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Kia Sportage – Expert review

Kia Sportage – Expert review

Snapshot: The Sportage will arrive late 2019, but we’ve just tasted it for a fair bit and come back very impressed.

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The big news from the last Auto Expo in Delhi was the impending arrival of Kia Motors in India. The carmaker had the one of the biggest stalls at the expo and a large number of showstoppers as well. While the SP concept SUV will be the companies first ever entry into India, we managed to borrow the bigger Sportage SUV from them to get a small sample of what Kia can offer Indian buyers when they finally arrive early 2018.

Exteriors

Dimensionally, the Kia Sportage is similar to the Hyundai Tucson. The face is dominated by a grille that Kia says has been inspired by a Tigers nose. The double barrel headlamp inside the big cluster looks cool as does the sculpted bumper. The side profile is sleek and won’t offend any but it’s the rear which really stands out. The brake lights are seemingly joined by a long single plastic cover made in red. It looks cool and sharp. The overall silhouette is one of a pretty SUV, which stands out from the crowd of other cars at the same price point.

Interiors

Get ready to be completely blown away by the sheer quality levels of the cabin. The Kia Sportage we tested can simply rival some German cars for sheer build and quality levels.  Every switch and button has a high class feel about it. The stalks for the indicators and wipers have a nice soft dampened effect embedded into them. There’s plenty of equipment too. Hill descent control, auto hold, electric hand brake, multiple airbags and panoramic sunroof are just a few features which stand out. You will also get Apple carplay and Android Auto on the infotainment system.

Space inside the cabin is generous and buyers will appreciate the deep boot as well. It’s really well shaped and there is no loading lip either.  

Engine, performance and gearbox

Internationally there are three engine options. Options include a 1.6-litre petrol along with a 1.7-diesel and 2-litre diesel. Kia offered us the 2-litre with 182bhp of power. You also get a six-speed automatic and– it’s best suited to stop/start driving in town, where the diesel’s smooth, quiet nature makes it easy to live with.

Power delivery is good and there is a wave of torque available at the end of the rev band.  You will never be felt wanting for more power when you are on the highway. Overall, performance is good as is refinement. The gearbox is also relatively quick witted.

Ride and handling

The high driving position makes the Sportage an easy car to drive around town as you get a good view out. The steering wheel won’t disappoint you. It’s light for city traffic and still has enough weight so you don’t feel nervous out on the highway.

This is the international version of the car we were driving so the suspension was set up for roads much smoother than ours. The good part of this firmer suspension is that the Sportage doesn’t lean in corners and also feels very stable and reassuring when on the highway. This is great for people who use the highway often. The flipside is that on slow city speeds the car will allow some potholes to enter the cabin. However this isn’t a sporty SUV.

Summary

If Kia Motors brings in this car with even 70-80 percent of the quality levels on the international version, then they are onto a big winner. If you can wait to buy a new car then the Sportage is worth the wait. In fact Kia Motors as a company is worth the wait.

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