yet been announced, but you can expect it to be fairly close to the outgoing Sportage's MSRP.

2011 Kia Sportage
Base price $17,000-$19,000 (MT est)
Vehicle layout Front engine, FWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engines 2.4L/170-176-hp/163-168-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic
Curb weight 3200-3500 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 103.9 in
Length x width x height 174.8 x 73.0 x 64.4 in
0-60 mph 8.3 sec (MT est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 21-22/28-31 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.75-0.82 lb/mile
On sale in the U.S. July 2010