Kia Sportage 2.0

CRDi First Edition

Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi, front
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi, side
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi, rear
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi, interior
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi, boot
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi, rear seats

A QUICK scan through the new car lists reveals the vast the choice of SUVs/crossovers facing potential buyers.

There are more than 60 different models and if you count derivatives the list runs into several hundreds.

Amid this plethora of practical family transport, inevitably there are winners and losers. Among those well out in front is the Kia Sportage, which not only sells strongly against other crossovers but has become the South Korean firm's most popular model in the UK.

The range is wide with four different engines, a choice of four or two wheel drive and a variety of trim levels.

Now in its fourth generation, I drove the flagship 2.0 CRDi First Edition with four-wheel-drive and automatic transmission, which at £31,650 comes in for some stiff competition from premium badged German rivals as well as from established SUV standard-bearers such as Toyota and Nissan.

Some 40mm longer than the last version and with a 30mm greater wheelbase, it looks more muscular and purposeful and has noticeably more cabin space, particularly better legroom.

If you like the extrovert styling of the exterior, and most people seem to, the interior will knock you out. There's an impression of real luxury and quality about the fascia, which is dominated by an eight-inch touch screen.

Soft-touch plastics and exact detailing lift the cabin to a higher level. The centre console is angled slightly towards the driver, emphasising the car's sporty nature.

The First Edition gets just about all the trinkets and trim you could wish for, including panoramic sunroof, heated front and rear seats, two tone leather seating, front and rear reversing sensors and dual zone air con.

Kia has gone to considerable lengths to make the latest Sportage good to drive as well to look at. Suspension was remodelled to reduce roll angles without impairing the car's ability to soak up bumps over poor surfaces. And the steering has more road-feel than the average SUV, adding to driver satisfaction and involvement.

Most of the time the Sportage is driven by its front wheels, but when conditions get slippery 40 per cent of its power is relayed to the rear wheels. Cornering is precise and nimble.

The two-litre diesel engine pushes out 182bhp which gives it perfectly decent acceleration - 0 to 62mph in nine seconds - and a top speed of 125mph. Good insulation and a stiff, robust body help reduce noise levels to little more than a murmur.

Perhaps not quite so frugal as some of its rivals, it has CO2 emissions of 154g/km and a combined consumption of 47.9mpg. Most owners can expect to realistically achieve around the 40mpg mark in every day driving.

With nearly 500 litres of cargo space when both rows of seats are in place, the Sportage is among the most spacious crossovers. There's also large underfloor area to hide away valuables.

The load platform is relatively high but a power tailgate is standard and there are hooks to anchor down loose luggage items.

FAST FACTS

Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi First Edition

Price: £31,650

Mechanical:182bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 125mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.9

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 154g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

LATEST Kia NEWS

LOOKING at the latest Kia Sportage it seems hard to believe it has evolved from...

Read more View article

WHILE cheap and cheerful may once have been the watchword for Korean brand Kia,...

Read more View article

THE Kia Sportage launched in 2010 raised the bar for other mid-size crossovers...

Read more View article

LATEST NEWS

Google+