KIA SPORTAGE: a medium SUV at the top of its game

THERE’S a distinct possibility you might have already read quite a lot about Kia’s latest version of their popular Sportage.

It’s a car that has sold as much on its looks as its undoubted practicality for the UK family in the past. And now it looks smarter still.
The spacious five door five seater SUV has a lot going for it. It was always neatly styled but the latest version, which is breaking sales records for Kia almost by the hour as well as notching up awards, is a huge leap forward. It will undoubtedly remain their best selling model for some time yet.

That it’ll more than meet the requirements of the modern family and their lifestyle is a given, and it won’t necessarily bite you on the bum when it comes to running it on a day to day basis.

Its sleekish profile makes it stylish and sporty at the same time, and a step ahead of most of its opposition.

Its purposeful wide front track gives it good stability, and while the ground clearance still helps to give you a good all round view of the mayhem going on around you, it’s not as high as some – the conventional wisdom from Kia has always been the Sportage is less likely to be used as an off-roader, and I think they’re right. But that extra height means access is easier and there’s no contorting yourself in and out.

In normal use the ride quality is pretty good, and the power assisted steering has a light feel that makes what is a decent sized car easy to manoeuvre round town. And potholes tend to prove to be nothing more than a minor annoyance.

Part of the problem of testing cars (if it is a problem at all) is that they usually arrive in top spec trim like this GT Line S model ((list price £39,400) so it’s a case of disregarding some of the ‘extras’ to boil it all down to how good the basic machine is. In this case, well up there with the best.

There are 16 versions of the all new Sportage, so plenty to choose from depending on the size of your bank account, or how much of the kids inheritance you’re prepared to invest.

There’s a choice of petrol, mild hybrid, full hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions and five grades – 2, GT Line, 3, 4, and GT Line S.They’re all fairly well equipped, with driver assistance features aplenty, and features twin 12.3 inch touchscreens stretching well cross the dash and are curved to make viewing and use easier for the driver.The whole cabin has a quality, well put together feel to it, and the driving position is adjustable for all, from Warwick Davies to Peter Crouch.

If they could just add a little bit of non slip material in the base of the cup holder area to stop keys moving around it would be near perfect.

All versions come with a big clear rear view camera plus front and rear sensors, and there’s plenty of room both front and back. As a bonus, the outer rear seat passengers in level 3 models and above get heated seats.

The flat floor lies flush with the boot opening, so luggage, golf clubs etc can be loaded up with ease. Capacity is 587 litres, less for the PHEV due to its batteries.

This fifth generation model may even top the just shy of 200,000 sales its predecessor notched up in its five year lifespan. It certainly stands out from the pack.

And here’s another ‘5’ – Euro NCAP gave it a five star safety rating.


Kia Sportage GT Line S HEV

Price: £39,400
Engine: 1.6 litre, T-GDi, four cylinder, petrol
Power: 226bhp
Torque: 258lb/ft
Transmission: six speed automatic
Top speed: 120mph
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds
Economy: 48.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 132g/km

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