Anyone who's been paying attention to cars long enough probably remembers when Kia first started to take a foothold in North America. It was around the mid-1990s and the commercials all painted the company as a plucky, scrappy alternative to the Big 3 or any of the most popular Japanese manufacturers.
To drive a Kia, these ads implied, was to be a motorist who embraced practicality. You saved money, you used less gas, you didn't need to go in for constant maintenance. You may be driving around in a car that looks like it was designed by a 10 year old, but hey at least you weren't breaking the bank on your monthly note and expenses.
But then something changed.
Over the last five or six years Kia and its designers and engineers have evolved, finding ways to retain that history of efficient and affordable cars while also styling them in a way that exudes confidence and maturity. This evolution is seen particularly well in the Kia Sportage.
Here is a sport utility vehicle that was once the equivalent of a pregnant bubble on wheels. It was cartoonish, at best, in its design. But now look at it. Like the pimple-faced, bean-pole high school kid that joined a gym and came back from college transformed, so too is the Kia Sportage as it has evolved from its awkward beginnings to something that can traverse the roads and highways of America with pride in its appearance.
That refinement and evolution is evident beyond its aesthetics as well. This is by far the most advanced and powerful version of the Kia Sportage to ever hit the market, evidenced by the implementation of its state-of-the-art Dynamax four-wheel drive system, which is able to route 99 percent of all available power to the front wheels for a level of control and driving that has never before been experienced in a Kia.