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Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 SatNav 2WD

Click to view picture gallery“Something wickedly good-looking
  this way comes
its Kias new
  Sportage. Everybody knows that Kia
  make very good cars; now they
  make dramatic-looking ones, too
...”


FEW WOULD DENY THAT THE ALL-NEW SPORTAGE'S striking looks make just about anything else in this class (Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai, to name but two) appear rather dowdy. But then head-turners are what Peter Schreyer, Kia's design supremo, does best after all, he's the man who penned the original Audi TT.

With its handsomely aggressive lines, the Sportage is undeniably desirable. Proof, if any was needed, came from the genuine interest it attracted everywhere it stopped; from motorway service areas, petrol forecourts, and shopping centre car parks. Several serious enquirers were surprised it cost less than 30,000.

Just look at the pictures and see the highlights for yourself: clamshell bonnet running down to highly-distinctive slanted front lights with bright LED daytime running lights; sculpted wheel arches packed with standout 18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels; the unexpected but highly distinctive reverse-angle C-pillars and shapely rear haunches; and the ruler-straight trailing edges of the rear doors. Hard to believe that something this sexy could be on your drive for as little as 17,015 and that you could, like us, be getting 50mpg.

“Our hard-driven
1.7 CRDi returned
an impressive 49.2mpg
and we certainly
didn’t go out of our way
to drive economically.
Consequently,
real-world customers
should easily match the
official 52.3mpg
...
We tested the new eco-friendly 1.7 turbodiesel in top spec 3 SatNav trim; and even that only costs a smidgen over 23K 23,065, to be precise. Check out the equipment you get and even this proves to be a bargain price.

Standard kit includes tinted glass (with privacy glass to the rear windows and tailgate), full black leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, 7-inch touchscreen SatNav, dual-zone climate control, four electric windows, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, panoramic electric sunroof, auto lights, Xenon headlights with washers and auto levelling, cornering lights, speed-sensitive automatic door locking and rain-sensing wipers with de-icer function.

And that's not all there's also a rear view camera, reversing sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth with voice recognition, RDS radio/CD/MP3 player with iPod cable, LED daytime running lights, roof rails, 18-inch alloys and a mass of safety and security equipment including a full array of airbags, active front headrests and the all-important traction and stability control systems along with Hill Start Assist Control and a Roll Over Sensor. Plus peace of mind with Kia's 7-year/100,000-mile warranty.

The new 1.7-litre turbodiesel tested here is only available with front-wheel drive (some models have 4WD) and comes with a six-speed manual 'box. Alongside 114bhp it pumps out 192lb ft of torque from 1,250rpm. On the road that means relaxed, refined, and pretty rapid progress. And the smooth and precise gearchange action makes manual gear-swopping something you'll enjoy.

Kia's Intelligent Stop & Go system is standard-fit and the official fuel consumption figures are 52.3mpg for the combined cycle, 44.8 urban and 56.5mpg extra-urban. Our hard-driven 1.7 CRDi returned an impressive 49.2mpg and we certainly didn't go out of our way to drive economically. Consequently, real-world customers should easily match the official figures.

For the record, the Stop & Go system worked very smoothly; after the first few stop-starts you don't notice it at all. Reassuring is the fact that if the engine is warming-up after a cold start or the AirCon is working hard, then the ISG will not to stop the engine; and if you don't want it on, you can switch if off at any time.

The 1.7-litre unit makes for a satisfyingly 'laid back' drive, with power served up smoothly, particularly cruising motorways where an unstressed 2,500 revs will see you bowling along at a very relaxed 80mph. And despite the 107mph top speed and 0-60mph acceleration in 11.9 seconds, the performance never feels wanting. Engine sounds are well-muted and few passengers guessed correctly that there was a diesel in the engine bay.

“Not only are the front
seats heated
but so too are the back
outer pair.
Other nice touches
include great dials and
the easy-to-use 7-inch
touchscreen colour
display that interfaces
seamlessly with the
audio, Bluetooth, 3D
SatNav and rear-view
camera
...”
In spite of the sloping roofline and steeply-raked windscreen the cabin is pretty spacious it helps that there's a full-length (genuinely panoramic) glass roof that floods the cabin with light. And in case sunshine is not your thing, twin retractable sunshades are fitted.

The front section tilts and slides, opening all the way back to behind the front headrests. Powered one-shot operation for both open, close and tilt makes it easy to use on the move, and a pop-up deflector ensures no buffeting. The fixed rear glass panel is equally large, extending back past the rear headrests.

The fascia is sleek, neat and smartly finished; and you can't fault the cabin's build quality or attention to detail for instance, the smart and tactile rubber-and-chrome air vent control wheels; soft-touch trim materials that look good and feel good. Chrome and metallic highlights add to the pleasant ambience, as too does the textured fabric headlining. Thoughtful touches abound such as the overhead lights for the large vanity mirrors and sun visors that extend inwards to cover the area around the rear-view mirror.

The Sportage is a comfortable five-seater, made more inviting by the large, well-shaped and firmly-supportive seats upholstered in soft, smooth-grain black leather you even get leather-trimmed door armrests. Better still, not only are the front seats heated but so too are the back outer pair. Other nice touches include clear dials and the easy-to-use 7-inch touchscreen colour display that interfaces seamlessly with the audio, Bluetooth, 3D SatNav and rear-view camera.

The driver gets a 'command' driving position and a grippy leather-wrapped steering wheel that adjusts generously for both reach and height; easily differentiated 3D buttons for telephone, voice control, audio and cruise are all built-into the steering wheel.

To ensure the driver is as comfortable behind the wheel as can be, the seats have height and lumbar adjustment and the front seatbelts are also height-adjustable. On-demand powerfold mirrors are yet another convenience that, unlike most, work with the ignition on or off.

The driver also sits square-on to the wheel an important factor in long-distance comfort. Big footwells and a comfortable angle on the left-foot rest all make life easier for the person behind the wheel.

The sturdy traditional handbrake is right where you want it. The centre armrest big and padded is the right height for elbows and forearms, doesn't crowd the handbrake and tops a usefully deep storage box. The illuminated glovebox is of a good size and cooled. And the biggish door pockets hold bottles or cans. Another open tray ahead of the gearlever has a power socket plus USB, iPod and Aux-in connections.

“The Sportage feels
reassuringly competent
on the road,
cornering confidently
and generally proving to
be easily manoeuvrable
and well-mannered.
It also rides comfortably,
even on its dramatic
18-inch wheels
...”
Sitting in the back is an equally pleasant experience and the view out of the long rear windows is not restricted by the privacy glass. The raised rear bench can seat three adults side-by-side (plus there's ample foot room for the 'piggy in the middle').

The two outer seats match the fronts for looks and comfort, plus there's loads of legroom and foot room and the backrest is set at an accommodating angle, so rear passengers can stretch out and enjoy the ride.

A five-star Euro NCAP rating guarantees that you'll be as safe as possible wherever you sit. And parents will appreciate the Isofix child seat fixings built into the two outer rear seats.

The boot is a spacious 564 litres; drop and tumble the 60:40 split one-touch rear seats and the boot expands into a versatile 1,353-litre loadbay. The loading lip is at mid-thigh and although the folded rear seats don't lay totally flat, the loadbay is still practical and easy to use. And top marks to Kia for providing a full-size matching alloy spare wheel you don't see many of those about!

It looks like it's going fast even when it's standing still, so how does the Sportage drive? Very nicely, thank you. For a start it's an easy car to place on the road. The speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering has electric power assistance and feels precise and communicative enough for parking and quick driving; the turning circle is a tight town-friendly 10.5 metres.

Body control is well managed and overall the Sportage feels reassuringly competent on the road, cornering confidently and generally proving to be easily manoeuvrable and well-mannered.

The two-wheel drive set-up feels fine and the electronic stability control system is always watching out for you, ready to lend a hand if needs be. Brakes (all discs; ventilated up front) provide easy stopping power.

Even running on 18-inch wheels with 235/55 rubber the Sportage rode comfortably with no trace of the 'fidgeting' that big rims sometimes generate. And the diesel under the bonnet? It's quiet and copes well, even four-up. In fact, everybody who rode in 'our' Sportage wanted one.

In 1.7 CRDi 3 SatNav spec the Sportage has 'want one' written all over it. It's also an extremely well kitted-out, comfortable, five-door, five-seat crossover with real presence. And a conscience: most owners should see a consistent 50mpg. After a week driving the Sportage we were genuinely sad to see it go. And you can't say better than that! MotorBar

Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi
3 SatNav 2WD | 23,065
Top speed: 107mph | 0-60mph: 11.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 49.2mpg
Power: 114bhp | Torque: 192lb ft | CO2 143g/km