A vastly improved version of the compact Sportage sport-utility vehicle that appeared in 2005 carries over for the 2008 model year unchanged.

This compact crossover is based on the Hyundai Tucson. Front- and all-wheel-drive models are offered, and the Sportage benefits from its carlike underpinnings, which help contribute to a relatively smooth and well-controlled ride. It rides on MacPherson struts up front, with gas-filled shock absorbers at the rear, stabilizer bars added at both ends, and 16-inch wheels and tires.

Power comes from either a standard 140-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or an available 2.7-liter V-6 that produces 173 horses, either of which can be mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.

The Sportage's long list of standard gear includes dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; and tire pressure monitors.

The base LX model comes with power windows and power mirrors; a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo; and cruise control. The EX version adds a sunroof, leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob; remote keyless entry; and a cargo cover.

The EX can also be outfitted with a Luxury Package, which includes leather seats; heated front seats; automatic headlamps; and an upgraded stereo. 

The LX Sportage can be opted up with a Sport package, which adds on fog lamps, sport gauges, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, and an AM/FM/CD player with six speakers.


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Marty Padgett

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