however, there is a reversing camera on this model...
The Kia Sportage feels more at home on the motorway and coping with city life, rather than out on country ‘B’ roads. The suspension is softly sprung, and is too unsettled to be inspiring with the electric power steering lacking any real feel. You can set the resistance (flexi-steer) of the steering via a button on the steering wheel, with three options available; comfort, normal and sport – but even in sport mode the steering does not inspire much confidence.
The driving position is good and on the top of the range model the driver’s seat is powered but lacks position memory. All-round vision is good and the elevated driving position gives a good command of the road ahead.
The rear ‘C’ pillars are quite thick, and the rear window aperture is smallish which can hamper some rear vision when reversing, however, there is a reversing camera on this model, plus front and rear parking sensors and Parallel Park Assist System (PPAS). At the press of a button the Sportage will automatically scan for parking spaces to the left or right of the vehicle. It will then prompt you when it has found a space it will fit into – and all you have to do is control the throttle and brake – and forward/reverse – it will automatically steer the car into the space.
Being a top of the range model aswell as ESP there is also hill descent control which is great when the weather becomes tricky or in off road conditions when you want to slowly descend a hill under control – it takes care of the throttle and brakes to ensure a safe descent at speeds of up to 5 miles per hour.
The model we were testing had all-wheel-drive, which is indicated by the KX – in front on the model trim, i.e. KX-4 in our case. We did not take the Sportage too far off road only down the track to our property, which can be a little tricky in the winter. The all-wheel-drive Sportage uses a system called ‘Dymax’ which is an electronically controlled single high-ratio all-wheel-drive system from Magna Powertrain. It automatically monitors the drive and is able to split the drive from 100% to the front wheels to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear should the conditions dictate more power is required at the rear axle. Drivers can lock the Sportage into 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 25mph should they wish to control power distribution manually.
Off road data from Kia, indicates that the Sportage has a ground clearance of 172 mm – and approach angle of 22.4 degrees, departure 27.8 degree and ramp over angle of 17.7 degrees.
In summary the Sportage really needs to keep body roll under control and it needs to address the soft ride to be able to compete with the class leaders.
What's It Like to Live With
It is an easy car to get in and out of – although the front seats do sit a little forward and the front roof line does follow a swooping line. The seats have a low-ish hip point and the sills are fairly low but as we always say you need to test it for yourself as access is subjective. There is a good amount of room inside – with good leg, head and shoulder room for all occupants.
The six-way powered driver’s seat helps you find the ideal seating position, shame it does not memorise your favourite position. The rear view mirror on this model is auto-dipping.
The driver’s seat supports height adjustment and the steering wheel which is heated can be adjusted for rake and reach. On the steering wheel you will find controls for the audio system, Bluetooth connectivity for compatible phones, cruise control and voice control.
The KX4 features keyless start/stop – and entry/locking – so you can keep your key in your pocket or handbag – a handy feature and of course you do not have to look for your keys at night. Although one word of warning make sure your partner does not have the key on them, when you drop them off – although the car will keep running, you cannot re-start if you do not have the key.
The windscreen wipers are rain sensitive and the headlights can be set to automatically come on at dusk or when entering a tunnel. This being a KX4 model the headlights are Xenon on dipped beam, Halogen/Xenon on full beam, there are also LED daytime running lights.
The rear seat folds on a 60:40 split but they do not fold completely flat and there is a useful arm rest between the rear seats with two cup holders. The boot is shallow when compared to the Honda CR-V, with the seats up the Sportage will carry 564 litres which increases to 1,353 litres with them down. There is a full size spare alloy wheel under the boot liner.
Being a KX-4 model we were treated to a full-length panoramic electric tilt and slide sunroof, welcome home headlights, Xenon headlights with washers, leather upholstery with heated front and rear seats, dual-zone climate control and a Parallel Park Assist System (PPAS) and a heated steering wheel.
The Kia Sportage is an easy car to live with and should accommodate most families’ needs.