Definite hesitation leaving the line, as is typical of turbo engines. It really has no punch until about 3,000 rpm, at which point the power comes on nicely. The engine is smooth and relatively quiet, not thrashy in the least. The transmission upshifts at 6,000 rpm in every gear. The Sportage hates power-braking (overlapping throttle and brake at the line to bring the revs up slightly prior to launch). It was about a half-second slower using power-braking. Our quickest run came in manual-shift mode, but we're talking about less than a tenth of a second difference. Manual shifting is via the console lever (pull back for downshifts). It does not hold gears, and it doesn't blip the throttle on downshifts.
Considerable nosedive and a noticeable amount of side-to-side wiggle with every run. The pedal started out pretty firm, got a little less so on later runs, but never completely spongy. What was weird was how little stopping power there was on the first run, and backing this feeling up, it was lengthy at 131 feet. It got a bit better on the second run, and the distance decreased, too. By the fourth stop the Sportage was exhibiting signficant brake pad odor. The first stop was the longest at 131 feet. The second stop was the shortest at 120 feet and the sixth and final stop took 123 feet.
Slalom: If "roly-poly" is a thing and if it in any way applies to a car's handling, the Sportage has it. Exceedingly soft suspension tuning with what feels like near-zero roll stiffness. The steering gives little in the way of feedback, but it has a reasonably quick ratio and turns in nicely. The suspension tuning is so sloppy, and there's so much body roll that it makes it hard to be precise around each cone. Still, time-wise it was a decent enough performance. Skid pad: The stability control system cuts the throttle so much to the point you can keep your right foot planted all the way around the skid pad, at least with the system left fully on. Turning ESC to "off," (it's really not fully off, more of a dynamic mode), gives some control back to the driver, though it still will cut in at times, taking away some throttle and adding brakes. In this mode you can feel that the chassis is responsive to driver inputs, as even small changes in throttle have an immediate effect on the Sportage. This makes it fun to play with the car's understeer/oversteer attitude, even through the huge amounts of body roll.