DON'T let the profusion of initials put you off. The Kia Sportage 1.6T GDi HEV GT-Line AWD is an SUV that's got most angles covered.
With electric assistance it delivers modern technology in a practical family package yet is lively enough to satisfy the keener driver too.
Introduced recently to replace the last hugely successful Sportage, it's got a stiff fight on its hands as the competition regroups to combat one of the most successful all-purpose family cars of its generation.
With razor edge styling, a huge grille and distinctive design, the Sportage is determined to stand out from the crowd of square boxes that have become the norm in the surging crossover class.
Power comes partly from a 1.6litre petrol engine which supported by a 13.8kWh battery pack allows a decent electric only range. Altogether it amounts to a healthy 226bhp.
The spec also includes four-wheel-drive and a six-speed DCT automatic gearbox along with 12.3in infotainment screen, electric sliding panoramic sunroof, climate control, electrically adjustable heated seats and leather seating. So, in usual Kia style, it's all there bar the proverbial kitchen sink.
Designed specifically with Europe in mind, the new version is marginally smaller than the model that goes to other countries and has sharper handling. It doesn't, however, come slightly short of achieving the level of dynamic prowess of say the BMW X1 or Audi Q3, but the gap has undoubtedly narrowed.
With very little cornering roll yet impressive ability to absorb undulations, poor surfaces can be covered with assurance and comfort. Only when going slowly over pock-marked roads does the Sportage feel somewhat joggle as the suspension struggles to cushion its occupants.
The cabin has seen major improvements with higher grade materials and a general ambience now on a par with its more expensive German rivals. There are one or two niggles, however. Almost every time we made an adjustment to the main screen my hand or a finger brushed and activated the air-con or fan control, such is the close proximity of the switchgear.
Plenty of space for passengers and their baggage with copious bottle holders and oddment bins around the cabin and the boot are of a reasonable size although the luggage platform is set relatively high. The rear seats split and fold in usual style and the rake of the backrests can be adjusted according to the amount of cargo space required.
Floor the accelerator and you'll get warm-hatch like performance with 62mph coming up in around eight seconds. But keep the car in ‘eco' rather than ‘sport' mode and it will eke more than 40 miles out of a gallon.
We found the sport mode to make acceleration a tad nervous - maybe due to its quicker response - and preferred to travel most of the time in eco. Our average was 41mpg with a best of 50.5mpg.
Smart and bold looking, the latest Sportage carries on Kia's tradition of providing high standard family motoring at a reasonable price. And the seven year warranty remains a considerable attraction.
1,598cc, 226bhp 4cyl petrol engine, with electric power pack driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox