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The Good Car Guy has been paying a lot of attention to small SUVs (or whatever you call them) over the last 24 hours. First, there was the look at sales of cute-utes in the United States last month. Then came a look at the USD and CAD base prices of every soft-roader known to man. Today, a look at new pictures of the 2011 Kia Sportage…. arranged in revealing light.

Perched next to the Kia Sportage in the image below is its brother from another mother, the Hyundai Tucson. Sharing plenty of their underthings is one thing, but these two do not go out on the town dressed alike. Kia uses slightly harder lines for the Sportage while Hyundai rounded out the Tucson, making it appear lower where the Sportage seems more butch.

Although these vehicles share architecture, their respective marketing strategies will be drastically different. The Hyundai Tucson is already available priced just $1,000 beneath the Kia Sportage’s big brother, the Sorento. It’s improbable that Kia would so closely align the 2011 Sportage with the larger, more thoroughly fitted Kia Sorento – even if the two combine forces to battle America’s best-selling SUV, the more expensive Honda CR-V.
Regardless, this post is about image. On the right, you see the Kia Sportage. On the left, Hyundai presents the Tucson. Angle for angle, Kia’s got it nailed. Seen together, the Hyundai may come across as slightly upscale but doesn’t seem as cohesive.
  1. The design differences are interesting. The Sportage looks like it is leaning back while the Tucson appears to be leaning forward. There is likely no significance to that observation.

  2. thanks for the comparisons. I don't think they can now say KIA has bland looking vehicles. I like this new Sportage. Priced right this should do very well for KIA.
    GCG – what would you think is their direct competitors as the Sportage/Tucson and Sorento/Santa Fe seem to all go after the same like CR-V, RAV 4, Rogue, etc.

  3. @conwelpic Neither Hyundai or Kia would be the first automaker trying to attack segmen leaders with a tandem, or in this case, a veritable quartet. It seems obvious that Hyundai wants to move gradually upmarket, so the next Santa Fe will be more of a genuine competitor for the Highlander/Pilot. Kia knows volume works, so selling a whole bunch of Sportages at a ridiculously low price seems okay with them. That leaves the Sorento to tackle the CR-V head on, the Tucson to fulfill the traditional Hyundai role slightly below the comp. in price, and the Sportage takes Civic customers who wanted a CR-V but couldn't afford one who can get into a small SUVish vehicle.

  4. When I test drove a Tucson, I had trouble seeing my blind spot. I didn't experience this when test driving a Kia Sportage. Isn't the driver seat in the Sportage roomier than in the Tucson?

  5. I think people over-ephasize the difference between those two vehicles. The fact of the matter is that they are both upwordly mobile.

  6. I like the sleek curve on the side window lines on the Tucson better, look at them, they flow and I don't like the way the Sportage flares out in the rear, it looks decidedly weird from a 3/4 angle in person.

    I love my little 2011 Tucson GL manual. 🙂

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