Facelift, new technology and mild hybrid power up Kia Sportage SUV's appeal
The Sportage is a solid, well-priced SUV from Kia. It’s now been updated and gains more technology. Tristan Shale-Hester drives the new mild hybrid version.
Having established the Sportage as a mainstream affordable, well-equipped full-size SUV, Kia has launched a facelifted version with new technological features.
The design is more streamlined with new bumpers and updated headlight signatures, the upgraded infotainment system has a sleeker, frameless eight-inch touchscreen option, semi-autonomous features such as lane-keep assist are now standard on lower grades, the diesel engine has been downsized and there’s a mild hybrid powertrain.
Under the bonnet
The new 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine is economical and punchy – 58.9mpg, 320Nm of torque, 0-60mph in 11.4 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.
But the 2.0-litre turbo diesel 48V mild hybrid’s electric element gives great thump of 400Nm instant torque when you hit the accelerator and the 182bhp engine’s more potent.
There are also 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated and turbo petrol units, the latter offering 174bhp and 265Nm.
How it drives
Light steering makes the Sportage easy to manoeuvre while sport mode, at the press of a button, does a fantastic job of creating a much heftier feel for confident cornering.
The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission changes gears with a focus on performance or economy and has flappy paddles for manual gear shifting.
Space and comfort
Despite a few scratchy plastics lower down, acceptable in any non-premium model, the interior is generally a nice place to be. There’s an abundance of leather for a car of this value and, despite a wide range of gadgets, the buttons are laid out logically.
The optional eight-inch frameless touchscreen blends seamlessly into the dashboard with a pleasing symmetry between its digital layout and colour scheme and the other dials and instruments.
The £20,305 starting price buys a grade 1 model including 16in alloy wheels, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Grade 2, from £22,405, adds 17in alloys, satellite navigation and lane-keep and high-beam assist while GT-Line, from £25,510, features sporty styling, front parking sensors and keyless entry.
Sportage Edition 25, from £25,655, gets a premium sound system, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and premium paint. Grade 4, from £27,260, adds a panoramic sunroof, forward collision avoidance assist and blind spot collision warning.
Top-spec GT-Line S, from £31,245, includes adaptive cruise control, electrically adjustable seats, electronic parking brake, around view monitor, powered tailgate and wireless phone charger.
The Sportage is not the most interesting or stylish car but a winner in terms of drivability, practicality and affordability. And, with the mild hybrid powertrain, it could suit pretty much anyone’s needs.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Kia Sportage ‘GT-Line S’ 2.0 CRDi 48V AWD £34,545 (range from £20,305)
Engine: 2.0-litre, 182bhp 48V diesel mild hybrid with eight-speed automatic gearbox
Performance: 0-60mph 9.2 seconds; top speed 125mph
MPG: 48.7 combined
CO2 emissions: 152g/km