The 2012 Kia Sportage earns a stellar Total Car Score. This third generation of Kia's compact crossover (launched two years ago) has impressed reviewers with its "near-ideal balance of style and substance" and "refreshing, crisp take on utility."
Higher trim levels have a turbocharged engine to complement what is quite a sporty suspension. However, those stiff springs can't make the ride quality as smooth as some might like. And the lower-powered base engine in cheaper versions is "merely adequate." As is cargo space: 26.1 cubic feet with the rear seats up, 54.6 with them folded down.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) made the Sportage a "Top Safety Pick" last year and nothing has changed on that front in this model year.
For 2012, the Sportage range has a re-tuned suspension and more sound insulation. The LX trim level now gets 17-inch alloy wheels wearing tires developed for low rolling resistance. The top two trims have Kia's voice-activated Uvo infotainment system (developed in conjunction with Microsoft) as standard. Also new for the LX trim is an anti-bacterial, anti-soil and anti-static seating fabric.
The five-seat 2012 Kia Sportage compact crossover SUV comes in Base, EX, LX and SX trims.
Base is front-wheel drive only and propelled by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine developing 176 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is the only transmission for this model. The LX and EX trims have the same 2.4-liter engine, but deploy a six-speed automatic transmission. They also have the option of all-wheel drive.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four endows the range-topping SX with 260 hp and 269 lb-ft. A six-speed auto trans sends that muscle to the front or all four wheels.
The list of standard equipment starts with air conditioning, power windows, six-way adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, satellite radio and USB connection. EX brings the Uvo infotainment system, along with a rear-view camera, premium audio system, automatic headlamps, automatic folding second-row seats and a cooled/illuminated glove box. SX trim has a push-button start, leather upholstery and aluminum scuff plates.
Options include navigation, rear-view camera, telescopic steering wheel adjustment, heated front seats, ventilated driver's seat, panoramic sunroof and heated mirrors.
EPA ratings for the Sportage range from 22 mpg city, 32 highway and 25 combined for a FWD model with the 2.4 and automatic transmission to 20/27/22 for an AWD model with the same engine and transmission. Fuel economy for the turbo models is just a tick below those numbers in both FWD and AWD trim.
When properly equipped, the 2012 Kia Sportage can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Total Car Score is not affiliated with, associated, authorized, or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected to any of the Expert Resources, nor does Total Car Score endorse any of the Expert Resources, or its affiliates.
Click here to see more.