Kia Sportage
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Kia
Overall: Kia’s compact tall wagon possesses a cleanly executed design that copies from no other class competitor; an all-new Sportage is scheduled for a 2017-model-year release.

Drivetrain: Base 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivers 182 horsepower; optional turbocharged four-cylinder is worth 260 horsepower; available four-wheel-drive system can lock up the front and rear axles for improved rough- or off-road agility.

The Sportage excels in a neighborhood of tough competitors, led by the ever-popular Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. Credit its good looks and gutsy turbo engine option for maintaining a steady following. The perceptibly quiet cabin is also certainly appreciated by its passengers. For drivers, a selector varies the stiffness and “feel” of the steering depending on the level of feedback desired. The base powerplant is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that creates 182 peak horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The optional turbocharged four-cylinder has an output of 260 horsepower 269 pound-feet. Regardless of engine, a six-speed automatic is the only transmission. The Sportage is a front-driver by nature, while the optional all-wheel-drive system, which is available for both engines, directs 100 percent of engine torque to the front wheels until tire slip is detected. At that point, the required power is instantly deployed to the rear wheels. Additionally, a manually selected “Lock Mode” allows for a fixed 50:50 front:rear torque split at speeds up to 25 mph for those times when sustained maximum traction is required. Of the four trim levels, the top-line SX has unique body pieces and wheels and more supportive seats. An upgraded Infinity-brand audio system, panorama roof and push-button start are all optional, as are heated and cooled front seats (offered when the leather seat-cover option is specified).

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