Kia Sportage: Here’s the thing

Riley Riley


What is it?

Here’s the thing.

We own a Sportage. Not the latest one, but the last version of the previous model.

They did an update right before the end and you know what they say about the last of any model.

It’s coming up on 50,000km, with two years warranty remaining, and we’re thinking it is perhaps time to update.

With this in mind, I found myself comparing our car with the latest Sportage that we spent a couple of weeks in the other day.

Ours is top of the line Platinum edition, our test vehicle however was the entry level offering — but the basics are the same.

The looks, the powerhouse turbo diesel, and that attractive 7-year warranty — it’s a combo that takes some beating.


What’s it cost?

Our 2015 Sportage AWD CRDi Platinum was $45,590 new — say $46K with metallic paint.

Our test car, the entry AWD CRDi S is $35,790 plus on-roads. The equivalent GT-Line is $47,890 — or $2300 more than ours.

So what do you get for your money these days?

Both cars are powered by the same 2.0-litre turbo diesel, but the latest Sportage adds an 8-speed auto instead of the original six-cog unit.

The diesel in our car delivers 135kW of power and 392Nm of torque, the latter from 1800-2500 revs, with claimed fuel consumption of 7.2 L/100km.

The current model has been tweaked a little and produces 136kW and 400Nm, the torque over an extended range of 1750-2750 rpm, and sips diesel at the advertised rate of 6.4L/100km.

Not so noticeable are the physical differences between the two.

The new car is 45mm longer, with a 30mm longer wheelbase — but in fact offers less luggage space behind the rear seat.

Tow capacity has also increased, from 1600 to 1900kg, despite the fact kerb weight is only up 24kg to 1736kg.

Our car is equipped with leather and two-zone climate control, along with 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, auto lights and wipers, auto dimming mirror, heated seats front and back and power adjust driver’s seat, plus Bluetooth, twin sunroofs, satellite navigation, front and rear park sensors, and a premium Infinity audio system — one with a CD player.

Standard kit in the GT-Line includes 19-inch alloys, 10-way and 8-way power adjust front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, flat-bottomed sports wheel with gear-shift paddles, Intelligent Parking Assist System, panoramic sunroof,  wireless phone charging, hands-free power tailgate, auto cruise control, LED fog lights, and LED headlights with auto levelling.

The audio system is a JBL job, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as digital radio and satellite navigation with lifetime updates.

The big changes are in the safety department, with the addition of auto high beam, active cruise control, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist and blind spot alert.


What’s it go like?

As you might expect, the two cars are very similar to drive.

The 2.0-litre turbo diesel is turbine smooth and supremely powerful, providing effortless performance.

Our test car rides on 17-inch wheels, our Platinum car on 18s and the latest GT-Line on larger 19s.

Even with the larger wheels, the ride quality is noticeably better in both new models.

It’s smoother and more refined but maybe a little less sporty — it’s difficult to pick unless you drive them back to back.

Can’t say the differences in size are that noticeable, except in the luggage area which feels smaller — but the addition of rear air outlets are a big plus for back seat passengers.

The significant improvement in fuel consumption can be attributed to the 8-speed auto, with two more cogs to choose from and taller gearing that reduces highway consumption to a low 5.4L/100km.

We average around 8.8L/100km in our car, while the test vehicle was getting 7.0 after more than 1100km.

It’s an easy, effortless car to drive, with the addition of Sport mode this time around and the GT-Line even gets gear changes paddles — but they’re kinda overkill.

Although auto emergency braking is now standard, you only get adaptive cruise control with the GT-Line — we like adaptive cruise.

Same goes for blind spot alert — but lane keep assist is standard.

The Bluetooth system in our car is the source of much frustration, especially the lack of volume which has been well documented.

Swapping between phones also takes a very long time, while it continues to search for the last phone attached — sometimes it doesn’t hook up at all.

Not so with the latest system — plus you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (for what they’re worth).

The standard car is surprisingly well equipped with two-zone climate, digital speedo, auto lights and wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, rear parking sensors, plus auto emergency braking and lane keep assist.

The GT-Line comes with vented front seats and a power tailgate, but auto parking is not a biggie.

The CD player has disappeared and the rear seats are no longer heated.

Our test vehicle lacked satnav which is restricted to the more expensive SX and GT-Line grades.

Android Auto is offered as a substitute, but we had trouble hooking up the phone — and the choice of cable tends to be crucial.


What we like?

  • Better ride quality
  • Better fuel consumption
  • 8-speed auto
  • Rear air outlets
  • Digital speedo
  • Power tailgate
  • Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Active cruise control
  • Cooled front seats
  • Digital radio
  • 7-year warranty


What we don’t like?

  • Costs more
  • Flat, ugly American dash design
  • Loses heated rear seats
  • No CD player
  • USB outlet does not generate sufficient power


The bottom line?

Like the look of the car, which is evolutionary. Like the the mechanical improvements and better fuel economy. And I’d certainly like to fix our Bluetooth problem.

But don’t like the design of the dash. The extra safety gear — while welcome — is incidental.

It’s a maybe . . .


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Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi, priced from $35,790
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 8/10