Chances are we won’t get the manual transmission that’s equipped on the model being shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and everything under the hood will probably stay familiar to U.S. buyers — a 2.4-liter four-cylinder as standard for base models, with the higher-end SX serving up the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s available on the current Sportage.
Kia Sportage is what you’d expect in a new Kia Sportage. Long gone are the cheap materials and tin-can construction the Kia was once infamous for. With each passing generation, its cars just get that much better. From a build quality and fit-and-finish perspective, Kia’s up there along the rest now, it’s no longer the cheap outlier it was.
However, it’s coming into a market rife with hardy competition. Volkswagen finally got around to addressing its Tiguan crossover, which is new from the ground up. Honda’s CR-V, Toyota’s RAV4, and the Ford Escape are all selling in volume as well, and Kia will also have to contend with Hyundai’s new Tucson — essentially the same car underneath, but at the same time fighting for consumer dollars. Fortunately, the Sportage now has the character to set it apart.