A fam­ily favourite tracks true

The Sportage, a main­stay in the compact SUV line-up, en­hances the fa­mil­iar for­mula

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE - PETER BARN­WELL

KIA has a rep­u­ta­tion to main­tain as the maker of the Sorento, the reign­ing Carsguide Car of the Year. With the fourth-gen­er­a­tion Sportage compact SUV there’s no need for con­cern be­cause it’s right up with its larger sib­ling as one of Korea’s best main­stream cars.

The pre­vi­ous Sportage was a favourite of ours for its styling, pow­er­trains, size, drive feel and value for money. It sold up a storm and is partly re­spon­si­ble for the boom­ing compact SUV seg­ment in Aus­tralia.

The new model fol­lows through on this, with im­proved pow­er­trains, more kit, in­creased in­te­rior room and plenty of driver as­sis­tance fea­tures nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with high-end Euro­pean ve­hi­cles.

In styling terms, the pro­file is fa­mil­iar but the face is new.

The three en­gines — 2.0 and 2.4-litre petrol and 2.0 turbo diesel — carry over with ex­ten­sive re­vi­sions to im­prove power and fuel ef­fi­ciency.

A six-speed auto is the sole trans­mis­sion, in line with buy­ers’ over­whelm­ing pref­er­ence in the pre­vi­ous model. Six mod­els are avail­able start­ing with the Si at $28,990. Then come the Si diesel, the SLi in petrol and diesel, the Plat­inum 2.4 and the range­top­ping Plat­inum diesel at $45,990.

Diesel vari­ants are all-wheel drive, as is the Plat­inum 2.4. The 2.0-litre petrol vari­ants are front-driv­ers.

The Sportage scored five

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