Kias SUV gets minor changes this year, but bigger news is in the works for 2002, when a longer-wheelbase model is expected to arrive in the United States, perhaps with a V-6 engine. Until then, the Sportage continues as a two-door convertible and a four-door wagon.
Kia is based in South Korea and is currently owned by Hyundai, the countrys largest auto manufacturer. Kia now has the same warranty as Hyundai, a change that reflects the new ownership. The whole vehicle is covered for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles and corrosion for five years/100,000 miles. Buyers also receive free roadside assistance the first five years.
The convertible has a hardtop over the front seats and a folding canvas top over the rear seats. The wagon is all hardtop and is 170 inches long, about 14 inches longer than the convertible. Both carry a full-size spare tire on the tailgate, have trucklike body-on-frame construction and sport 7.9 inches of ground clearance to give them full offroad capability.
With 11.5 inches more wheelbase than the two-door convertible, the four-door Sportage has a longer interior that provides more legroom and cargo room. The wagon seats five, and the convertible holds 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-line EX model comes with a standard CD player, and leather seats are optional.
Under the Hood
All models use a 130-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that teams with manual or automatic transmissions. Both body styles come with two-wheel drive or a part-time 4WD system that can be used on slippery surfaces.