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2005 Kia Sportage First Drive

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Big Value in a Small Package

2005 Kia Sportage
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Kia Sportage -- 2005 First Drive: defines a bargain as "something offered or acquired at a price advantageous to the buyer." And it's a word we Americans love, as is well documented by the number of superstores dotting the landscape and our affinity for "supersizing" it. Lots more food for just a few additional pennies? You bet! And no worries about that expanding waistline - the gym down the street offers a membership for only $19.00 per month, and a whole new wardrobe can be bought at Wal-Mart for less than it costs to fill up your gas tank.

But what makes us really smile are the big-ticket bargains, and one of the best examples is the 2005 Kia Sportage. When Kia first stepped onto the North American stage more than ten years ago, it was a company that offered only two, poorly built vehicles, one of which was the Sportage SUV. However, over the years Kia added more models to its lineup, joined forces with fellow Korean automaker Hyundai, and implemented an outstanding 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty program for all of its cars and SUVs. Kia has come a long way, and nowhere is the company's improvement better exemplified than in the 2005 Sportage.


Kia offers the Korean-built Sportage in three main trim levels: LX, LX-V6, and EX. The least expensive model is the LX with front-wheel drive, which includes a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. The base price for the LX is $16,490, including a $590 destination charge. Power door locks, windows, and mirrors; a six-speaker sound system with a CD player; a tilt steering wheel; a flat-folding front passenger seat; and a reclining 60/40 folding rear seat come standard. Also included are roof rails, rear privacy glass, 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat, and a front skid plate. Air conditioning is an $800 option on LX models with front-wheel drive and the five-speed manual, and is standard equipment for all other models. Also optional is a Sportmatic four-speed, manually interactive, automatic transmission for $1,600. Four-wheel drive is available for $2,000 and includes the automatic transmission. Other options include carpeted floor mats ($75), a cargo tray ($75), a rear spoiler ($150), and a trailer hitch ($340).

Next up is the LX-V6, priced at $19,090, which includes manual air conditioning and the Sportmatic automatic transmission. The LX V6 also adds a 2.7-liter six-cylinder engine, cruise control, 235/60 B.F. Goodrich Traction T/A tires, and a metallic finish to the center of the instrument panel. Four-wheel drive capability can be added for $1,200; otherwise, LX-V6 options mirror those on the LX.

Topping the list of Kia Sportage models is the EX V6, which comes with a power sunroof, heated and color-keyed side mirrors, foglights, and body-color fender flares and body side moldings. Also standard are an MP3 player, keyless entry, an anti-theft alarm, a trip computer, a cargo cover and cargo net, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The front-wheel drive 2005 Kia Sportage EX V6 is priced at $20,589; the four-wheel-drive system requires a $1,400 premium. Also offered is the EX Luxury Package, which for $1,300 provides leather upholstery, heated front seats, a six-disc CD changer, a subwoofer, a Homelink universal garage door opener, and body-color bumpers.What's more impressive is the long list of standard safety features. In an effort to make the 2005 Kia Sportage safe for all passengers, each model comes complete with front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, a stability control system, and a traction control system. That's a lot of security for a starting price of less than $17,000.

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