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