I waited for about a month to pass so I can review it better. We tried Ford Escape, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru CrossTrek - and finally given Sportage a shot since they updated their MPG ratings. (FYI, Kia has been sued and EPA made them update their MPG on the stickers.)
Styling is great; it's designed by Peter Schreyer, brains behind Audi fame. I owned Audi and I find lot of cosmetic similarities. Performance is acceptable, does well in corners. No interior noise, like in some other 20K cars. I'm getting average 26MPG, with mindful driving. Only thing that peeves me so far is the interior seats are SPARTAN!!l i hate bucket seats period, but these are very firm and uncomfortable.
exterior styling, driving dynamics, MPG is ok (regular gas), form factor (small when you need to park, but has plenty of space in the back if you need it)
Please please please update the interior seats!!! I'm seriously considering replacing these. We just spent 600miles driving and I was literally in pain in the shoulder area. and no, this was never the case in my MDX.
I have my Sportage 2013 for almost six months now, and still enjoy driving it.
Downside in my opinion is the slightly hard ride, making road bumps quite obvious - but this is a tradeoff for good cornering performance.
Good gas mileage, comfortable seats, (compared to the more expensive Ford Escape!), and good storage space for a short little SUV.
Easy to hand-wash, with fair paintwork.
Doors open wide for ease of access.
One major 'downer' in buying a Kia in Southwestern Ontario is the pathetic dealership attitudes.
In the Windsor area, the salesperson couldn't answer even the most basic of questions, and in the Oakville area (where I eventually bought my Kia), the salesperson just avoided the truth in answering some questions - with a result I felt cheated when reviewing my buying experience.
Also, I received not one single communication after I drove off the car lot.
Kia need to address this dealership attitude quickly, or they will lose repeat customers like me.
Now I await the first oil-change/service experience.