Driving the 2014 KIA Sportage, I knew right away where from it gets its name. If I did not know I was driving a four-door SUV I could have imagined I was in a nimble sports car. The feel of the road, the responsive handling and the dash loaded with lights, bells and whistles made me reminisce about the days of kid-lessness, when I cruised carefree in my old convertible. And maybe as a 40-somethingmom I should not care about a kick-butt stereo, but this ride had an amazing audio system with great bass, and Sirius and a plug in an iPhone/MP3 to boot.
The lively acceleration of the 2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) I4 engine and quick turning action was handy pulling out of parallel parking spots on busy LA streets, and the beeping three-tier back up warning system utilizing a rear mounted camera – with a green-, yellow- and red-zone visual grid to alert you to objects behind you, was very helpful for those same parallel parking challenges in reverse. Maybe it’s trivial to note, but I loved the large, easy-to-find-in-the-dark ceiling map light, which is super nice and bright so you can see and find things like a crying baby’s dropped binky, toll money or an elusive garage pass card.
The interior was not top-grain kid leather, but that’s not a bad thing, as it was soft and pliable enough for comfort without being too delicate for installing children’s car seats or enduring the kind of constant in-and-out of the seat action most mommobiles-slash-kid-limos get. My complaints about the KIA Sportage were small. The headrest could have used a few more adjustment options, though it was sufficiently comfortable, and the interior was more hard plastic than padded leather or pleather than some more luxurious SUVs – but then again, it wipes clean easier that those coverings. For the money – starting at $21,600 and $29,000 loaded with tech features like voice-activated navigation, streaming audio entertainment system, HID headlights and LED rear lighting options, this was a solid choice for a family car that also was thoroughly enjoyable to drive and ride in.