The front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2011 Kia Sportage EX represents the flagship of this five-passenger compact crossover lineup. Complementing a sharp new exterior are standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and integrated roof rack, while standard dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable driver’s seat, cooled glovebox, and upgraded cabin accents ensure added comfort. Of course, the Sportage EX also boasts standard cloth upholstery, cruise control, power accessories, a single-CD changer with six speakers, Bluetooth hands-free communications, and a USB connection. Additionally, with the rear seats folded, expect 54.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Meanwhile, options include leather upholstery, additional interior color selections, a power sunroof, heated and cooled driver’s seat, push-button start, universal garage door opener, and voice-activated navigation.
Safety-wise, the 2011 Sportage EX features four-wheel ABS, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and front head restraint whiplash protection, all of which are standard across the lineup. As befits its lofty status, the Sportage EX also carries standard front fog/driving lights, daytime running lights, a remote anti-theft alarm, and turn-signal-integrated mirrors.
The up-powered 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder (I4) engine combines with a new-for-2011 six-speed auto-manual transmission for 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. Variable valve timing keeps mileage at 21/29 mpg, while towing capacity is pegged at 2,000 pounds with the proper equipment.