The Kia Sportage is a very well balanced and well behaved, remaining flat on fast bends and with the wide stance, there is a good combination of stability and agility.
The second tier has a glossy black panel that houses the controls for the dual-zone climate control, which also cools the glovebox. Moving to the right, the neat instrument binnacle has smart black dials with easily-read, white numerals and bright red needles.
It is safe to say that the new Kia Sportage is fully loaded. Apart from the things already mentioned here are some of the other highlights: speed-variable and automatic wipers with a built-in de-icer, automatic lights, powered and heated door mirrors with LED indicator repeaters, cruise control ad an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Safety systems come in the form of, twin front airbags, side airbags at the front and full length curtain airbags with rollover sensors. There is also ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and ISOFIX anchors and top tethers.
It sounds expensive but prices for the new Kia Sportage First Edition are an incredibly reasonable £20,777 for the manual version and £22,077 for the automatic.
As I mentioned earlier, these early Kia Sportage First Editions both house a new 2.0-litre, R-family common-rail turbodiesel unit, which offers an extra 7mpg and lower emissions, compared to the previous one. It produces 134bhp at 4,000rpm and 320Nm of torque between 1,800 and 2,500rpm. Both versions have a top speed of 116mph but the manual car completes the 0-62mph dash in 10.9 seconds as opposed to the 11.6 seconds of the automatic.
Although both are EuroV compliant, the different transmissions make a difference to the CO2 emissions, too with the manual emitting 156g/km putting it in VED Band G (£155) and the automatic in Band I (£300) with 183g/km. Fuel consumption for the 'stick-box' is posted as 40.4mpg for the urban cycle, 52.3mpg for the extra-urban and the combined works out as 47.1mpg. The relative figures for the automatic Kia Sportage are 31.7-, 47.9- and 40.4mpg.
When the rest of the range is launched there will other engine choices in the form of a 1.6petrol, a 1.7 turbo-diesel with Intelligent Stop/Go (ISG) and the option of 2WD in place of the new Dymax electronically-controlled, on-demand, AWD.
Under normal circumstances, 100 per cent of engine torque goes to the front wheels but it can be split up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear for extra cornering stability or slippery surfaces. Alternatively, for more serious off-road adventures, the system can be set in lock mode, giving a 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 25mph.
Most people will stick to the highways and byways and won't be disappointed. The idea of a crossover is to have hatchback-like driving with a command driving position and the new Kia Sportage scores well on both. Motorway cruising poses no problem although overtakes need a change down to sixth gear for best effect, while out in the sticks, it is easy to appreciate the positive but not laboured electric power steering.
The Kia Sportage is a very well balanced and well behaved, remaining flat on fast bends and with the wide stance, there is a good combination of stability and agility. It is car that is just so easy to drive; even for people moving up from the Kia Picanto. All this and Kia's seven-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, can't be bad. So, be warned, the new Kia Sportage First Edition is not likely to be in the showrooms for long.16 August 2010
Kia Sportage Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Kia Sportage First Edition|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||10.9 seconds|
|Top Speed||116 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||7 years / 100000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 16/08/10)||£20,777|