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Sportage - still a best-seller

Created on 10/07/2019 @ 10:06

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Twenty-five years after emerging from Kia’s renowned Slovakian production plant the Sportage remains the company’s best seller in the UK.

Over five million models have been sold around the world and over 250,000 grace our UK road networks proving just how important this model is for Kia.

In that 25 years the Sportage has evolved into a multi-award winning vehicle and the latest upgrade features a fresh look – both inside and out – more emphasis on safety and infotainment technologies, as well as new engines and a flirtation with hybrid.

The car’s advanced all-new EcoDynamics+ 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain is the first to be launched as part of Kia’s global powertrain electrification strategy. With this development, Kia became the first manufacturer to offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and 48-volt mild-hybrid technology across its model line-up.

Kia will launch 16 advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five battery-electric vehicles and, in 2020, a new fuel-cell electric vehicle.

The latest model has been given a modern look, featuring a range of updates to its sporty exterior design. Changes extend to ‘GT-Line’ models, which feature a series of unique upgrades compared to other trim grades.

There is a redesigned front bumper with new fog lamp housings, and new gloss black or bright chrome inserts leading from the fog lamps into the lower air intake. The Sportage is also now available with an evolved version of its ‘tiger-nose’ grille, with new gloss black or matt black grille. New full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights and redesigned fog enhance the SUV’s light signature.

Silver painted front and rear skid plates are fitted to ‘Edition 25’, ‘4’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models.

At the rear, the slim combination lamps retain their horizontal shape, with the revised design featuring a new C-shaped LED light signature. The reversing lamp is integrated into the new rear bumper with longer reflectors positioned below and is now finished with a flash of chrome across its base.

The upgraded model is available with new 16,17 and 19inch alloy wheel designs, and some versions have the sill trim finished in chrome. Five paint colours are available, including new shades of silver, grey, blue, and copper.

Changes to ‘GT-Line’ include a new design gloss black radiator grille, gloss black and silver skid plates, and dark chrome inserts on the front bumper, the side sills and rear tailgate.

The unique 19-inch alloy wheels of the ‘GT-Line’ have been redesigned, and all models are fitted with a dual exhaust rear valance and revised ‘ice cube’ LED fog lamp designs.

While the layout of the cabin is retained, there are a series of minor upgrades including a new steering wheel and revised driver instrument cluster. ‘GT-Line’ models are available with new black leather seat trim with red accents.

The design of the ventilation and air conditioning controls at the centre of the dashboard have also been revised, with new bezels around the dials.

There’s a model for all pockets too with prices ranging from £20,305 for a 1.6GDi 1300 six-speed manual to a range -topping £35,140 for a GT-Line S 2.0CRDi 182bhp 48valve eight-speed Auto in all-wheel-drive variant.

We tested the 1.6GDi 2 in six-speed manual format. It’s far from the most powerful option in the huge range but it did have a top-speed of 113mph and 0-60mph in 11.1seconds and also produced combined fuel consumption figures of 40mpg.

Easy to manipulate split-folding 60-40 rear seats add to the spacious appeal and the Sportage is a high scorer when it comes to luggage and storage space with a surprising amount of extra pockets for those little essentials.

A six-speaker audio system, Android Auto voice control, Apple Car Play USB ports, a 7-inch touchscreen Sat Nav system with European mapping, a reversing camera system and Kia Connect means the Sportage competes head on with opposition in the overcrowded SUV sector.

There’s also a lot of attention paid to safety. Included on this model are Trailer Stability Assist, Lane Keep Assist, speed limit information, tyre pressure monitoring, driver attention warning, ABS and ESC braking, emergency stop signalling, high beam assist, hill start and intelligent stop and go.

You also get all-round airbags, immobiliser, door deadlocks, all-round adjustable head rests, speed sensing door locks, impact sensing door unlocking, locking wheel nuts and child safety doors – that’s a lot of kit for a model coming in at £22,400.

Sportage remains a good value-for-money purchase and with a seven year/100,000-mile manufacturers warranty it’s easy to understand its popularity in the UK.


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