KIA SPORTAGE PLATINUM
Mid-size SUVs are hugely po;pular. Mazda and Kia show why, says Neil Dowling
VALUE New Kias are excellent value. Platinum model here has heaps of standard equipment. Add five-year, unlimited warranty and roadside assist, very affordable capped price program of $1175 for three years (five-year program) plus very good 52 per cent resale. DESIGN Similar to Mazda but with more equipment. Sunroof is a crowd-pleaser and leather seats front and rear are heated. Has more luggage room with rear seats up than Mazda (564L) though less when folded (1353L). Side glass looks modern but reduces child occupant outlook. TECHNOLOGY Hyundai-Kia R-Class diesels are remarkably good. In the Sportage the 2.0-litre turbo diesel (135kW/ 392Nm) returns 7.2L/100km from 58L tank. The sixspeed auto drives an on-demand all-wheel drive design, similar to Mazda. Simple mechanicals minimise potential problems. Sportage tows 1600kg and has a tight 10.6m turning circle. SAFETY It shares the five-star rating and electronic aids of most rivals but adds a reverse camera, emergency brake display, rear park sensor, heated (and folding) mirrors, LED daytime running lights, headlights with a cornering function and full-size alloy spare. DRIVING Such an easy wagon to drive. There’s a lot of similarity with the Mazda engine though the CX-5 kicks harder at low revs. But they share a smooth transmission and turbo lag is virtually absent. The Sportage has more equipment and weighs 80kg more than the longer Mazda. Ride comfort is good but Mazda shakes off bumps better, while Sportage steering has less feel.