Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -


The value propo­si­tion is top-notch given the aged Toy­ota Tarago starts at $4K more, but diesel adds a steep $4000. The mid-spec Si has 16-inch al­loys, velour trim and power/heated ex­te­rior mir­rors. There are USB and Blue­tooth phone and au­dio link, six-speaker sound with steer­ing wheel con­trols, air­con with rear vents and sep­a­rate con­trols. Re­sale is rated in the mid-40 per cent range.


The ex­tra cash buys a 2.2-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel (143kW/429Nm). At 8.1L/100km it’s al­most 3L bet­ter on the com­bined cy­cle than the petrol V6 ver­sion so that 80L tank takes it a lot fur­ther. There’s a six-speed auto op­tion.


The Kia is far from fash­ion­able but more than prac­ti­cal — slid­ing doors on both sides (on both cars here) make un­load­ing easy. At 5.1m long, 2m wide and 1.8m tall it’s no shrink­ing vi­o­let, but there’s am­ple in­te­rior space. The mid­dle row is re­mov­able, the third stashes in the floor, so load­space ranges from good to im­mense.


The Kia has six airbags, scores four stars and still has lap-only cen­tre belts. The Si has op­tional rear cam­era or sen­sors. There are ABS, sta­bil­ity con­trol, five child re­straint anchorage points and space-saver spare, but no rain-sens­ing wipers or auto head­lights.


It’s not as stylish as some SUVs but shift­ing off­spring is a dod­dle. De­spite the age of the model its child seats are an­chored to the bot­tom of the sec­ond and third row back­rests and seat belt buck­les are un­ob­structed (Honda, are you lis­ten­ing?). Its vin­tage is ap­par­ent in such things as tilt-only steer­ing. When loaded up, its jumpy ride set­tles down. The diesel asks plenty up­front from the hip pocket but de­liv­ers in drive­abil­ity and fru­gal fuel use.

VER­DICT The Kia wins on safety, com­fort and acres of un­fet­tered space.

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