Dear Kia, Please Stop Making Me Sound Biased

Posted by: Matt Iasenzaniro onNovember 22nd, 2015


It seems like I leave every auto show thinking that the Koreans are killing it. For a while I thought it was just Kia and Hyundai exceeding expectations, but it’s been happening for so long that expectations are higher than ever. They just won’t quit being the underdog in my mind, and maybe that’s what they’re going for.

I sat down at Kia’s booth knowing that I didn’t give two shits about the CUV segment. I’ll never buy one and I automatically assume they’re driven by people who bought their driver’s license from a cousin who knows a guy. That didn’t stop me from smiling when the new Sportage was revealed, and spending more time than was strictly necessary inside it. Yet again, I left feeling like Kia just needs to release a RWD coupe (Kinda like the GT4 Stinger concept from a couple years ago) and they’ll be poised to have the ear of everybody under 35.

The new Sportage has a new look compared to the outgoing model but is instantly recognizable as it follows Kia’s current design language quite closely. The top trim enjoys luxurious bits like LED fog and taillights, as well as HID headlights and 19″ wheels. None of which are things you see often in the segment. The interior is packed with leather, soft-touch materials and/or piano finish bits which all give it the feeling of a more expensive vehicle.

Kia made a special point of ensuring this new model was as capable as possible. Body rigidity is up dramatically, and is now best in class, coefficient of drag is down, improving both the on and off road performance. If you plan on keeping the Sportage on the warm streets of not-Canada then there’s a FWD version and 2.4L NA engine for you. The rest of us would likely opt for the 2.0L turbo and AWD with locking center differential and steeper approach angle for attempting to get up our driveways after the City of Calgary plows have “cleaned” our streets.

Along with a host of fancy safety tech like collision avoidance and lane departure warnings, the Sportage can also be added to the small but growing list of vehicles compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Listen, I know it’s probably annoying listening to me gush about Kia two or three times a year, but you owe it to yourself to at least consider them for your next non-sporty vehicle. Then when you end up liking it, you’ve got documentation to go back and spout to your idiot friends driving their CRVs and X-Terras.

When he’s not busy writing about cars or travelling the auto show circuit, he’s reviewing apps and video games related to the automotive world. In his spare time, Matt is a motorcycle enthusiast, trying not to kill himself riding along with the crazy local drivers. He is also a weekly contributor in the Motor Mondays segment on News Talk 770.

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