1 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The third generation of Kia's small SUV reflects the company's new energy with its modern design language. Kia said it is differentiating itself from other brands with technology, both in the cabin and power train.
2 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The grille, with its up and down tabs, is an element of Kia's new design language, and will show up on all models. We like the band-style headlight casings sitting between hood and fender. Note the LED parking lights in the headlight casings, an upscale element in an inexpensive car.
3 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Kia has also used these wheels on the Forte and Koup. Glossy black paint covers the insides of the spokes, and the geometrical cut-outs create a singular identity.
4 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The high beltline and thick rear pillar are elements becoming common in small SUVs, so Kia isn't breaking new ground here. Aggressive styling is supposed to appeal to male buyers in their 20s to early 30s.
5 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Smoothly contoured sides are another element of Kia's new design language. The Sportage uses an independent suspension with stabilizer bars front and rear, giving it a comfortable ride and decent handling.
6 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
As a small SUV, the Sportage has ample cargo room. Split fold-down rear seats provide further cargo flexibility.
7 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
This top trim model has leather seats. The driver seat gets heating and cooling, and six-way power adjustment.
8 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
We like the look of the cabin, but not the feel, as hard plastics line the top of the dashboard and interior door panels. Kia used soft materials in high-touch areas, which gives the car a better look.
9 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Phone controls on the lower spokes of the steering wheel include a voice command button. Voice command lets you call a person from a paired phone's contact list just by saying the person's name.
10 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
All-wheel-drive controls include descent control and a diff lock, which sets torque at a 50/50 ratio between front and back wheels.
11 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
This flash-based navigation system is very responsive and includes traffic through Sirius. But the maps are only 2D.
12 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The Sirius Satellite Radio interface in the car, like the other onscreen interfaces, uses an attractive and practical design, with big buttons that are easy to find while driving.
13 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
iPod connectivity is standard. With the navigation option present, the music library is easily browsed on the touch screen.
14 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
UVO is a new, Microsoft-powered music and phone system that will become available as an option after the Sportage hits showrooms. It includes 1GB of onboard music storage, and lets you use voice commands to choose music from MP3 players.