Mid-size SUVs are hugely po;pu­lar. Mazda and Kia show why, says Neil Dowling

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -

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.



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