Nimble, roomy, well built, great in snow
January 16, 2019
I've had the car for three months now and have had the opportunity to drive it in one snow storm where it performed amazingly well. When you lock the AWD the traction is amazing. Other crossovers don't have that feature, or the hill descent feature the Sportage has. I crawled under the car to install a trailer hitch and was impressed by how beefy the suspension and driveline was built. The Sportage seems to lean toward the SUV, rather than car, end of the spectrum. Drives well for an SUV-type vehicle with level cornering and a reasonably smooth ride (for an SUV). Fast acceleration and a small turning radius make it a great choice for city driving. Roomier on the inside than it looks from the outside, and the seats are comfortable, ergonomics good. The 6 speed transmission works well but hesitates to downshift on hills when in eco mode. Forward visibility is very good, side visibility good, rearward visibility only fair. With some cars in this class (Rav-4 for example) its hard to park because you can't see the white lines between spaces, and easy to hit curbs and scratch the wheels. Not a problem with the Sportage. As far as styling, that's a matter of personal taste, but I like that fact that it doesn't look like every other crossover out there. The engine has adequate power, runs smoothly and is well matched to the transmission. I also like the manual override feature on the transmission, handy when towing or climbing long steep hills. Build quality is very good with no noticeable squeaks or rattles (mine was made in Korea).
Only negatives would be gas mileage (I get only about 21 MPG in mixed driving- other vehicles in the class do a lot better (CR-V for example). That and the lack of a backup camera in the LX model- given the poor rearward visibility all Sportages should have backup cams. And, the engine is a little noisy when accelerating, with a pronounced clatter from the direct injection.