KIA's popular Sportage model has been around since 1995, but now there is an all-new fifth generation car and it really looks the business.
The vehicle has been designed specifically for European roads using a new architectural platform and the result is a car that boasts a muscular new look, a wealth of high-end technology and lots of choice for customers.
The five-door Sportage is on sale in trim levels called 2, GT-Line, 3, 4 and GT-Line S. And, at launch, it is available powered by a choice of petrol, diesel and mild hybrid engines with a plug-in hybrid version coming soon.
It costs between £26,745 to £43,795 and, as is the Kia way, there are very few optional extras to worry about.
The new Sportage looks more muscular in its design with a greater road presence. This is mainly down to a bolder front-end with a very modern interpretation of Kia's signature Tiger Nose grille. There is the option of a two-tone black roof, sweeping light clusters with LED daytime running lights, plus a selection of 17, 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels.
The vehicle has also grown a little and is now 30mm longer than its predecessor as well as being 10mm wider, 10mm higher and featuring a 10mm longer wheelbase. These new dimensions add to the athletic styling and all-round appeal of the family SUV.
Moving inside, there is a modern, upmarket cabin featuring an elegant layout with top notch upholstery, fixtures and fittings. The main focal point are two 12-inch touchscreens with a curved panoramic display. It's very futuristic, but delightfully easy to operate and get accustomed to.
All models are generously equipped with the likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, an upgraded Harmon Kardon premium sound system on higher models, a reversing camera with sensors, Bluetooth with music streaming, sat nav and much more besides.
We had the opportunity to put a couple of Sportage cars to the test and they didn't disappoint.
First up was the Sportage 1.6 GT-Line S HEV with six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. This model costs £40,245 and was powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol hybrid engine developing 226bhp and 350Nm of torque. It could power to 60mph from a standstill in 8.0 seconds and maxed out at 120mph while delivering a combined 44.1mpg with carbon emissions of 146g/km.
When it comes to performance, the new Sportage certainly packs a punch with good acceleration through the automatic gearbox and paddles to change gear manually. The precise steering delivers plenty of feedback and drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport alter the characteristics quite considerably, along with the layout on the information screen.
The road holding is nice and grippy through twisting B roads and it cruises quietly and effortlessly at 70mph on motorways too.
There is ample power on tap for quick bursts of pace to overtake and, with the elevated seating position, the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility.
In city centres, the car is agile and easy to manoeuvre, plus the wealth of parking aids will make you look an expert when squeezing into a tight space.
We also took to the road in the Sportage 1.6 T-GDi 3 petrol model with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. This car, with 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, was priced at £30,945 and could sprint from 0- 60mph in 9.9 seconds and had a top speed of 113mph. It could achieve a combined 41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 154g/km.
Despite being lesser-powered than the first test car, this Sportage also delivered the goods when faced with the open road. It was balanced, grounded and there was plenty of zip from the engine.
The interior was not quite so flashy and a few of the mod cons were missing too, but this model is almost Â£10k cheaper so it really does depend on the individual's budget and requirements.
Space within the new Sportage has improved thanks to the slightly larger dimensions. There is greater headroom, legroom and boot space than the outgoing model.
The boot can swallow 591 litres of luggage and that capacity increases to 1,780 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
The battery pack for HEV models is positioned beneath the back seats, so it does slightly impact on storage limits with a boot that ranges from 587 to 1,776 litres.
There are numerous storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a deep glovebox, a square central cubby box, door bins, seat back pockets, plus front and rear cup holders. High-end models also get a wireless charging pad. When it comes to family breaks, the new Sportage can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 1.65 tonnes.
The latest vehicle features a comprehensive range of Kia's DriveWise safety systems and driver assist aids to protect occupants and also help prevent accidents happening in the first place.
These include forward collision avoidance assist which now includes sensors for city, pedestrians, cyclists and junctions on all models. There is highway driving assist, smart cruise control with stop & go, lane follow assist, lane keep assist, blind spot collision avoidance with parking collision, avoidance assist on 4 and GT-Line S versions and these also gain remote park smart assist for autonomous parking in tight spaces.
When you factor in Kia's outstanding seven-year warranty, then the latest Sportage really is the complete package in an ever-growing SUV segment.