Sporty Chap… Eric Barton teases the best out of Kia’s new Sportage SUV

Kia Sportage SUV
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We all know that most SUV’s in this country never actually see any mud or farm tracks. Mostly it’s about taking wee Johnny to school, that’s not the point. Driving a well-set up SUV is all about comfort, storage and having the ability to go slightly off road if needed. Even with wee Jonny in the back!

The Kia Sportage is a small SUV that competes with a host of like-minded similar models on the market these days. It’s been around for yonks. It was the Sportage that was introduced in 2010 that was the real game-changer for Kia. The Korean brand’s stable had long featured worthy cars with lengthy warranties, but there wasn’t much magic’ about Then, out of nowhere arrived this rather chunky, handsome, well- groomed chap. It absolutely flew out of showrooms, helping Kia more than double its sales over the next six years. This new replacement does retain the visual appeal of its predecessor. In fact, provided you pick your trim and engine combination carefully, it can be a great value private buy, whether you’re paying cash or taking out finance and the resale values are on the good side of acceptable.

My weapon of choice for a tootle down the M5 to Cornwall was the Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX-3 Auto. The 2.0 CRDi engine – available in 134bhp and 182bhp power outputs – is your only option if you want both diesel and four-wheel drive. Even the lower-powered version is satisfyingly strong and will tow a braked trailer of 2.2 tonnes, provided you stick with the manual gearbox. A six-speed auto is optional on both power outputs. The Kia Sportage feels as though it’s been set up to be sportier than most of its rivals. The Sportage does have a firm and choppy feel to it– no matter what speed you’re doing which delivers a feeling of solidity which will make some of us feel secure in the knowledge that this chap can handle himself when it matters. The driving position is extremely good and offers enough adjustability to cater for most shapes and sizes. All trims apart from entry-level 1 get electrically adjustable lumbar support and manual seat height adjustment, while range-topping 4 models get fully electric seats.

Some drivers might wish the seat dropped a little lower, and the head restraints can feel like they’re forcing your head a touch more forward than you’d like, but generally the high-set driving position and supportive seat is comfortable…even on my three plus hours down the motorway. A central front armrest is standard across the range and the dashboard switches and stalks are mostly where you’d want them and are clearly labelled. The interior delivers a smart, tidy look with a combination of matt plastics and some metallic finish, while 3 models and above add some gloss black trim on the dashboard and part leather upholstery, too. All models also get a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear lever. The interior all feels quite solidly put together, and the switches and vent movements are well-damped.

The Sportage has a big boot, with a floor that’s flush with the boot opening and the rear seats (when they’re folded down). The boot opening is conveniently large and square-shaped, so very easy to stow the g from golf clubs through to buggies and all the paraphernalia that comes with kids and the great outdoors

At a glance

Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX-3 Auto

BHP – 134

0-60 11.6 secs

Average MPG 47.9

On the road cost £29,095

For more info and to take a test drive

Tel. 01452 401847