That’s called backing your product.
Most European manufacturers would go broke inside a week if they had to honour such a warranty. Three years’ coverage is average for a Euro brand — and when it’s over and you’re on your own, you ought to be very afraid.
Sportage Si, priced at $28,990, is a twin under the skin with the Hyundai Tucson Active.
Several years ago Kia headhunted some of Germany’s finest design (and engineering) talent, notably from Audi, with a simple brief: “Make our cars look like yours.”
So the Sportage has chunky Euro-style sheetmetal, a wheel at each corner stance and a bold, aggressive front end.
The Kia’s cabin is almost an Audi clone, albeit circa 2006 and done down to a price. The Vorsprung durch Technik cues are obvious: dark, monochrome decor, sprinkles of fake alloy, formal and efficient control layout, minimal bling and softtouch, textured plastics.
We are talking here about a $29K base model and in this PRICE $28,990 WARRANTY 7 years/unlimited km CAPPED SERVICING $2942 over 7 years SERVICE INTERVAL 12 months/15,000km SAFETY 5 stars ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 114kW/192Nm TRANSMISSION 6-speed auto; FWD THIRST 7.9L/100km DIMENSIONS 4480mm (L), 1855mm (W), 1655mm (H), 2670mm (WB) WEIGHT 1606kg SPARE Full-size alloy TOWING 1600kg context the Kia’s fit, finish and materials quality are excellent. It feels more premium than its price and was totally free of squeaks, chirps and rattles over 1000km of testing.
More spacious than a hatchback, the Sportage is just as easy to drive and still sufficiently compact to cut it in guerilla city traffic.
The dash is a brutal, inelegant lump with a low-rent monotone touchscreen a bit out of reach. You often need to stab an icon a few times for a result.
Three friendly adults can fit across the rear seat, with plenty of headroom and legroom; vents, 12V outlet, USB port and a modicum of storage also make it a workable kid zone. High window sills may impede the view for young children.
Its large boot can easily expand to 1.7 metres of floor length without compromising front seat travel.
Performance numbers for the Si are feeble on paper but the long-stroke 2.0-litre base engine is surprisingly smooth, quiet and tractable around town — more so than rivals with 2.0-litre atmo base engines, including Mazda’s CX-5.
Its cause is helped by the efficiently geared standard sixspeed automatic, which has Eco, Normal and Sport modes. Eco is fine around town, where you can go close to single-figure thirst with a gentle right foot.
Kia’s local suspension tuner can at times sacrifice too much ride comfort for faux sporty dynamics, as in the Optima sedan. Here, with tall SUV rubber on 17-inch alloys, the ride, though still firm, is acceptably compliant and comfortable.
ON THE ROAD
The 114kW 2.0-litre should struggle with 1.6 tonnes of SUV but instead delivers impressively easy and refined highway hauling.
On hills, the six-speed gets busy but shifts are smooth and well-timed. Cruise control allows too much set speed variation. Expect 6.0L7.0L/100km on the open road.
The Sportage Si is a basic, front-wheel drive SUV, so sporty it ain’t. However, considerable engineering integrity shows through at speed, notably in its tight, rigid body, finely tuned suspension, secure roadholding on our goat tracks and a flat, relatively neutral attitude in corners.
Steering is light, precise and consistently weighted, with Sport mode adding synthetic heft. Brakes are OK and Hankook tyres have reasonable grip.
If you want to go off road, there are hill descent control and a full-size spare. Given clearance of just 172mm, this is the wrong SUV for an adventure.
The Sportage now argues for best in class status with the CX-5 and Forester. In Si spec, it’s a quality SUV with many more pleasant surprises than you usually find in a base model. Factor in that killer warranty and it’s a winner.