KIA SPORTAGE IS A WINNER
ATTENTION PAID TO HANDLING, INTERIOR ROOM AND STYLE
KIA'S Sportages have always been good, but in the latest model Kia has paid particular attention on the way it drives, its safety, the room inside, cabin technology and its styling.
The Sportage's 'tiger nose' face with 'ice cube' lights is the latest Peter Schreyer design and is also slightly longer in the wheelbase, giving it more interior room, a bigger boot, and better comfort and handling.
Buyers have a choice of 114kW/192Nm 2.0-litre petrol or 136kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines in the Si and SLi grades, and the range-topping Platinum offers the choice of a 135kW/237Nm 2.4-litre petrol or the same turbodiesel.
All come with an excellent sixspeed automatic transmission.
The 2.0litre petrol models are front-wheel drive, but the diesels are all AWD.
Prices start from $28,990, but our fully-equipped Platinum diesel is priced at $45,990, a bit more than before, but it does have a lot of new equipment, including autonomous emergency braking, radar-activated forward collision warning, blind spot alert, lane guidance, auto parking and auto-dipping headlights. And a huge glass sunroof. The vehicle also has a lot more high-strength steel in its construction, which, safety apart, contributes to less torsional flexing and a better ride. And it's probably the roomiest in its class.
Kia was one of the pioneers of having its product suspension tuned especially for Australian conditions, and it shows.
The Sportage has a firm, Euro-like set-up which makes for precise steering and excellent composure through fast bends, plus the ability to soak up road imperfections without jolting its occupants.
Inside, the Platinum has a 4.2inch colour TFT cluster, a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia screen, reversing camera display, satellite navigation and a wireless charger for mobile devices.
There's also Bluetooth handsfree connectivity, and aux-in and USB ports for smartphones and MP3 music players.
The front seats have 10-way powered adjustment, the controls are well placed and easy to use, and forward visibility has been improved via the use of slimmer Apillars. Back seat folk are well looked after with very good seating and adjustable backrests, and very little tyre and road noise penetrates the interior.
The Sportage naturally has all the safety acronyms of the moment, plus six airbags and practical owners will be happy to know the spare wheel is a full-size alloy, - a rarity these days.
Verdict: The Sportage is in a fiercely contested market, but the latest one is probably the best of the lot. And it comes with a sevenyear unlimited km warranty.
The Sportage Platinum is top of its class.