Kia Sportage beats Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke in test

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Feb 18, 2011

The Kia Sportage beat the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the Nissan Juke in Consumer Reports' latest test, which pitted the three vehicles that "straddle the line between hatchbacks and SUVs" against each other.

What won it for the Sportage are the 60/40-split rear seats, which reveal Kia's crossover actually has a good-sized cargo hold, as well as its steady highway ride. Its brakes and smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission were also complemented. What prevented it from trouncing its competitors, however, are its acceleration, which was described to be "leisurely," its stiff ride and pronounced road noise, and its limited outward visibility which is impaired by the small windows and thick roof pillars.

Based on the larger Outlander, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport--sold as the ASX in the Philippines--is much smaller and thus offers less rear seat and cargo space. It's also not as nimble as its larger sibling while its acceleration is said to be tepid. Its brakes were described as very good, though, while the 60/40-split rear seats create a modest 25 cubic feet of cargo space.

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As for the Nissan Juke, though its agile handling and turbocharged powertrain drew praises, the vehicle's stiff, choppy ride and noisy cabin negated what should have been an enjoyable driving experience, Consumer Reports said. Its styling also not only compromises the Juke's rear visibility, it also limits the rear passenger and cargo space.

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"The melding of more carlike qualities in these vehicles comes with some concessions like passenger room, visibility, and versatility compared with that of other SUVs," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' auto test center. "But the Sportage outmaneuvered the other two competitors because it manages to have greater interior space without losing its fun to drive character."

Now, if only all three vehicles were locally available so we can conduct our own seat-of-our-pants test…

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