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Jul 15, 2011
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Few other car companies can brag of humbler beginnings than Kia.[firstpara] It used to be that the Korean car maker was the bumper of all jokes, no small thanks to the maligned Kia Pride.

But that was then, and the carmaker has indeed moved on to bigger things.

How big? We suggest taking a look at the all-new Kia Sportage.

The Sportage is a compact SUV by definition, but the vehicle has that physical presence, a measure of significance that announces “oh, don’t you ignore me.”

The lines along the doors, the jet black fenders, the sharp hood contours, and the car’s “Tiger” face results in a car that doesn’t fail to make a statement on the road.

It looks striking and bold, which just goes to tell you just how far Kia has come. Compared to the previous Sportage, this one is longer, lower, wider, and boasts a commanding driving position, easily giving it a sportier, more dynamic presence, even in the parking lot.

No wonder the car has won two world-acclaimed awards for its aggressive, fresh design: the 2011 Red Dot Design Award and the iF Product Design Award 2011.

Kia’s efforts to redefine the brand (with the 2009 Soul being a highlight) go beyond mere physical design flair. The Sportage promises a thrilling driving experience to fit its looks. Because what use is it to give a car a “tiger” face if its performance can’t be likened to anything but a kitten’s purr, right? Fortunately, the car roars just loud enough to win us over.

The Sportage boasts a 2.0-litre Theta II gasoline engine equipped with upgraded electronics and low friction components that produces maximum power of 166 horsepower, and a DOHC four-cylinder power unit with Dual CVVT technology for efficient and powerful performance. That’s more than enough vigor for a brisk, exciting ride.

The car is available in 2WD and AWD configurations with six-speed automatic transmission. The AWD version is notable for its Dynamax technology which constantly checks driving conditions and anticipates AWD system requirements. Kia says it’s more advanced compared with most other AWD systems which only react to conditions after they happen. Potholes, be damned!

Other key features include ventilated front discs, solid rear discs and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) for stellar braking power, a back-warning sensor, escort headlamps and LED Daytime Running Lights.

All that said, the Kia Sportage packs a mean wallop. Combining manly presence and solid power, it’s a compact SUV that’s rightfully confident, and thrilling to ride in the city because of the fact that it will turn heads along the highway, but in offroad situations as well.

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WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES
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