2011 Kia Sportage SX Turbo Review & Test Drive


The all-new Sportage SX takes the model up a notch with eye-catching exterior styling, a more powerful four-cylinder turbo engine, and unique interior options.  As part of Kia’s design-led transformation, the Sportage has become a strong player within the Kia line-up, offering surprising power and class-leading fuel economy.

The Sportage SX joins the 2011 Optima turbo as Kia’s second vehicle to feature the powerful Theta II 2.0 liter Twin-Scroll Turbo GDI engine and adds unique exterior and interior features and luxury appointments to provide consumers a high-performance and high-value CUV.

In combination with a highly efficient six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels, (all-wheel drive optional), the new Sportage SX features 260hp at 6,000rpm and 269lb.ft. of torque from 1,850-3,000rpm while maintaining class-leading fuel economy of 27mpg on the highway, better than any other turbo-equipped compact CUV on the market today.

In addition to powertrain upgrades, the Sportage SX employs a sport-tuned fully independent suspension with firmer shocks and strut rates for improved handling and dynamic performance over non-SX models.

All Sportage models offer an ideal mix of performance, fuel efficiency and versatility for the compact CUV buyer and with the addition of a more powerful turbo GDI engine, unique interior appointments and improved performance, the Sportage SX makes an already appealing CUV even more fun to drive.

One look at the optional Techno Orange custom paint, custom 18in. wheels and custom interior and we have ‘hot wheels’ like one of my ‘hot wheels’ car.  From any angle you’ll see a look that brings you back to the fun when growing up and playing with you many hot wheels toy cars and trucks-big alloy wheels, bold paint scheme, and bold future design, right now it can be yours in real life.

Up front is the signature Kia grille done up in black with a chrome surround.  Bright cat’s-eye lamp clusters cut into the front to the sides while down below is another ‘bow-tie’ styled air intake for the turbo’s intercooler with a tasty chrome trim piece wrap and foglamps at the side.  The uplifted hood seamlessly enters the steeply raked windshield A-pillars to an arching roof that runs down to the rear hatchback.  A low-profile roof rack keeps in harmony with the flowing lines.  The rear protrudes out down to the rear bumper fitted with two wide oval exhaust tips.  A spoiler mounted on top helps create downforce.  The rear door is scalloped at the bottom and the lamp clusters wrap around the rear to the sides.  A black contrasting strip runs the entire length at the bottom of the Sportage from the front to the rear, even under the wheel-wells to close the gap with the top of the tires giving it a more performance-edge look.  From the side you’ll see a ‘hockey stick’ chrome trim piece around the greenhouse, big, chromed pull-out door handles and body-color sideview mirrors in a low, sleek package.  Nothing on the CUV market comes close to the look of the new Sportage SX.

The custom orange and black look is carried inside the cabin including orange stitching on the leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel, center console and bucket seats coupled with orange accents on the door panels and air vents.  It’s done well with real attention to detail.  The dashboard is divided into two compartments-driver’s cockpit and front-passenger space with a flat center stack featuring black piano veneer trim on the climate control space and a center console featuring dual cupholders, storage bins and a two-tiered storage bin with padded armrest.  The leather-wrapped gearshift is ringed with a chrome ring inside and on the outer side for a luxury touch.  The steering wheel is small, perfect to better control your inputs and features redundant buttons for the cruise control and audio system.  The ‘supervision gauge cluster is easy to see and understand with a trip-computer readout in the middle.  You’ll also notice aluminum door sills at the bottom of each front door.  All buttons, switches and levers are easy to reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.  The rear bench seat is split 60/40 to expand the cargo area and features a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders an exclusive glove box that has a cooling function to keep refreshments cool on hot days.

Standard features inside include dual-zone climate control, with ionized air filtration, power windows/door locks/sideview mirrors, keyless entry with alarm, trip computer, privacy glass, cruise-control, AM-FM-CD-MP3 audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs, power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, front/rear intermittent wipers/washers, grab handles above all passenger doors, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, storage slots at each door bottom, brushed aluminum door handles, thick cut-pile carpeting and front/rear floor mats.  Factory installed options in my test Sportage SX included the techno orange/black color package, navigation with a premium audio system with external amp, and subwoofer, SIRIUS traffic and reaview camera, heated front seats, push button start/stop, auto-dimming reaview mirror with homelink, cargo cover, panoramic dual sunroof, back-up warning sensors, and heated review mirrors.

Standard safety features include dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seats, front active headrests, ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, downhill brake/hill start assist control, rollover protection system, a tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

The all-new 2011 Kia Sportage SX has it all to keep today’s generation happy with a CUV that stands out in a crowd of other CUVs, has plenty of passing and trail-busting power, on road precision handling, versatile cargo hauling capability, the latest in consumer automotive high-technology and safety systems to keep you and your passenger safe in the event of an impact.

The base price for the new SX starts at just $25, 795.00 and my loaded model stickered at $29,795.00, what more could you ask for?





  • Price: Base Sportage $18,295 As-Tested Sportage SX Turbo $29,790
  • Engine: Twin-Scroll Turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 260 horsepower @ 6000 rpm / 269 ft-lbs. torque @ 1850 rpm
  • Suspension: f/r-MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar/multi-links, coil springs, gas-charged shocks, stabilizer bar
  • Brakes: f/r-11.8in. vented discs/dual piston calipers/11.2in. solid discs/single piston calipers.
  • Steering: motor power assisted rack & pinion
  • Turning circle: 34.7ft.
  • Fuel tank: 14.5 gallons
  • Wheelbase: 103.9in.
  • Total length: 175.2in.
  • Total width: 73in.
  • Total height: 64.4in.
  • Track: f/r-63.5/63.6in.
  • Ground clearance: 6.8in.
  • Approach angle: 28.1
  • Departure angle: 28.2
  • Headroom: f/r-39.1/38.5in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.4/37.9in.
  • Passenger volume: 26.1-seats up/54.6cu.ft. seats folded
  • Tires/wheels-235/55R18in./18X7.5in. cast aluminum
  • 0-60 mph: *6.1 seconds (AWD test figure)
  • Towing: 2,000lbs. when properly equipped
  • Curb weight: 3,466lbs. FWD
  • EPA mileage: 22mpg/city, 27mpg/highway