The Irish car market is improving as we speak. Since the economic crash, car sales have never been so high and every brand is ensuring that they make the most of the ever increasing new car sales. Kia Motors are no different and leading the way when it comes to their sales figures is the Kia Sportage. At the beginning of this year, the newest Kia Sportage was released to the Irish public following the successful launch of the bigger Kia Sorento. It would appear that Kia have their sights firmly fixed on delivering up to date models which will continue to look fresh well into the future. You only have to look out as you drive along the highways and by-ways to see that SUV’s are contributing massively to the new sales figures throughout Ireland.
The Kia Sportage has always been a good seller and in that sense the mantra of “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” comes to mind. What Kia have done with this newest version of the Sportage is ensure that it is still as recognisable as it was but it is now more up to date and capable of continuing to put it up to the ever increasing competition. This is the fourth generation Sportage and with it comes a bold new look which provides a sporty look from every angle. Kia’s now hallmark tiger-nose grille takes pride of place between the sweeping headlamps. Subtle changes have been made to the chassis resulting in the new Sportage being 40 mm longer overall.
There are three trim levels available with the Sportage; LX which starts from €25,695, EX which starts from €29,995 and the range topping GSE which has a price tag from €34,495. Kia would envisage that the EX model would be the most sought after given the host of comfort and safety features including 17” Alloys/Sat Nav & Reversing Camera/Drivers Power Seat /Half Leather Seats / Speed Limit Info/High Beam Assist and Lane Keep Assist. Kia’s 7-year warranty is also part of any package so regardless of what model you choose you can rest assured that you are covered.
The Sportage will also be available with two engine options – 1.7D for 2WD and 2.0D for AWD. The 1.7 engine has been refined for extra efficiency and with the addition of Idle Stop and Go technology the new Sportage moves from Band B2 to A4 with annual road tax now at €200 per year. The subject of this review is the perfectly capable 1.7 diesel engine paired with a 6 speed manual transmission and finished with the EX trim.
As you sit inside you can immediately see that Kia are not holding back when it comes to the quality of the finish that they have put into the new Sportage. Given that the test model is the Ex trim you can quickly get comfortable in the half leather seats. Space in the Sportage is plentiful in both the front and the rear seats with head and legroom both being increased with this new model. Boot space is also quite generous at 491 litres. This compares very well against all of the direct competitors to the Sportage such as the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and the Hyundai Tucson.
Once you have found your comfortable driving position you will immediately notice that everything is within easy reach from where you sit. Accessing the touchscreen infotainment system is very easy and with the inclusion of the quick access buttons positioned below the screen you can instantly access all of the essential driving information along with you Bluetooth connection, media player, sat nav and radio.
Over the past number of years Kia have come to prove themselves as being a very reliable brand when it comes to their power plants. This is evident in the fact that the new Sportage is powered by the same 1.7 diesel engine as before albeit with a few tweaks to ensure that it conforms to the newest standards of engine technologies. This engine delivers 115 bhp along with 280 Nm of torque which ensures that power delivery is never lagging behind. On the road, the Sportage handles very well and given its overall ride height it does not display too much body roll. This is also helped by the fully independent suspension systems on the front and rear axles. Road noise is also kept to a minimum. Given the power ability of the Sportage it is not the type of thing that you are going to be doing drag races in but it feels extremely safe inside and is well able to hold its own as it is put through its paces. All in all, it is a very good all-rounder and has the ability to put it up to even the stiffest of competition.
Engine Size – 1.7 CRDi
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 115hp
Torque – 280Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) –11.5 seconds
Top Speed – 176 km/h
CO2 Emissions – 119g/km
Road Tax – €200 Tax Band A
Base Price – €25,695
Price as Tested – €29,995