Kia Sportage 1.6

T-GDI GT-Line S 48V

DCT AWD

Kia Sportage, 2022, side
Kia Sportage, 2022, front
Kia Sportage, 2022, rear, action
Kia Sportage, 2022, interior
Kia Sportage, 2022, rear seats
Kia Sportage, 2022, boot

KIA'S best selling model in the UK has undergone a dramatic transformation - giving it a sensational new look and feel.

The fifth generation Sportage is bigger, more glamorous, more hi-tech and definitely more desirable.

And the new line-up features 10 models and a choice of eight different power trains with the option of petrol, diesel, mild hybrid, full hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

So whether you want to embrace electric technology or stay with conventional petrol and diesel Kia has all bases covered.

The new-look model is sleek yet muscular on the outside and glamorous yet practical on the inside with some offbeat new features - including special hooks for rear passengers' handbags on the backs of the front seat headrests.

The radical new front has a definite wow factor with a modern interpretation of Kia's signature Tiger Nose grille, a deep honeycomb cooling area, unmissable boomerang shaped lights and the redesigned Kia name badge.

Step inside and the first thing that strikes you is the new 12.3-inch curved panoramic display touchscreen which merges with the virtual dials in front of the driver.

In the case of the top-of-the-range GT-Line S model, driven here, there's a neat dial gearshift set in a piano black console alongside buttons for the heated and cooled seats as well as heated steering wheel. Rear seat passengers also get heated seats.

This spec model comes with a black headlining and seats trimmed in classy premium dark suede and leather and as you start the car the driver's seat - which has two memory settings - moves forward to your pre-set position and back as you turn the ignition off to allow easier exiting, a feature not too many years ago that was only available on Jaguars.

There's also a panoramic glass opening sunroof which stretches virtually the whole length of the car.

Powered by a 148bhp mild hybrid engine and with four-wheel-drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox the GT-Line S model not only features a choice of several driving modes but also terrain mode for those who want to take their car off-road.

Using terrain mode you can dial up snow, mud or sand mode and there's also a hill descent button for tackling steep declines.

Back on the road if you switch to eco the car will periodically go into "sailing" mode which cuts power when you are on a light accelerator to let the car coast, thereby saving fuel.

Built in Slovakia the new model has been tested exclusively on European roads ranging from Alpine routes to winding country roads and the results are impressive.

The ride is comfortable yet slightly firm with superb handling at low and high speed.

You can push on with confidence on snaking UK roads and at the same time the car always feels well planted and stable at high motorway speeds.

If you want to take matters into your own hands there are paddles behind the steering wheel to allow you to hang onto the gears and the Sportage responds well when you do. It's no hot hatch but it is lively and never feels lacking when you need power.

Kia must have done a lot of work on soundproofing too because this new model is exceptionally quiet and refined and more than a match for many premium German models.

The first Sportage was launched back in 1995 and good as it was in its day sold very much on value over substance because of its budget price as Kia battled to get known in the UK market.

Today the new Sportage is hardly a budget priced car and doesn't need to be because it's now an established and desirable model whose quality and credentials are now more than a match for any of its competitors

FAST FACTS

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT-Line S 48V DCT AWD

Price: £38,445

Mechanical: 148bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via seven speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 117 mph

0-62mph: 9.4 secs

Combined MPG: 40.4

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 158 g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 7yrs/1000,000 miles

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