This Korean-made, pint-size sport utility vehicle comes in two-door convertible and four-door wagon body styles. Kia boasts that, unlike most small sport utes, the Sportage is designed for rugged off-road service. The company backs up this claim by pointing to the body-on-frame construction and 7.9 inches of ground clearance.
With 11.5 inches more wheelbase than the convertible, the four-door Sportage has a longer interior that provides more leg and cargo room. The wagon seats five; the convertible four. In addition to federally required front airbags designed to protect the head and upper body, a driver-side knee airbag is standard. Power door locks, windows and mirrors are standard on all models. The top-of-the-line EX model comes with a standard CD player, with leather seats optional.
The convertible has a hardtop over the front seats and a folding canvas top over the rear seats, an arrangement akin to the Toyota RAV4's. The wagon is all hardtop and about 14 inches longer. Both mount a full-size spare tire on the tailgate.
Under the Hood
All models use a 130-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that teams with manual or automatic transmissions. Both body styles come with 2WD or a part-time 4WD system that can be used on slippery surfaces.