En­gine:

Road Trip - - GEMS TRIP -

Power: Torque: Trans­mis­sion: 0-100 km/h: Top speed:

Econ­omy: CO2 emis­sions: Price:

1,685 cc, 4-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel

85 kw @ 4,000 rpm 280 Nm @ 1,250-2,750 rpm 6-speed man­ual, 2WD 11.5 sec­onds 176 km/h 7.8 l/100 km 127 g/km R415,995 At­trac­tive de­sign, good er­gonomics and prac­ti­cal­ity, fru­gal en­gine, good dy­nam­ics and han­dling.

The R36 be­tween Dull­stroom and Ly­den­burg has, for all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, given up on even pre­tend­ing to be called a road.

If spec­i­fi­ca­tion level is com­pared with com­peti­tors, pric­ing is quite high.

A PLEAS­ANT DRIVE

Er­gonomics are pleas­antly sim­ple with all con­trols easy to op­er­ate. The steer­ing is fully ad­justable (tilt and reach), there is cen­tral lock­ing, tinted win­dows to keep out the fe­ro­cious Sum­mer sun, and the spare wheel is full size. All win­dows are fully elec­tric, but clos­ing them re­quires hold­ing the switch in­stead of hav­ing the lux­ury of a one-touch pro­ce­dure. I also found the key start rather old school (it was prob­a­bly in­cluded to keep costs down) and would have been more im­pressed with key­less start up.

Con­sid­er­ing that the Sportage, in sixspeed, front wheel-drive man­ual mode, de­liv­ered fru­gal fuel-sip­ping fig­ures of 5.1 l/100 km while in the Kruger, one can un­der­stand why the com­pany sells be­tween 160 to 200 of th­ese sought-af­ter SUVS each month. The brakes (all disc) were ex­cel­lent and fade free, while the Sportage im­pressed by be­ing di­rec­tion­ally sta­ble at high speeds through the sweeps of Schoe­man­skloof. Over­tak­ing slow, lum­ber­ing trucks crawl­ing up­hill at 40 km/h was also a piece of cake, with only one down­shift re­quired.

The new Sportage Ig­nite Plus is a com­pe­tent ve­hi­cle in ev­ery sense of the word. Not cheap by any means, it more than holds its own against such wor­thy op­po­nents as cousin Hyundai Tuc­son, Volk­swa­gen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Peu­geot 3008, Honda Cr-v,toy­ota RAV4, and Ford Kuga. It brings a stylish ex­te­rior, great fuel econ­omy, a com­fort­able cabin am­bi­ence, and me­chan­i­cal re­li­a­bil­ity to the party and comes highly rec­om­mended for a Kruger road trip.

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