We were achieving around 27.7 mpg on the school run and on short local trips...
The popular Kia Sportage SUV has been given a facelift for 2014, featuring a new grille, rear LED lighting on the top-of-the-range models with a shark-fin antenna mounted on the rear of the roof. There have been revisions to the interior including a new soft 'nano' paint finish which has been added to the dashboard and centre console and there is now centre console illumination and soft-touch upper door trims. The door-mounted audio tweeters have been repositioned to enhance sound quality. A new 4.3-inch TFT LCD colour touch-screen audio system with integrated rear-view camera features on higher grade models. Cars with Satellite Navigation now have a 7” screen with an-European navigation.
For 2014 there are five trim levels, ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ ‘3 Sat Nav’ and ‘4’, with the all-wheel-drive models been prefaced with ‘KX’. There is a choice of four engines a 1.6-litre petrol which might suit those of you who do low mileage – a 1.7-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre diesel unit available with two outputs (134 bhp / 181 bhp).
The 1.6-litre petrol and 1.7-litre diesel are front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2.0-litre diesel unit is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and is only available with all-wheel-drive.
The Sportage is built at Kia’s European plant in Zilina which is located in Slovakia, the Sportage’s closely related cousin the Hyundai ix35 is also produced here.
What we tested
We drove the top-of-the-range Kia Sportage KX-4 181 bhp 2.0-litre diesel automatic, with Dymax intelligent all-wheel-drive with an on the road price of £29,505.
We drove the 2.0-litre diesel model with six-speed automatic gearbox which outputs 181 bhp / delivering 392Nm of torque between 1,800-2,500 rpm. The automatic transmission offers slightly more torque than the 383Nm manual. Performance figures from Kia indicate a 0-62 mph time of 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 121 mph.
Our test car was fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox, which allows sequential manual changes via the gear lever, although there aren’t paddle shifts on the steering wheel. To be honest it is a case of sticking it into drive and forgetting about it, we doubt you will want to manually change gear except for the novelty factor.
There is some turbo lag and the automatic gearbox can take some time to respond to your input. Saying that, the 2.0-litre Sportage never feels lacking under normal conditions and feels brisk enough on the motorway but it can feel underpowered when overtaking on the open road.
You will notice the chatter from the diesel engine but overall sound proofing is good at lower speeds and the engine is not particularly intrusive. Although we did complain that there was some wind and road noise at speed, especially on the motorway.
We were achieving around 27.7 mpg on the school run and on short local trips, this increased to 37.8 mpg on motorway runs. This is not that far off the official NEDC figures of 31 mpg urban, 46.3 mpg extra urban and 39.2 mpg combined – remembering that these figures are not real-world results. The Co2 emissions for the Sportage 2.0-litre diesel automatic are recorded at 189 g/km putting it in VED band ‘J’ or when tested £265 per annum – although the first year is £485, which is covered in the on the road price.
The manual version can tow up to 2,000 kg braked or 1,600 kg with an automatic transmission – both can tow an un-braked trailer up to 750 kg. Trailer Stability Assist is now standard across the range, working in conjunction with the Electronic Stability Control system; it continuously monitors vehicle stability, gently applying some front braking force if it detects a potential loss of control. If this is insufficient, gentle all-wheel braking is introduced along with a reduction in engine power until the vehicle and trailer are stabilised.