I'd loved my old compact/"cute" 1999 Kia Sportage...despite its simplistic interior and "quirks". However, it was time to upgrade, and my 5 speed, 2006 Sportage is great! Its one of the few 4X4 manual transmission SUVs still available, since many companies seem to be opting out in favor of automatic transmissions. Since I really wanted an actual stick-shift...with a clutch (not a "sport-matic" shift) this car was/is the one for me. It's still only a 4 cylinder engine, but it's powerful enough for everyday usage, and it's kind to the environment...and to my wallet (since gasoline costs seem to only get more expensive)! It maneuvers easily, brakes smoothly, and doesn't dent when leaned upon. :)
My favorite features include: the non-optional power windows/locks, cruise control, map-reading lights, AM/FM/CD radio, door lights, flip-open rear window, reclining rear passenger seats, and feeling secure in a really safe and comfortable ride (without spending a huge amount of cash to attain it).
Suggested improvements would be to actually make this manual transmission model available in a 6 cylinder engine, with a combination CD/cassette radio, and also to make the anti-theft device available (with the keyless entry) in this model. Finally, crossbars should also be included on the roof rack.
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