Kid & Driver - August 12, 2013

  • Written by Jackson Unruh & Julie Boselly


2013 KIA Sportage SX AWD - $32,400

20 City / 25 Hwy

Road Trip: Oregon: Tillamook, Lincoln City



2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD - $31,590

24 City / 30 Hwy

Road Trip: Sequim, Washington

Road Trip Review

The kid of Kid ‘n’ Driver is busy at summer camp so I let him off reviewing this time. Two summer road trips allowed us the opportunity to test out a couple of vehicles. The KIA Sportage and the Mazda CX-5 are stylish crossovers. Much of the two seemed similar in many ways so we’ll focus on the parts we felt differed.

As a shorter driver, I felt the KIA seemed to "fit" me better. I could easily reach all features and I actually felt as though I sat higher than in the Mazda. The interior measurements are indeed smaller in most areas compared to the Mazda CX-5. The cargo room in the KIA is 26.1 cu. ft. while the Mazda is 34.1 cu. ft. Those on the taller side may find the Mazda more comfortable.

The headrest for the front seats in the CX-5 leans forward which wasn’t comfortable for me, but again, the height (or lack of) could be why.

The back of the Mazda definitely fit more luggage. We are one adult and two kids so I would suggest the Mazda would be a better fit for a group of 4-5. I was concerned packing up the KIA but we managed to load everything in. I did put the rear seats down one day and loaded my bicycle in the back of the Mazda. It wasn’t incredibly easy like a larger SUV or van would be but it worked. We saw KIAs with bike racks, which I highly recommend adding on.

Anyone who has been on Hwy 101 knows it is windy, has multiple speed zones and is very dark at night. The KIA handled very well. The 2.0L Turbo Gas Direct Injection engine got us easily over the little Coast Range.

Both stereo systems were quite good. Most cars in this price range seem to come equipped with Bluetooth audio and USB inputs. Jack actually had a good playlist on his iPod so we listened to his music a few times instead of the radio. (NOTE: Oregon’s Oldies Radio station is the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.That was hard to accept). An optional feature on both cars is the navigation package. I was not fond of the GPS in the Mazda. They use the TomTom system and for some reason, I could not get it to find my destination so I ended up using my phone’s GPS out of frustration.

Both vehicle are in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) top-rated list.

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