ABS available, standard from 2005. ESC, side and head protection air bags standard from 2005.
While the previous-generation Sportage was an also-ran, this fourth-generation redesign jumps almost to the top of the small SUV class. Distinctions like the rakish roofline and spry demeanor remain, but improvements include more civilized road manners, a roomier interior, improved crash-worthiness, and better visibility.
Although the Sportage shares its platform with the highly rated Hyundai Tucson, these two corporate cousins don’t share powertrains. That's a mixed blessing; we weren't jazzed by either Hyundai drivetrain, as they either felt underpowered or suffered from an unrefined transmission. However, they offered good fuel economy, delivering up to 26 mpg overall in our tests, on par with the best in class.