2011 KIA SPORTAGE
Kia is furiously remaking its lineup, and the redesigned 2011 Sportage small crossover represents another salvo directed at the likes of Honda, Toyota and Ford. Featuring all-new styling, the Sportage also has a new range of four-cylinders, including a turbocharged engine. It will be offered in base LX and upscale EX trim levels.
Base LX models have standard 16-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, body-colored door handles and supplementary turn signals incorporated into the side mirrors. Seventeen-inch rims are optional on the LX. The EX is fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels and adds body-colored heated side mirrors, roof rails and chrome trim that includes a chrome-bordered grille.
The Sportage has room for five people on front bucket seats and a 60/40-split folding backseat. Standard features include cloth seat upholstery, air conditioning, CD stereo with auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth, tilt steering wheel and height-adjustable front seats. EX models gain a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a telescoping feature for the steering wheel, keyless entry, dual-zone air conditioning, a cooled glove box and a power driver’s seat. The EX also comes with UVO, Kia’s entertainment and communication system that’s similar to Ford’s Sync. Available EX features include leather-trimmed upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, push-button start, rear parking sensors and a panoramic sunroof.
The Sportage’s base engine is a 176-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Later in the 2011 model year, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with direct injection will be available. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with a clutchless-manual mode.
Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available. The all-wheel-drive system sends all of the engine’s available torque to the front wheels unless they begin to slip, but the system also includes a lock feature that splits torque between the front and rear wheels up to 25 mph. It’s designed for use in especially poor weather or on slippery roads. Also standard are Hill Start Assist Control, which can hold the Sportage when starting out on an uphill grade, and Downhill Brake Control, which automatically limits vehicle speed during steep descents.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for both rows and active front head restraints. A backup camera is optional.
2011 PORSCHE CAYENNE S HYBRID
Porsche are looking for ways to improve fuel economy. Enter the 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, which shares its mechanical underpinnings with the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid.
That means a 333-horsepower supercharged V-6 from the Audi S4 and a 47-horsepower electric motor can be found underhood, paired by a decoupling clutch to allow each to run independently. Combined, the two power sources make a solid 380 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque and run through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Porsche’s infotainment display monitors power usage and alerts the driver as to which mode the Cayenne is running in — combined gas/electric, or one of those two alone.
The Cayenne S Hybrid features a ‘hybrid controller’ system that coordinates the two drive units through the center clutch, enabling the SUV to be driven up to nearly 40 mph on electric power alone.