Irish roads are already awash with the good looking Kia Sportage but Kia Ireland have now completed the range with the arrival of the PHEV variant. Since its launch early this year the Sportage has been Kia Irelands best-selling car with sales to date of over 2300 units. Now with the addition of the PHEV they expect this number to grow as Irish punters not ready to make the switch to completely electric, get to take their first steps into the future with a plug-in hybrid. Kia are confident that with a home charger most of the daily commute can be done on EV power thanks to the 70 kilometers electric range. Then you also have the flexibility of making anxiety free longer weekend drives when needed thanks to the combustion engine. If you have yet to see the new Sportage on the road you are in for a real treat. From the sweeping bonnet, detailed black front grille, iconic boomerang-shaped LED daylight running lights, plus the all-new matrix headlights it looks sublime. Walking around the side it sits fantastic on large diamond cut alloy wheels giving it a strong silhouette. Towards the rear you notice the spoiler and razor-style signature LED taillights. It just looks modern and classy without being too fussy. Cars that are over-designed can sometimes age very fast but we anticipate this will stand the test of time!
I think ever since the KIA EV6 came out we all took a little more interest in Kia design both inside and out. Opening the door on the all-new Sportage GT-line and you get to immerse yourself in an interior that has been designed to deliver comfort and quality with cutting-edge technology just like the EV6 or new Niro. This new driver-centric experience is what all brands are going for and Kia has nailed it with the Sportage. Sitting at the centre of the cabin is a stunning curved display housing the 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster and a second 12.3-inch high-tech multimedia touchscreen. This feels more akin to a vehicle of twice the price if truth were told.
The leather D-cut steering wheel feels premium and the roof lining, door panels are trimmed using lovely materials with a touch of suede. On the tech side expect triple-zone climate control for front and rear passengers heated rear seats and ventilated front seats, a power operated tailgate, electric sunroof, an uprated Harman Kardon premium sound system, driver’s side memory seating, and front passenger lumbar support. Additional technologies include Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA), and Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA) to aid you getting into that tight space. Spending time in the new Sportage is not difficult regardless of your commute. Choose between Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity to flick on your favourite podcast and enjoy the journey!
This new Sportage PHEV features Kia’s award-winning 1.6-liter T-GDI engine. Along with being nippy, the advanced four-cylinder unit also features Continuous Variable Valve Duration, a sophisticated technology that controls the duration of a valve lift timing to dramatically improve performance, fuel economy and emissions. Both motor and engine are married to the latest-generation six-speed automatic transmission. The state-of-the-art 13.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack features a high-tech battery management unit that constantly monitors the state of the battery, including factors such as current, voltage, isolation and fault diagnosis. The pack also has an advanced cell-monitoring unit that measures cell voltage and temperature. This combination of electric and combustion power delivers a total system power output of 265hp, with 180hp originating from the T-GDI engine alone. The PHEV also gives you all-wheel drive should we experience a cold winter snap!
All new Kia’s come with standard driver assistance technologies to include Forward Collision Avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist recognition, junction crossing and Smart Cruise Control but the K3 cars coming to Ireland also have Motorway Driving Assist and Blind Spot Collision Avoidance for the rear. The K4 version adds Highway Driver Assist 2 and Forward Collision Avoidance 2 with additional functionality. Further driver aids include Remote Smart Parking Assist and Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist to make life with a Sportage even easier!
The Sportage PHEV comes on the market in two trims K3 at €46,000 and a K4 model at €48,000. The most popular right now is the K3 which comes with 19-inch alloys, dual zone climate control, smart cruise control, highway driving assist, heated front and rear seats, power adjustable front seats and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen with Kia Connect. The K4 model adds full leather trim, drivers’ memory seat, ventilated as well as heated front seats, 12.3-inch driver cluster and a phone charger. Naturally the demand for the Sportage is high but dealers still have some great finance/PCP deals currently available.
So at this point you know and understand what you are getting for your money with the new Kia Sportage. We spent a 7 days pottering around in both electric only and using the hybrid system to unleash the power of both power sources. Although the claimed range of 70 kilometers was difficult to achieve we did get close to 60km, which is pretty impressive. Overall it’s a very nice vehicle to live with, so much so, that we acquired one for a member of staff in the office directly after the test drive. The 7-year or 150,000km warranty gives you great piece of mind and there isn’t a lot at this price point with the amount of tech on offer that we would rather have on the driveway right now. Space is plentiful for occupants and although the boot swallows 540 litres, rather than the 591 litres you get in the non-plug in variants, you still have ample space with the option to drop the seats for more. Although new to the market it has already picked up numerous awards and we have no doubt it will do well at this years Irish Car Of The Year awards. If you would like a test drive be sure to visit one of Kia’s strong dealer network branches dotted all around Ireland. You wont be disappointed!