Kia Sportage

1.6T Gt-line DCT

Nam Wheels - - News -

What you need to know:

Kia's new Sportage is closely re­lated to its Korean cousin, the Hyundai Tuc­son. Be­sides shar­ing a lot of tech­nol­ogy, the re­la­tion is ev­i­dent in both ve­hi­cle's stylish looks. Where a Tuc­son shows flow­ing lines, the Sportage was penned with more de­ter­mined strokes of the pen.

Namwheels doesn't like the bulging, Pi­canto-like nose but, as in most new cars, this aids pedes­trian safety and crash test rat­ings. The rest of this Sportage ver­sion 2.0 is well pro­por­tioned with stylish de­tails. In­side it's the same story, es­pe­cially in this top-ofthe- range model fea­tur­ing two-tone leather trim.

More facts: At N$600,000-ish it has a shock­ing price tag but re­tal­i­ates with many toys and safety de­vices.

Blue­tooth, LED lights, cli­mate con­trol, USB, cruise con­trol, cli­ma­tised front seats, heated rear fur­ni­ture, wire­less phone charg­ing, key­less en­try and a start but­ton are just SOME of the stan­dard fea­tures in this top model. Help­ing to make the best out of the 1.6L turbo-petrol four­cylin­der en­gine's 130kw and 265Nm are a seven- speed au­to­matic gear­box, in­tel­li­gent all- wheel drive ( with AWD lock), three drive modes, full sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol, some pad­dle shifters, a taut sus­pen­sion and fat 19- inch wheels with su­perb lev­els of grip.

Where we went: The typ­i­cal des­ti­na­tions of any modern ur­ban dweller but mixed with some un­planned med­i­cal ap­point­ments. If you don't watch your step of a late evening, you'll end up with weeks of doc­tor, chiro and physio vis­its. Hap­pily, the Sportage is com­fort­able and ca­pa­ble. Ex­cept for one thing...

Watch out for: That aw­ful gear­box! In its de­fault and “Eco” modes it was so jerky at low speeds that I broke a man­rule and ac­tu­ally opened the owner's manual. Here I learnt that the twin-clutch unit can be­have like an au­to­mated manual ' box at low speeds. Which it does – and thereby ruins an oth­er­wise de­cent au­to­mo­bile. At speed, the DCT ‘box is fine; al­though not as re­spon­sive as those of its more es­tab­lished coun­ter­parts. Down­shifts are good, the up-shift com­mands can linger a lit­tle.

Slow starts (es­pe­cially up­hill) mimic a slip­ping clutch and can re­sult in warn­ing lights. Red-lin­ing the perky mo­tor is im­pos­si­ble, the silly gear­box shifts up when IT wants to.

Not ex­actly sporty but ok for a soft-roader. A pos­i­tive note is that – on the move – this trans­mis­sion is rather well matched to the en­gine's low and mid- range clout. Seven ra­tios means that it usu­ally cruises at or be­low 2,000rpm; re­sult­ing in claimed av­er­age con­sump­tion of 6.5L/100km. We call B.S. - our mixed route av­er­age was closer to 10.

Why you'll want one: Style, gad­gets, rel­a­tive rar­ity (at the mo­ment) and an over­all wellpol­ished prod­uct. If you do a lot of open-road driv­ing, this DCT model is prob­a­bly ok. But if you spend a lot of time in slow traf­fic, we ad­vise a VERY elab­o­rate test- drive be­fore you sign on the dot­ted line!

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