Absolutely fun to drive! Solid handling, quiet, and decent performance. We traded in a '97 Sportage EX for a new '05. We never had any problems with the '97 after 8 years and 60k miles and it wasn't half the car of the '05 Sportage. We looked at a Rav4 to replace the '97 but decided to take a look at the new Sportage just to see what it was like. I would have shelled out the cash for a Rav4 but after driving the '05 Sportage, I was sold. The features and accessories are better than the Rav and for a price that's impossible to beat. The Rav4 is a great car but I felt like I would have been throwing money away to buy one. Look past the Kia logo and do your homework. I think you'll be sold too.
Kia really put some thought into this car and brought it up to date and in line with the better selling automobiles (at least up to now) in its class. My favorite features are all of the things the old Kia didn't have. Easier access to the cargo area, 60/40 fold down seats and on and on and on . . .
Automatic temperature controls (shown in the owner's manual but not offered as an option). Maybe an option for a higher performance V6 to shut up some of the critics who complain that the current V6 isn't powerful enough.