Kia’s tag line on its advertising is ‘The Power to Surprise’ – which I would suggest is no longer true!
That’s because the Korean car maker has been turning out such good cars in recent years that I, for one, am no longer surprised when I get behind the wheel.
That is because I now expect a Kia to be good and the new Sportage did not let me down.
At just £22,405 on the road our 1.6 GDi 2 model looked good, went well and had all the essential kit you could need.
That all-new 1591cc diesel four pot gives a 0 to 60 time of 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 113 while being capable of a claimed 44.1mpg on a run (in 130bhp form).
The kit list on this family SUV includes things like smart 17” alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, auto lights and wipers while inside there’s cruise control, dual auto air con, six speaker audio, 7” touchscreen with sat-nav, reversing camera and parking sensors.
Then there are the numerous safety systems – so numerous I don’t have space to mention them all here but top of the list are lane assist, driver attention warning, tyre pressure monitoring and hill start assist. Add to all that Kia’s famous 7 years/100,000 mile warranty and you have a pretty impressive package.
So what’s new for 2019? The whole car has had a makeover improving what was already an attractive design. Infotainment and active driver aids are upgraded, there is a new 1.6, 130 to 174bhp diesel engine (as fitted to our test model), GT-Line versions have been added for a sportier touch, there is a special ‘Edition 25’ to mark 25 years of Sportage production and 21 variants with five engine choices, three gearboxes and six trim levels means even more choice.
There’s also a 2.0-litre diesel with 184bhp that comes as standard with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. If you want petrol power, there’s a choice of two 1.6-litre engines. The cheapest comes exclusively with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, but it doesn’t get turbocharging
The turbocharged 1.6 T-GDi petrol is better but still needs revving harder than the diesels. You can have this engine with the standard six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive as standard.
Family SUVs don’t need to handle like a hatchback but the Sportage keeps body lean controlled through bends and stays more upright than rivals plus it grips well too.
All versions get a rear-view camera as standard, with rear parking sensors added on 2 trim. If you want front parking sensors, you’ll need to upgrade to a 4 model which also adds safety features like blind spot monitoring.
Even the most basic Sportage in 1 trim gets a 7.0in infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you really must have built-in sat-nav, you’ll need to upgrade to 2. Moving up to 4 or GT-Line S brings an eight inch touchscreen and a USB port for those in the back to charge their phones. The Sportage has a big boot, with a floor that’s flush with the rear seats when they’re folded down.
The 1.6 diesel in 2 trim is keenly priced, undercutting the equivalent Nissan Qashqai and has a spacious interior. Prices are from £20,305 for the base ‘1’ trim model with 1.6 diesel power (114bhp) up to £35,140 for the GT-Line S 2.0-litre CRDi 182bhp AWD auto.
More info at www.kia.co.uk
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth