1.6 T-GDi GT-Line
boom-time for Sports Utility
in 2015 they
almost a quarter of the European
over three million.
And with 5,000 ordered in its first
month of going on sale, Kias
all-new compact SUV, the Sportage,
is riding the wave...
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE and the Sportage has got
that covered with 18 trim versions, three engine variants (114bhp-182bhp) and
three different transmissions including a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. The
sportiest card in the deck is the more dramatically styled GT-Line which also
comes with something else new under its sculpted bonnet: a turbocharged 1.6-litre
T-GDi petrol engine.
Not only are bad weather and poor driving conditions countered by the Sportage's
4x4 system but off-road driving is also on the agenda: along with 172mm of ground
clearance, 4x4 Lock mode can be manually selected (simply by pressing the 4WD
LOCK button near the gearlever) for a 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to
intelligent all-wheel drive system is standard-fitment on Sportage models using
the 1.6 T-GDi engine and the 2.0-litre CRDi diesel units; those powered by the
non-turboed 1.6 GDi and the 1.7 CRDi diesels are front-wheel drive only.
system generally delivers
all of the engine torque
to the front wheels,
but this can be
redistributed up to a
maximum of 60:40
front-to-rear to enhance
cornering stability or if
the Sportage's 4x4 system generally delivers all of the engine torque to the
front wheels, but this can be redistributed up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear
to enhance cornering stability or if road conditions deteriorate. A new addition
is Advanced Traction Cornering Control, which monitors road speed, throttle
input, and steering angle and distributes torque between the left and right
wheels to maximise cornering stability.
Interestingly, in Europe the Sportage out-sells Audi's Q3, BMW's X1, Ford's
Kuga, Skoda's Yeti and even the Range Rover Evoque and the latest
Kia's good looks should see that continue.
Externally the GT-Line is identified by its exclusive 19-inch alloys, ice-cube
LED front foglights, high-gloss black 'blade mesh' radiator grille, body-coloured
exterior door handles with satin chrome inserts, satin chrome belt-line mouldings
and door sills, dual exhaust tailpipes and front and rear silver-finish skid
With a steeply angled windscreen sweeping seamlessly into its low sloping roofline,
racy-looking narrow side windows, deeply sculpted sides and bold wheel arches,
there's an appealingly rakish air to the Sportage.
The GT-Line's cabin is smartly finished and there's a premium ambiance that
makes you glad you opened the door: fine-looking black leather seats with diamond-pattern
grey leather centre panels and grey piping draw the eye. And they're as comfortable
as they look with quick to warm three-stage heating. There's also a fist of
headroom as well as plenty of room for elbows when using the all-black (even
its trim is dark satin chrome), flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel with
perforated work areas. Oh, yes… the driver also enjoys powered lumbar adjustment.
Getting behind the sporty wheel is easy thanks to the seat's slim but effective
bolstering, wide-opening doors and the fact that these latest models have a
40mm lower floor than previous models. From behind the wheel there's good front
and side visibility and the engine start button (the GT-Line has keyless entry
and start) is an easy finger-push away.
trim covers the cleanly-designed upper fascia and the central seven-inch touchscreen
display serves both infotainment and navigation, while in the instrument cluster
between crystal clear white-on-black dials there's a 4.2-inch TFT digital driver's
display that shows a wealth of information including roadside speed limits (helpfully
also shown on the navigation maps) with easy-jump menus.
wont hear any
complaints from those
travelling in the rear
cabin who, thanks to the
enjoy excellent room.
Multi-angle reclining rear
seatbacks are a big
bonus, as are heated
seats, so passengers can
lounge back, set their
own climate temperature
and chill out...
as buyers have come to expect from Kia, is comprehensive. GT-Line models come
well loaded with dual-zone climate, electric windows, powerfold and heated door
mirrors with LED indicators, auto-dimming rearview mirror, privacy glass (rear
side windows and tailgate), driver's powered lumbar adjustment, cooled glovebox,
reversing camera and reversing sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, auto
lights and wipes, DAB radio, Bluetooth (hands-free calls, music streaming and
voice recognition), USB and AUX ports.
And there's more: a touchscreen SatNav system linked to Kia Connected Services
with TomTom that provides full European mapping and detailed live traffic updates
with suggested alternative routes to avoid congestion, weather forecasts, speed
camera and accident blackspot alerts, and local services searches (500 categories
from Kia dealerships to petrol stations, restaurants and supermarkets, etc).
GT-Line models add an extra touch of luxury with their black-and-grey leather
upholstery, keyless entry and start, a D-pattern steering wheel (with remote
controls for phone, voice, driving info menu selection, cruise and speed limiter),
heated front and back seats, a 4.2-inch TFT instrument display, high-gloss black
centre fascia, black headlining, stainless steel pedals, silver stitching on
the steering wheel, front centre armrest and centre dashboard, and front parking
You won't hear any complaints from those travelling in the rear cabin who, thanks
to the increased wheelbase, enjoy excellent leg-, knee-, foot- and head-room.
Multi-angle reclining rear seatbacks are a big bonus and two can share the wide,
padded central armrest with built-in cupholders.
And both outer rear seats feature two-stage heating so passengers can lounge
back, set their own climate temperature and chill out. Yes, the Sportage will
take three in the rear cab and, courtesy of the low centre tunnel, there's no
sharing of foot room either. All three, incidentally, enjoy a fist of headroom
and good views out, even ahead over the bonnet thanks to the generous space
between the front seats.
Sportage is nothing if not practical, with bags of room for passengers' luggage
491 litres, to be precise. The 60:40 split rear seats fold almost
completely flat and expand the boot into a very usable 1,480-litre loadbay that's
easily accessible thanks to a high lifting tailgate and an all-on-a-level boot
load-sill that's 47mm lower than previously. The Sportage's two-position cargo
floor also has space to store the luggage cover cassette when not in use.
drivers still prefer
petrol and the turboed
1.6 doesnt disappoint,
serving up strong
acceleration as soon as
your right foot demands
it while staying
pleasantly quiet and
refined, even when its
with a six-speed manual 'box the 174bhp T-GDi (that's Turbocharged Gasoline
Direct injection) runs to 126mph and nips to 60mph in a zesty 9.2 seconds. Officially
this 1.6 turbo/6-speed manual combo is good for 37.2mpg a week's
pretty hard driving over 400 miles of mixed roads saw an overall average of
Given the choice, most drivers still prefer petrol and the 1.6-litre four-pot's
195lb ft of torque from 1,500 to 4,500rpm doesn't disappoint, serving up strong
acceleration as soon as your right foot demands it while staying pleasantly
quiet and refined, even when it's being extended not hard to do
as the manual gearbox's precise change action adds pleasure when making the
best use of its six ratios.
The previous Sportage was fun to drive; so too is this new one and that's down
to the much stiffer bodyshell torsional body stiffness is 39%
greater which has improved the driving dynamics, as too have the
extensively revised suspension geometry and a new rack-mounted Motor Driven
Power Steering system with decent 'feel'.
Handling is well-mannered and body lean is of the expected 'let you know' variety
that comes with most 'high-riders' rather than anything that interferes with
its grippy progress. On quicker, twisty roads it feels planted; on major blacktop
and on fast long-haul journeys it's reassuringly stable, comfortable, and refined.
It also, despite the large alloys wrapped in 245/45 rubber, rides compliantly.
Backing up your personal driving skills are a number of driver assist and safety
systems, including the expected ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and
Brake Assist to ensure maximum braking power in an emergency regardless of the
force applied to the pedal. As already mentioned, 4x4-specced cars also get
Advanced Traction Cornering Control. Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle
Stability Management (to counteract any tendency of the car to understeer or
oversteer in hard cornering or slippery conditions, or to pull to one side when
accelerating on roads with different levels of grip from left to right) can
also be taken for granted.
is equally well covered with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, six airbags
(front, front side and side curtain), Isofix top tethers and anchors for mounting
child seats, a passenger airbag cut-off switch (for a rear-facing child seat
in the front of the car), tyre pressure warning system, speed-sensing automatic
door locking, LED daytime running lamps, and cornering lights.
quicker, twisty roads
it feels planted;
on major blacktop and on
fast long-haul journeys
its reassuringly stable,
and refined. It also,
despite the large alloys,
addition there's Lane-Keep Assist, High Beam Assist (switches automatically
between full and dipped beam when it detects oncoming traffic or vehicles directly
ahead), and Speed Limit Information Function (uses the camera behind the rearview
mirror to read traffic signs and display speed limits and no-overtaking zones
in the instrument cluster).
Also keeping you safe are Downhill Brake Control (ensures the car maintains
a steady speed of 5mph when descending steep slopes), Hill-start Assist Control
and a Roll-over Sensor. And every Sportage has Trailer Stability Assist to prevent
a caravan or trailer (the 1.6 T-GDi can pull 1,900kg braked) from snaking in
The all-new Sportage will appeal to both existing owners and those new to the
brand as it has already proved: in its first three days on sale
Kia sold almost 1,500 of them! Its first month on sale also saw it enter the
UK's Top Ten best-seller list. Good news clearly travels fast; you should book
a test drive now!
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line
Maximum speed: 126mph | 0-60mph: 9.2 seconds | Test Average: 31.8mpg
Power: 174bhp | Torque: 195lb ft | CO2: 177g/km