2011 Kia Sportage

2011 Kia Sportage

2011 Kia Sportage

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Most of us have gotten very used to the SUV concept in recent years. After all, the SUV/Crossover has seen an impressive run. They are perfect vehicles to haul small kids, family and small loads, all the while delivering decent mileage for a utilitarian vessel.

This past week, Tyler and the surrounding areas were decimated with unusually large ice rocks falling from the sky.They surely would have killed Chicken Little. What a lot of you might not know is there are not big bucks in radio or journalism in mid level markets. Therefore, I also have owned and operated my own roofing company for over ten years. When the storm hit Sunday night I knew I was going to be busy again for the next six months. Long days at the station, and longer nights and weekends going up and down damaged roofs all over East Texas are awaiting me.

Enter the 2011 Kia Sportage, a mostly great little Crossover with enough storage for my twelve foot ladder, various brief cases, tape measures, and endless amount’s of pens and pencils. The basic “storm survival kit”. The funny thing is, this all fit perfectly in the Sportage. The navigation system makes finding my destination a breeze and the absolutely vast amount of features are mind numbing for a Kia. As I’m writing this I can tell you I especially enjoyed the heated seats as we saw or first frost in East Texas. Goodbye to another hot Texas summer.

The ride of the Sportage may be a little stiff for some and the steering seemed odd to me. But, for a people mover, it drove great. Cars have come so far in the last few years. Almost any choice you make is a safe one, yes, even a Kia.

The new Sportage is about $1,600.00 more than last year’s model. With that little nudge in price it places the Kia Sportage directly in the thirty-grand range. That’s a bit too steep in my opinion. What the Kia shows however is that if the creature comforts are astounding then the rest of the vehicle can be average. That’s actually okay with me. If I’m driving around town taking my son to various practices or looking at storm damage I am far more likely to enjoy myself with an abundance of creature comforts.

The mileage is also nothing but impressive for a Crossover. The Kia Sportage gets about 30MPG highway and 26MPG city. All I know is you can see a lot of hail ridden roofs on a tank of gas.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata

2011Hyundai Sonata

2011Hyundai Sonata

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What’s more surprising than the newest creation from Johnny Knoxville, “Jack Ass 3-D”? How about a Hyundai that is as good looking as it is efficient, as well mannered as it is thrifty, and stable as it is nimble? The 2011 Hyundai Sonata had my attention the moment I saw it. First of all, it looks like no other Hyundai before it. When Hyundai re-invented their car line in 2000, they introduced what I knew to be a highly reliable, affordable yawner of a sedan, the Sonata. You could hardly be “taken” by the styling. At the time, the Sonata looked like every other bubble ride on the plant. The Sonata was hardly discernable in a crowed parking lot.

Fast forward to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and you find a chiseled, sculpted body with more angles than Bernie Madoff. The interior is clean and sporty. The dash and instrument cluster look well thought out. You may find this trivial, I don’t. I test cars all the time that have awkwardly placed dials and knobs that can make your life complicated. About my only complaint for the interior is, in fact, the dash. The Sonata’s radio has one large, overly sensitive volume control. It’s a little hard to reach. That’s no problem as there are steering wheel mounted volume controls, but I still wonder what the engineers were thinking on this one.

With your attention now on the dash you will have to notice that the fuel gauge reads full forever. When the Sonata was delivered the gas gauge displayed 450 miles to empty. I ran errands all day and at the end of the first day it the gauge read 438 miles to empty. I didn’t check the miles, but I know I drove many more miles than that. The Sonata sips the go juice slower than our nation’s fiscal recovery.

With all of this time behind the wheel not worrying about fuel use, you can concentrate on the smooth ride and surprising handling. The seats are extremely comfortable and Hyundai offers heaters on all four seats. And, while everybody’s butt is nice and warm you can give your conscience warmth in knowing all four of you are encased in six air bags in the event of a crash. The new Sonata ranked at the top of the NHTSA safety test.

Now, for the fun factor. I know we buy cars for transportation, but fun figures into most of it. You may be the type of driver who thinks windy roads are fun. You may be a driver like my dad who thinks driving reliable, affordable, low cost, low maintenance cars is fun. I fall somewhere in between. I know lately I’m having the most fun when I’m not thinking about money and driving on a country road. With the all-new Hyundai Sonata, I’m able to have the best of both worlds, and with pricing starting at $19,195.00 for the base GLS, and topping out at $27,045 for the Limited, just about anyone from a student to a retiree can afford one.

So, if I were you, I would visit Allen Samuels East Texas Hyundai and see Mr. McClean on the middle of the showroom floor and begin the negotiations now for what will be a fun reliable car for years to come.
Congratulations, Hyundai. Now, fix that big radio knob.

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