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Kia Sportage ~ the age of adventure?

PUBLISHED: 16:21 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 10:33 21 February 2013

Kia Sportage ~ the age of adventure?

Kia Sportage ~ the age of adventure?

It's funny how people form emotional attachments to cars, as Steve Ghosley from Salfords-based motoring media agency Car and Driving explains of the Kia Sportage

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2011


Its funny how people form emotional attachments to cars, as Steve Ghosley from Salfords-based motoring media agency Car and Driving explains of the Kia Sportage

Ill always have a soft spot for the Kia Sportage purely because an acquaintance bought one and consistently referred to it as a Kia Sport-idge for the two years that he owned it, ignoring regular attempts to set him straight.

The MK2 Sportage was launched in 2005 and, mispronunciations aside, there wasnt a whole lot to raise a smile. It was an overwhelmingly ordinary compact 4x4 but it was cheap and one of relatively few such vehicles on the market. Today, competition is far tougher and the latest Sportage will need a broader appeal to succeed.

As has become fashionable with compact 4x4s, many of the entry-level Kia Sportage models that leave the showroom only have two-wheel-drive. For most owners, most of the time, this will be more than adequate but those looking for some off-road or towing ability and greater security in wet or icy conditions can choose a full 4x4 model.

The car has fully independent suspension front and rear with the option of fitting Kias Amplitude Selective Dampers, which adjust their firmness according to the speed of the vehicle. Steering is via an electric system that adjusts the level of assistance according to the speed.

Under the bonnet
The engine bay of the Sportage is populated by one of four powerplants. There are 1.7 or 2.0-litre common-rail diesels with 113 and 134bhp respectively or 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrols packing 138 and 161bhp. Performance is similar with the 2.0-litre units, as both manage the 0-62mph trial in under 11s with the manual gearbox installed.

Instantly looking like one of Kias most adventurous styling efforts to date, the Sportage follows the established compact 4x4 design cues. Its a longer and wider car than the previous generation model, bringing it in line with todays top compact 4x4s size-wise, but its also lower, helping it achieve a more streamlined profile.

The shoulder line is particularly high, making for a more dynamic appearance, while the large head and fog lights produce a distinctive front end. Inside, theres the same kind of sporty feel with a tiered dashboard and a high centre console dividing
the cabin.

The generous dimensions of the Sportage are made to count inside where efforts have been made to increase passenger space over the old car. Theres also a substantial boot measuring in at 564 litres when the rear seats are occupied or 1,353 litres when theyre folded down.

Kia seems to be well aware that the basic competence and value of its products isnt going to be enough to wrest sales from the big names in the European car market. Thats why its latest Sportage compact 4x4 is attempting to add some extra panache into the mix. First impressions are promising too: the car mixes bold design with advanced technology and clever engineering. There are a whole lot of similar vehicles to choose from but this Kia must be in with a shout.

At a glance:
Kia Sportage
Prices: 16,645-25,195 on the road
Insurance groups: 10-16 [1-50 groupings scale]
Co2 emissions: 135g/km-195g/km
Performance: [1.6GDi] 0-60mph 10.7s / top speed 111mph
Fuel consumption: [1.6 GDi] (combined) 44.1mpg
Standard safety features: ABS, ESP, four airbags
Will it fit in your garage? length/width/heightmm 4350/1800/1730mm
Who to see: Lovekyn Kia, 5 Ruxley Lane, Ewell KT19 0JB: 0208 393 0202 /

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