Team Sportage

The slick-look­ing Kia is longer, wider and lower and packs a real punch, writes Paul Pot­tinger in New Zealand

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

THE hottest new tal­ent in the com­pact SUV class is com­ing un­der fire from in­side its own fam­ily. The Hyundai ix35 is al­ready a huge hit and now Kia, which comes un­der the same Korean com­pany um­brella, is go­ing hard with an all-new Sportage.

Priced from $25,990 for the front-drive base model, though the all-wheel-drive Plat­inumpack diesel is $38,990, the new Sportage ticks all the boxes for a new model.

As a bonus, and a big plus over the Hyundai, it comes with sus­pen­sion tun­ing set for Aus­tralian roads and driv­ers.

The Sportage is longer, wider and lower and an al­to­gether slicker pack­age than the model it re­places. Of course, it could hardly be oth­er­wise, the old one be­ing a strong in­duce­ment to take pub­lic trans­port.

It also has an edgy new look that is typ­i­cal of the lat­est Kia mod­els.

The Sportage is de­rived from the Kue con­cept, with high-belt­line, coupe-style pro­por­tions. From the rear three-quar­ters you could al­most be look­ing at a pre­mium hatch­back.

Look at the line-up, and the front-wheel-drive Si with its 122kW/197Nm 2-litre starts at $25,990 for the five-speed man­ual.

The six-speed auto adds $2000. It’s no strip­per, with equip­ment in­clud­ing 17-inch al­loys, front fog lamps and the full safety pack­age in­clud­ing six airbags.

The mid-range SLi runs a 130kW/227Nm 2.4-litre petrol en­gine ($31,990) or a 2-litre turbo

It has an edgy new look that is typ­i­cal of the lat­est Kia mod­els

diesel ($34,990) through a six-speed auto. Its gains on the Si in­clude chrome ac­cents, leather trim, rear-view cam­era and roof rails.

The Plat­inum uses the same driv­e­trains (petrol $35,990; diesel $38,990) and adds full leather, day­time run­ning lights, smart key and ven­ti­lated driver’s seat.

All get a full-size spare. Back seats, which eas­ily ac­com­mo­date a cou­ple of tall pas­sen­gers, can be dropped with the flick of a switch.

A ven­ti­lated leather driver’s seat, re­cently only an op­tion in top-end Euro lux­ury cars, is now part of the deca­dent stan­dard equip­ment in the Sportage Plat­inum.

The mid and top-spec ver­sions re­ceive a new AWD sys­tem from Magna Dy­na­max that uses

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