***Click HERE to see a comparison test between the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson.***
Beware the competition
Hyundai, and its parent company Kia, are presently ranked 7th largest car manufacturer in the world. Their plan is to become number 5 by 2010. In those five short years, both manufacturers combined, will introduce or refresh close to a dozen of their products. Their plan is to attract buyers with arguments based on bang for the buck, a fun driving experience, reliability in the long run and an excellent warranty. This is what they will do to remain competitive and entice consumers into their dealership network. With these elements, Hyundai and Kia are looking for their share of the 48% of SUV sales belonging to the compact segment.
Even if they share platforms and powerplants, these two vehicles are assembled at different plants. Both companies expect that buyers will be of more or less the same average age group, which is to say in their mid-forties. Where they might differ is the purchasers of the Kia may be after a more rugged looking truck, although it probably will not attract the same crowd that bought the previous generation Sportage. Those that will look at the Tucson will most likely be urbanites. According to Kia representatives, cross-shopping between the two brands may occur, however, they do no mind, as long as one of the two ends up being purchased.
Both base models are priced from $19,995 for base 5-speed FWD version. The top-of-the-line AWD GLS V6 Tucson retails for $28,725 and the all-dressed Sportage has an asking price of $29,500. The last two models are the ones we test-drove. We also tested a base Tucson GL FWD 5-speed.
Both of these micro SUVs are considered as "cute-UTES" and they should be. Their dimensions are petite. Of their major competitors, only the RAV4 is shorter overall. The Tucson and the Sportage however are the widest and the ones that offer the longest wheelbase.
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