The Sportage kicks another goal for Kia

It’s funny how you don’t notice a particularly car a lot until you are actually driving one for yourself. This is how I felt during the week I spent driving the Kia Sportage GT-Line CRDi; it was that cheeky front end that I began to notice more and more.

The CRDi has the Common-Rail Direct Injection 2.0 litre in-line four cylinder diesel engine with an E-VGT (Electronic Variable Geometry Turbocharger) that produces 136kW of power and a punchy 400Nm of torque. This combined with the Active AWD (that can be manually disengaged) and the 8-speed Sports-matic automatic gearbox delivers surprising off the line acceleration and overtaking ability.

I only noticed I was actually driving a diesel on two occasions. One, at start up as the sound deadening in the GT-Line is sufficient so that you do not notice the engine noise while driving and two, when you fill up at the pump. The official combined fuel efficiency is 6.4L/100km and for my week I achieved 7.3L/100km driving in Sport mode (also has Eco and Comfort mode) all of the time.

The interior design of the Sportage was really pleasant and everything was where I expected it to be for making adjustments to the climate or media etc; Kia have used nice looking materials that smell good too. The only part that I would consider changing is the gloss black surrounds around the window openers as these get covered in finger prints, but they can be cleaned off easily with a microfibre cloth.

The steering wheel has a sporty feel about it thanks to its thickness and the deep thumb groves at ‘9 and 3’ positions on the wheel. There are also get wheel mounted paddle shifters; they work well even though the Sportage is no race car.

The Sportage GT-Line gets leather appointed seats with contrast stitching, with 10-way driver’s power adjustable and 8-way power front passenger seat adjustment, but no seat memory option. The front seats are also heated and cooled, something that not even all luxury cars costing much more than the Kia offer as standard.

The 8″ colour LCD touch screen has satellite navigation with SUNA traffic information. Under the sat nav options you can select what features of the roads around you that you want to be warned about. These include school zones, check speed, road narrows, merging lanes, animal crossing, children’s crossing, sharp corner, overtaking lane, black spot or railway crossing. It also has an alert for known speed and red light cameras, and this was very helpful when I was driving home during peak hour at night along unfamiliar roads.

Audio options include USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB and AM/FM radio. Voice control can be used to select media or make phone calls, but it only works when your phone is connected with a USB and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are in use. At the front of the centre console there is wireless charging for compatible smart phones, two 12V outlets and one USB outlet.

The huge panoramic glass roof really opens up the cabin and allows rear passengers to enjoy the view of the sky. The rear seats are big enough for two adults to travel comfortably in them and there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child restraint points, but it would be difficult to actually fit three car seats across the back. The seats have a 60/40 fold mechanism and a fold down central arm rest, rear passengers also get vents in the centre console with speed control only, one USB and one 12V at the base of the centre console.

The Sportage has a good sized boot that would pass the stroller and weekly shop test. It has a full size spare tyre, four tie down points and a couple of hooks for hanging your shopping bags in the boot. The Sportage has a 750km unbraked towing capacity and 1,900kg braked towing capacity. If you were towing a small camper trailer to your favourite camping spot you will be happy to know the Sportage has decent ground clearance. My method of testing this is whether or not my daughter complains that the SUV is too high for her to step into and she did complain with the Sportage.

All current Sportage models have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and come with driver and front passenger airbags, front side airbags and curtain airbags.  The GT-Line also gets the full-house of active safety features as well including rear cross traffic collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and departure warning that all work well. Plus blind spot assist, forward collision warning and avoidance and I know we are always meant to be concentrating 100% on the road, but as any parent will tell you this can be difficult when you have children in the car, so any features that help here are greatly appreciated. The GT-Line only has a standard rear view camera with parking sensors and it does also have park assist but this is something I trust on any car so I didn’t try it out.

The GT-Line also has auto-wipers and auto-lights and high beam assist and something that I think is great when you adjust your wipers and lights a display comes up on the driver’s dash to tell you when you have selected Auto. I do not know about you but in some cars I am not always sure when I have selected the Auto option and inevitably you turn them off when you actually want them on.

All Kia’s come with an Unlimited KM 7 Year Warranty and Capped Price Servicing, which tells you the maximum payable for specified number of manufacturer’s standard scheduled maintenance services up to 7 years or 105,000kms, whichever occurs first and for the Sportage GT-Line CRDi this amount is $3,580 for the 7 years. You also get Complimentary Roadside Assistance for the first year and this can be renewed yearly by completing scheduled maintenance services at Kia Dealerships (up to maximum 7 years).

Great, design, features and price – the Kia Sportage GT-Line is a winner.

The RRP for the Kia Sportage GT-Line CRDi is $47,690 and as tested with optional premium paint the Sportage was $48,210 plus on-road costs. This represents a whole lot of SUV for not all that much money and I can appreciate why I am seeing so many of those cheeky Sportage faces on the road. Visit you preferred Kia dealer and check out the EOFY deals they are currently offering.

Pros Cons
Great design, both inside and out The sound of the diesel engine on start up
Good price Voice control only works when phone connected via USB
Good fuel economy No 360o view camera

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.