... but only made the final field in the first place at the expense of the car from which it is cloned, the Hyundai ix35.
The Sportage edged the ix35 because it looks better, is priced cheaper and drives considerably nicer than its Korean rival - at least until Hyundai put its suspension crew to work on improvements for 2011.
Once into the COTY field the Sportage impressed on almost every front. It's the sort of family car that the majority of Australians now want, with solid performance, five-star safety, great value and a driving experience that's a lot better than a clunky off-roader.
It could have done even better in a year when the Polo was not a runner and is a worthy runner-up against a car that dominated the judges' votes.