Kia Sportage: Once more with feeling


What is it?

Kia Sportage is almost an ‘oldtimer’ in this day and age, having been around since 1993.

It’s undergone quite a few upgrades and changes in almost 30 years on the market.

The latest fifth generation is built on a new architecture and has fascinating styling.

It’s no longer aimed at buyers who simply want to move people, but designed to be stylish and even slightly upmarket.


What’s it cost?

Our test car is the Sportage GT-Line with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and premium paint, with a driveway pricing of $51,990.

The classic Kia Tiger Nose grille and boomerang-shaped daytime running lamps make a real styling statement.

At the rear, it has a what you could call a swooping fastback design.

Fifth-generation Sportage has boomerang-shaped LEDs, razor rear lights and a swooping, curved roof that gives it an almost coupe-like look.

The Snow While Pearl of our test car ties beautifully with the large black sunroof and black wheels.

Dual aero spoilers, one above the rear window the other below, add to the looks sporting looks.

The bold arrow-like shape of the daytime running lights certainly says they are there to provide more than visibility for other road users.

Inside there’s a curved 12.3-inch digital cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen in the GT-Line as tested.

It’s easy to see at a glance, minimising time the driver takes their eyes off the road.

The sound system is by Harman Kardon and can be easily adjusted to produce the sort of outputs we like.

Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance System technology helps the Sportage to avoid potential hazards.

The Intelligent Speed Limit Assist system available on the all-new Sportage detects speed signs through the front view camera.

Information is then displayed in the instrument cluster.

The optimised speed can then be used to set the Speed Limiter or Smart Cruise Control by confirming the speed limit.

Can’t say we are keen on this, as drivers know the correct speed for the road conditions, which may be below or above the posted speeds.

So, we don’t want our car lagging behind others on the road or charging up behind them.

On motorways this can lead to others coming up behind us having to change lanes, then get back into the correct lane in front of us.


What’s it go like?

Can’t say the black-on-black interior is to our tastes, but it’s the trendy thing these days so it will help to sell more Sportages.

The latest Sportage has a wheelbase of 2755mm, length of 4660mm, width of 1865mm and height of 1660mm.

There’s 1050mm legroom for second-row passengers and 1000mm headroom.

This is noticeably better than the outgoing model.

This means someone of my size and build can get comfortable in the rear without having to ask the driver to share space with me.

Three abreast in the rear seat is pretty good in this latest generation if the occupants are of normal width.

If one or more are on the tubby side it does get less comfortable.

The centre tunnel is low and doesn’t force the person in the centre seat to sit with their feet either side.

Power for Sportage comes from a variety of engines: 2.0-litre petrol (115kW/192Nm), 1.6-litre turbo-petrol (132kW/265Nm) or 2.0-litre diesel (137kW/416Nm).

The 1.6-litre is exclusively available on the GT-Line and SX+ variants and is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

It sends power to both the front and rear wheels for improved performance and handling, particularly in low grip situations.

Kia Sportage has been the subject of Kia Australia’s Local Ride and Handling Program, the Sportage is designed to cater to Australian roads and the style of driving Australians prefer.

Kia Australia’s Ride and Handling Engineer, Graeme Gambold, said: “While it’s been a challenge due to Covid complications and taken a little longer than usual, NQ5 is sporty, youthful, fun to drive, yet comfortable and capable of soaking up even the harshest of road conditions”.

It’s no sports machine but comes closer than we anticipated in the way it turns in promptly and is happy to change direction if the road tightens or loosens.

Debuting in the Sportage GT-Line is a 3D surround view monitor which optimises images from four cameras (front, side mirrors and rear) to provide a 360-degree view in various modes.

It allows the user to easily zoom and drag the camera view to suit their needs.

This is particularly useful when squeezing backwards into a tight spot in a carpark, especially an underground carpark with poor lighting.


What we like?

  • Upmarket feel
  • Info screen easy to see at a quick glance
  • Nice sound system
  • More rear seat legroom
  • 3D surround view monitor


What we don’t like?

  • Black-on-black interior not to taste
  • Intelligent Speed Limit Assist system


The bottom line?

Kia’s latest Sportage is a solid reworking of the models before it and it looks certain to continue the sales successes of its four ancestors.


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Kia Sportage GT-Line, priced from $51,990 driveaway
  • Looks - 9/10
  • Performance - 6/10
  • Safety - 7/10
  • Thirst - 6/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 7/10

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