Kia Motors Philippines (through its official distributor Columbian Autocar Corporation) recently launched the all-new Kia Sportage at the Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

The 2006 Sportage is based on the Hyundai Elantra/Hyundai Tucson chassis platform and offers two engine choices a two-liter double overhead camshaft (DOHC) (with 140hp and 136 lbs ft of torque) inline four-cylinder engine or a soon-to-be-introduced 2.7 liter V6 petrol engine. Both variants tote Kia's Continuous Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) for a broad power and torque range, and both are mated to a four speed automatic transmission with manual control (billed as Shiftronic).

Major safety features include a total of six airbags, consisting of driver and passenger side airbags plus side and curtain airbags, along with seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters. Primary safety systems include an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with four-wheel disc brakes, traction control and an electronic stability program. Standard storage features include roof rails, a side cargo net, a center fascia (with a 12-volt accessory socket) and a pop-up center console.

Kia's compact SUV was recently hailed as one of the "Ten Coolest New Cars" under a specific pricing category by the Kelley Blue Book's (the USA's number one automobile appraisal reference) editorial team. The listing was based on price, design, style and performance, as well as extensive research of each vehicle and test drives done last April. According to Kelley Blue Book's, "When buying your first SUV, bang-for-the-buck is a very cool thing to find."

Kia Motors Philippines, in a statement to the press, claimed that the new Sportage model is the epitome of Kia's power to surprise, with its other models (such as the Sedona multi-purpose vehicle, the Opirus executive car,the rio compact car and the Picanto subcompact car) making waves in customer satisfaction, safety and power-for-your-peso fun. The company, according to a press release sent to BUSINESS MIRROR, is deeply committed to making driving a pure pleasure through "exciting and enabling" new technologies. The press release also said that Kia upholds an uncompromising stand on safety, hence the numerous primary and secondary safety systems in the Sportage.

The Kia Sportage 2.0L is priced at P969,000 and comes in seven colors clear white, satin silver, volcanic red, cherry black, natural olive, greenish gold and smart blue.