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KIA SPORTAGE

1.6T GDi ISG GT-Line 5dr

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Kia Sportage - By Jonathan Crouch

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

This improved fourth generation Kia's Sportage is an affordable mid-sized SUV that delivers even more of what buyers are looking for in this segment. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.

Ten Second Review

How did the Kia Sportage quietly develop from also-ran to front runner in the budget SUV stakes? By offering more of what people want, that's how. This improved fourth generation car now delivers mild hybrid diesel technology for the first time, plus gets an all-new entry-level diesel engine too, along with smarter looks, more safety kit and extra media connectivity. The motto here seems to be 'If it aint broke, try even harder to fix it'.

Background

It might be easy to believe that the market for compact and mid-sized SUVs hasn't essentially changed all that much in the last ten years, but it's now radically different and the biggest beneficiary of these changes has been Kia, and more specifically its Sportage. Consider this. Just over ten years ago, you could pick up a brand new entry level Land Rover Freelander for under £16,000. Even as I'm typing this, I'm double checking to see if that's correct. It is. Nowadays the Freelander's Discovery Sport replacement would probably set you back well over £30,000. That's a massive increase. Yet the Office of National Statistics tells us that the average annual wage over the same period rose by 37%. What it all means is that a huge amount of buyers are being priced out of the SUV market. That's something that Kia not only recognised, but also put itself in prime position to capitalise on with its impressive fourth generation Sportage. This revised version of that car gets a smarter look inside and out and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety. If you're buying a mid-sized SUV or a Qashqai-like Crossover model in this segment, it's well worth a look.

Driving Experience

This improved fourth generation model carries over many of the mechanicals of its predecessor, but adds some new technology too. As before, buyers get a choice of both front and four wheel drive models. And engines? Well the petrol range is made up of a normally aspirated 1.6-litre GDI 130bhp unit and a much pokier T-GDI turbo 174bhp powerplant. Go for the T-GDI variant and you get the option of the brand's seven-speed 7DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox, also offered elsewhere in the range. Most Sportage buyers though, want a diesel. For buyers wanting to fuel from the black pump, the range starts with a 114bhp 1.6-litre CRDi variant, which uses the brands new 'U3'-series engine. The key news here though, lies with the 2.0-litre CRDi version, which now features Kia's first mild hybrid diesel powertrain. The system supplements acceleration with power from a compact 0.44 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery, and extends engine 'off time' with a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit. The MHSG is connected by belt to the engine's crankshaft, and switches seamlessly between 'motor' and 'generator' modes. In 'motor' mode the battery is discharged under acceleration, providing power assistance to the engine, to reduce engine load and emissions. Under deceleration - when braking, or coasting towards a junction or downhill - the MHSG switches to 'generator' mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery on-the-go.

Design and Build

Kia has lightly updated this MK4 Sportage model's looks. At the front, there's a redesigned front bumper with smarter fog lamp housings, plus an evolved version of the brand's 'tiger-nose' grille. Sleeker full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights also feature. At the rear, the slim combination lamps feature a more distinctive C-shaped LED light signature. The reversing lamp is integrated into a restyled rear bumper with longer reflectors positioned below and is finished with a flash of chrome across its base. In profile, the upgraded model is available with more stylish 16, 17 and 19-inch alloy wheel designs, and some versions have the sill trim finished in chrome. Inside, minor upgrades include a redesigned steering wheel, a revised driver instrument cluster and smarter ventilation controls. The infotainment systems in the Sportage have been upgraded. Depending on trim, there is either a 7.0-inch touchscreen or a new 'frameless' 8.0-inch system, each with DAB digital radio. All satellite navigation systems include Kia's Connected Services powered by TomTom as standard, offering a wide range of driving-oriented information. As before, the cabin is decently spacious, with plenty of headroom front and rear. At the back, the seats recline for greater long distance comfort. Out back, boot space is rated at 503-litres.

Market and Model

Prices are much as they were before, starting at around £20,500 and rising to around £35,000. There's a choice of '1', '2', '4', 'GT-Line' and 'GT-Line S' trim levels. An AWD 4x4 system is either optional or standard on most models, as is Kia's 7-speed 7DCT auto transmission. All models come well equipped. Even the grade '1' variants come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition, automatic light control, a reversing camera system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. In addition, there's Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and cruise control. All models from grade '2' spec have a Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) to alert a tired driver who may be about to stray into the path of a vehicle approaching from behind. Plus High Beam Assist (HBA) to switch between full and dipped beam automatically when there are other vehicles in their vicinity on unlit roads. And a Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) within the instrument cluster.

Cost of Ownership

The Sportage engine line-up now conforms to Euro 6d TEMP emissions standard. In keeping with that, Kia's Gamma direct injection 1.6-litre petrol engine (offered in normally aspirated or turbo forms) now has an updated particulate filter. And the old 1.7-litre CRDi diesel has been replaced by a new 'U3' 1.6-litre diesel that delivers 57.6mpg on the combined cycle and 130g/km. Which is a useful step up from the figures you get with the base 1.6-litre GDi petrol normally aspirated unit (39.8mpg and 162g/km). The big news with this facelifted Sportage though, is the introduction of an electrified 'mild hybrid' powertrain for the 2.0-litre CRDi diesel model. Here, the engine is assisted by a compact starter-generator unit belt-connected to the crankshaft. Power for the 48V Ecodynamics+ system comes from a small lithium ion battery mounted beneath the boot floor and the 13bhp electrical boost it facilitates takes the Sportage's total output to 195bhp. When you lift off the throttle to coast, or use the brakes, the starter becomes a generator, recharging the battery with energy that you'd otherwise lose in the form of heat. Kia claims that this technology improves efficiency by up to 4%. All Sportage models, like all Kias, get the brand's impressive 7-year warranty.

Summary

Have the updates made to this improved fourth generation Kia Sportage been sufficient to keep buyers loyal? It's true that they could have been more far-reaching, but there's just enough here to keep existing customers happy, we think. That's important as Kia is fortunate enough to have quite a few of these people in the UK, thanks to the impressive sales success achieved by earlier generation versions of this car. This enhanced MK4 model offers these folk a little more technology and, as before, they'll like the generous equipment levels and long warranty. Ultimately, it's a car you sit in and wonder just how so many rivals can really be worth around £5,000 more. That says it all really.

Kia Sportage - The improved fourth generation Kia Sportage would make a value-orientated alternative for buyers interested in family crossover models like Nissan's Qashqai or Peugeot's 3008. June Neary tries it.

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

The improved fourth generation Kia Sportage would make a value-orientated alternative for buyers interested in family crossover models like Nissan's Qashqai or Peugeot's 3008. June Neary tries it.

Will It Suit Me?

My family would rather like one of those family-sized Qashqai-style crossover models, but I was a little shocked to find that they often tend to be a tad pricey. Kia's Sportage claims to offer customers like me more of a value proposition, so I thought I'd check out the much improved fourth generation version.

Practicalities

Is this Sportage quite as smart as its third generation predecessor? Having seen the car in pictures, I had my doubts but it doesn't look a badly proportioned thing in the metal. At the front, there's a redesigned front bumper with smarter fog lamp housings, plus an evolved version of the brand's 'tiger-nose' grille. Sleeker full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights also feature. At the rear, the slim combination lamps feature a more distinctive C-shaped LED light signature. The interior too has clearly had some attention spent on it above and beyond what you'd normally expect at this price point. Minor upgrades include a redesigned steering wheel, a revised driver instrument cluster and smarter ventilation controls. The infotainment systems in the Sportage have been upgraded. Depending on trim, there is either a 7.0-inch touchscreen or a new 'frameless' 8.0-inch system, each with DAB digital radio. All satellite navigation systems include Kia's Connected Services powered by TomTom as standard, offering a wide range of driving-oriented information. As you'll find if you look hard enough, the designers have clearly had some cost restraints to work to but on first acquaintance with the cabin, you really don't notice the fact, the over-riding impression instead being of crisp, clean quality, with everything seemingly very nicely screwed together by the Czech factory. The cowled instrument cluster with its big centrally-mounted speedometer is clear and effective and there's tonnes of adjustment for both the driver's seat and the steering wheel. Storage space includes a deep centre console bin, large door pockets and a glovebox that's air-conditioned. A relatively lengthy wheelbase means that the cabin is quite spacious too, with decent headroom front and rear. At the back, the seats recline for greater long distance comfort. Out back, boot space is rated at 503-litres. Easily enough to fit in a couple of pushchairs then.

Behind the Wheel

Behind the wheel, the feeling is far more RAV4 and Honda CR-V-style SUV-like than the more ordinary family hatch-like feel of the Nissan Qashqais and Peugeot 3008s that Kia says this car competes against. A lot of buyers will think that a very good thing. It's certainly impressive the way that the designers have managed to combine a commanding driving position with a seat that's easy to slide in and out of. High-sided flanks, a nose invisible from the driver's seat and a small rear window do make this a car that demands a little adjustment if you're trading up from something more conventional, but once you adapt, you should find this Sportage to be an easy thing to live with. The petrol range is made up of a normally aspirated 1.6-litre GDI 132PS unit and a much pokier T-GDI turbo 177PS powerplant. Go for the T-GDI variant and you get the option of the brand's latest seven-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Most Sportage buyers though, want a diesel. For buyers wanting to fuel from the black pump, the range starts with a 114PS 1.6-litre CRDi variant. Above that, there's a 2.0-litre CRDi option, which now features Kia's first mild hybrid diesel powertrain. The system supplements acceleration with power from a compact 0.44 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery, and extends engine 'off time' with a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit. Whatever engine you decide upon, you should find that refinement levels are quite impressive for this class of car. As before, buyers get a choice of both front and four wheel drive models, with changes to steering and suspension promising a slightly more involving on-tarmac experience. If that's a priority for you, then you might want to look at one of the GT Line variants, which are supposed to feature sharper, more athletic handling and deliver a slightly firmer ride.

Value For Money

Further evidence for my conclusion that this fourth generation Kia Sportage is neither Qashqai-like Crossover or RAV4-like SUV but actually a bit of both comes with the pricing chosen by the UK importers. Most Sportages straddle both categories, with pricing in the £21,000 to £35,000 bracket. Equipment levels have been boosted across the range. Even the grade '1' variants come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition, automatic light control, a reversing camera system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. In addition, there's Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and cruise control. All models from grade '2' spec have a Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) to alert a tired driver who may be about to stray into the path of a vehicle approaching from behind. Plus High Beam Assist (HBA) to switch between full and dipped beam automatically when there are other vehicles in their vicinity on unlit roads. And a Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) within the instrument cluster. Efficiency levels are much as before, not surprising given that the mainstream engines are little different from those supplied with the previous generation version of this car. This means that the best-performing mainstream Sportage from an economy and emissions perspective remains the front-wheel drive 1.6 CRDi diesel which manages 57.6mpg on the combined cycle and 130g/km of CO2. Like the rest of the Kia range, the Sportage is sold with the excellent seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty. It is fully transferable should the car be sold before the time or mileage limits have been reached. Fixed cost servicing also brings additional peace of mind via the Kia Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing package, offering retail customers inflation-proof servicing for the first three or five years.

Could I Live With One?

Provided that you're not expecting a really sporty SUV or an off-roader in the traditional sense of the word, it's hard to see how this Kia Sportage would disappoint. It's well built, it rides well, there's a strong range of engines, a choice of front or four-wheel drive and - the clincher for many - it looks smart. This South Korean brand has made huge strides in terms of design sophistication, engine efficiency and marketing savvy in recent years, all of which is reflected in this car. It's worth checking out.

Trim - Leather

  • Leather - Black with red piping and stitching (£0.00)

Paint - Metallic

  • Metallic - Lunar silver (£595.00)
  • Metallic - Phantom black (£595.00)
  • Metallic - Infra Red (£595.00)
  • Metallic - Fusion white (£595.00)
  • Metallic - Flame blue (£595.00)
  • Metallic - Dark Penta Metal (£595.00)

Exterior Body Features

  • Metallic paint (£595.00)
  • Solid paint

Paint - Solid

  • Solid - Copper stone (£0.00)

General

  • Coin Series: GT-Line
  • Coin Description: T GDi
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 7
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 6
  • Safety Concerns?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 21A
  • Service Interval Mileage: 10000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 90
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 83
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 66
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 71
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • Badge Power: 174
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.6
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: True
  • EC Urban (mpg): 29.4
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 44.8
  • EC Combined (mpg): 37.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 27.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 36.2
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 34
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 34.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 10.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 7.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 8.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 8.1

Engine and Drive Train

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 77
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 85.4
  • CC: 1591
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • Gears: 6 SPEED

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 8.9
  • Top Speed: 127
  • Engine Power - BHP: 174
  • Engine Power - PS: False
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): True
  • Engine Power - KW: 130
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 195
  • Engine Torque - NM: 265
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1500
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 27

Weight and Capacities

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1545
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2110
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 62
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1900
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Max. Loading Weight: 565
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 491
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1480
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11

Emissions - ICE

  • CO2 (g/km): 173
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • Noise Level dB(A): 72
  • CO: 0.308
  • HC: 0.027
  • NOx: 0.008
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: 0.0002
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 184

Tyres

  • Tyre Size Front: 245/45 R19
  • Tyre Size Rear: 245/45 R19
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Length: 4495
  • Width: 1855
  • Wheelbase: 2670
  • Width (including mirrors): N
  • Height: 1635
  • Height (including roof rails): 1645

Fuel Economy

  • 37.7 MPG (Combined)
  • 29.4 MPG (Urban)
  • 44.8 MPG (Extra Urban)
Fuel Tank Size: 62 Litres

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