Review Journal: 2011 Kia Sportage EX AWD Day 1 of 7


It’s no secret that I used to sell cars. Many of you have e-mailed me for buying advice. And anyone who has usually asked me about Kia products usually got the same answer: “They’re not my favorite. I used to sell them new, and I’m not a fan of the way the look, feel, smell, drive and behave (except for the Soul).” The smell part may sound weird, but Kias and Hyundais always had a weird smell in the interior after, about, 15-20,000 miles driven. And it wasn’t just one, it was every one that we ever took in on trade.

So I used to sell Mazdas and Kias brand new, and just about every other car you can think about used. So this isn’t a new thing for me.

But Kia has sent me a brand new, fully-loaded 2011 Sportage EX with all-wheel drive. Good thing, because we just got about 8 inches of snow here where I live in North Carolina. Now if I’m honest, I wouldn’t normally want to test this sort of vehicle for RawAutos; but this time around I thought, “I used to sell these cars just 3-4 years ago. I thought they were awful then, but they look better now… I wonder what I’d think…” So I jumped at the opportunity when it was thrown my way. Because this is an unusual test drive for me, this will be an unusual review, too. I’m going to chronicle each day, from 1 to 7, that I have the car, and report to you what I think about it.

So this is Review Journal: Day 1 of 7.

The car arrived a little after 1 o’clock to my house Wednesday, December 29th. The car is a fully loaded EX model painted in Signal Red, the same color as on the commercials and advertisements you see all the time on t.v. and the Internet. The standard features on the Sportage EX include: 6-spd auto, all-wheel drive with a locking center differential, airbags aplenty, hill descent/hill hold brake, iPod/MP3 connectivity, bluetooth, steering wheel controls, and the usual other stuff.

As for the options, the car comes packed full of goodies, what with leather seats, heated and cooled driver seat with heated passenger, heated outside mirrors, panoramic roof panels, push button start, rear park distance control, premium sound and satellite navigation with rear-view backup camera and Sirius satellite radio.

So now you’re wondering when Kia is going to beat you over the head and steal your wallet, right? Wrong. The as-tested price of this Sportage is only $29,990. Which is rather impressive when you think of what you get. Other cars in its class don’t offer nearly the same amount of kit that can be optioned in this car.

But, with only 1 day of driving in the books, it’s time to stop writing and take this one in a longer, 6-more days ahead, style stride.