Kiawww.kia.comAnyone who can tell a 2000 Sportage from a '99 one is way too screwy about Kia. The carry-over Korean-built Sportage remains one of the most affordable four-wheel-drive vehicles in America. Available as a two-door convertible or a four-door, the subcompact Sportage isn't sedan-based, and its 130hp 2.0L DOHC 16-valve engine sits longitudinally in the engine bay. Either the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission can be backed by a part-time two-speed transfer case, and both the independent front A-arm and solid-axle rear suspensions are supported by well-tuned coil springs.
Land Roverwww.best4x4.landrover.comThe inventors of the luxury SUV (it was their fault!) comes into the new millennium with its products intact. But rumors are that the V-6-powered Freelander small SUV will join in by mid-year.
Significantly updated last year, the Discovery II gets a compass integrated into it rearview mirror and a fuel filler door open light, but is very much the very impressive vehicle it was before. The Permanent four-wheel-drive system has a manually controlled two-speed transfer case and incorporates four-wheel electronic traction control. Power comes from a 188hp all-aluminum 4.0L OHV V-8, and it's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
Except for a more monochromatic exterior, auto-dimming side mirrors, new 16-inch wheels, new headlights and taillights, and the usual trim and color changes, the Range Rover also carries over. Available as either the 4.0 SE (powered by the same 4.0L V-8 used in the Discovery II) or 4.6 HSE (with a 222hp 4.6L version of the engine), the Range Rover is both gorgeous and jaw-droppingly capable.
Lexuswww.lexus.comNo one sells more luxury SUVs than Lexus. And being successful, the company is not messing with things much for 2000.
The car-based RX300 Sport Luxury vehicle is the same for 2000 as it was in 1999 except for the arrival of Mineral Green opalescent paint. A transversely mounted, 220hp DOHC 3.0L V-6 with variable valve timing powers all RX300s (4x2 and 4x4) through a four-speed automatic transmission, which in four-by models subsequently drives a full-time, high-range-only four-wheel-drive transfer case. The suspension is all independent, the equipment comprehensive and often covered in leather, the decorations tasteful, and the whole vehicle amazingly pleasant for everyday driving. But an off-roader? That's pushing it.
Since it's a duded-up Land Cruiser, the LX470 is a truly rugged off-road machine and shockingly luxurious. For 2000, the big Lexus gets a revised braking system, which includes four-wheel traction control, a skid-control system, and the ability of the antilock to work even when the truck is operating in low range. The 230hp 4.7L DOHC 32-valve V-8 and the rest of the supercapable drivetrain remain unchanged.
Lincolnwww.lincolnvehicles.comLincoln's wildly successful Navigator SUV was enhanced with the addition of a 300hp DOHC 32-valve V-8 to distinguish it from its sister, the Ford Expedition. For 2000, this limousine 4x4 gets a sonar parking aid and, get this, climate-controlled seats that pump warm or cool air through perforations. Side airbags are also now offered, and there's even more woodgrain in the interior. Though few Navs go into the woods, they always have the woods with them. This time next year, Lincoln's Blackwood pickup should be in production, though a 4x4 version is unlikely.
Mazdawww.mazdausa.comLike the Ford Ranger? Then you'll like the Mazda B-series, which is a Ranger done in Mazda duds. That means the B-series is available as a regular, extended, or four-door extended (Cab Plus 4) cab with a 115hp 2.5L SOHC four, a 150hp 3.0L OHV, or a 160hp 4.0L OHV V6 doing the motivation with part-time, dual-range four-wheel drive available. Also available is the Troy Lee edition Cab Plus 4 with neat exterior design elements, a two-tone and carbon fiber trim interior, and the 4x4's suspension-but not the insurance-rattling four-wheel drive. It's the same pickup it was in 1999.