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Rochdale Observer - - THE LAUGHING BADGER -

IA’S tag line on its ad­ver­tis­ing is ‘The Power to Sur­prise’... which I would sug­gest is no longer true!

That’s be­cause the Korean car maker has been turn­ing out such good cars in re­cent years that I, for one, am no longer sur­prised when I get be­hind the wheel.

That is be­cause I now ex­pect a Kia to be good and this week’s test car - the new Sportage - did not let me down.

At just £22,405 on the road our 1.6 GDi 2 model looked good, went well and had all the es­sen­tial kit you could need.

That all-new 1591cc diesel four pot gives a 0 to 60 time of 11.1 sec­onds and a top speed of 113 while be­ing ca­pa­ble of a claimed 44.1mpg on a run (in 130bhp form).

The kit list on this fam­ily SUV in­cludes things like smart 17” al­loy wheels, rear pri­vacy glass, auto lights and wipers while in­side there’s cruise con­trol, dual auto air con, six speaker au­dio, 7” touch­screen with sat-nav, re­vers­ing cam­era and park­ing sen­sors.

Then there are the nu­mer­ous safety sys­tems, so nu­mer­ous I don’t have space to men­tion them all here but top of the list are lane as­sist, driver at­ten­tion warn­ing, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing and hill start as­sist. Add to all that Kia’s fa­mous seven years/100,000 mile war­ranty and you have a pretty im­pres­sive pack­age.

So what’s new for 2018? The whole car has had a makeover im­prov­ing what was al­ready an at­trac­tive de­sign. In­fo­tain­ment and ac­tive driver aids are up­graded, there is a new 1.6, 130 to 174bhp diesel en­gine (as fit­ted to our test model), GT-Line and GT-Line S ver­sions have been added for a sportier touch, there is a spe­cial ‘Edi­tion 25’ to mark 25 years of Sportage pro­duc­tion and 21 vari­ants with five en­gine choices, three gear­boxes and six trim lev­els means even more choice.

There’s also a 2.0-litre diesel with 184bhp that comes as stan­dard with four-wheel drive and an au­to­matic gear­box. If you want petrol power, there’s a choice of two 1.6-litre

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