In July 1993, Kia Motors of South Korea decided to release a crossover SUV to boost its sales in the said automobile department—the Sportage. With its unique blend of optional turbocharged features, style, and performance, the Sportage has swept the automobile industry by storm. Although it underwent various changes and challenges in the last 19 years, this Kia crossover SUV is still one of the best vehicles in the industry.
1993-2004: First generation
When the first models of the Sportage were released, they shared many parts with Mazda vehicles because of Kia's alliance with Mazda and Ford. This was the main reason why Europeans received German-built Sportages, while the rest received South Korean versions. Nonetheless, after three years of production, Kia came up with a longer model which was badged as the Sportage Grand. The Grand models had more luggage capacity and were 305 mm longer than the original versions. Also, in 1998, Sportages started to be manufactured with knee airbags making them the world's first vehicles to be equipped with such safety feature. Unfortunately, despite the innovations, this line was discontinued in South Korea and North America in 2002.
2004-2010: Second generation
In 2004, the Sportage was once again put into production, and it was built under the Elantra-based platform of Hyundai. But despite the facelift and V6 engine that could produce as much as 173 horsepower, the second generation Sportage still faced complaints because of its larger size and lack of offroad capabilities. Nevertheless, this generation received favorable safety and reliability reviews from Consumer Reports, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and insurance websites unlike the first generation. It also came in two trims: the LX and EX that is powered by an inline four-cylinder engine and six-cylinder engine respectively.
2010-present: Third generation
The current generation of the Kia Sportage debuted in 2010. It is powered by the same engine that is installed on the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T—the 2.0L CRDi 136 engine that can produce up to 184 horsepower. However, if an automobile enthusiast wants something with a little extra, then he or she can opt for the SX version that comes with an engine that can unleash ast least 260 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The current Sportage model is also available as 4WD and FWD and has an approximate city MPG of 21. What's more, the third generation received the Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.