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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Kia Sportage GT-Line S 2.0 CRDi 48V Auto AWD

Click to view picture gallery“Im OK, you’re OK is a self-help
  system for solving life’s problems
  using transactional analysis;
  a quicker way might be to get
  behind the wheel of one of Kia’s
  best-selling Sportage models —
  a sure way to tune up your mojo!

HEADLINING THE KOREAN CARMAKER'S SUV Sportage range is a new mild-hybrid version that uses ride-along battery power to boost a 2.0-litre turbodiesel. It's not a full-on electrification job (so no plugging into the mains before you go up the stairs to Bedfordshire at night) but provides enough extra power to partner the main diesel unit and add a fillip of extra performance whenever you hoof the accelerator.

The good news is you need do nothing at all: the boost is delivered via a supplementary 48-volt Ecodynamics+ electrical system using a combined motor-cum-generator that automatically switches between delivering extra punch to the engine and recharging the lithium-ion cells (mounted beneath the boot floor) when braking or coasting.

For a biggish SUV
measuring 4.6-metres
nose-to-tail, the Sportage
doesn’t look that big
from the outside — mark
that down to the well-
judged styling.
However, open a door —
access is easy and
they close with a well-
engineered ‘thunk’ —
and you’ll find room

to spare...”
Looks-wise the recently facelifted Sportage stands out from the crowd. Fronted by a strong and characterful nose with 'blade' mesh grille treatment, it's visually SUV-ish enough without crossing the line into macho territory.

Teardrop-style LED headlamp units stretch back along the crests of the wings towards a steeply raked windscreen while a clean-cut glasshouse with long side windows caps the deep body before coming to an end in a full-width tailgate-topping spoiler. Slim wraparound horizontal taillight clusters and a silver painted rear skid plate with precisely-integrated exhaust tailpipes neatly finish off the Sportage's rear-end.

For a biggish SUV measuring 4.6-metres nose-to-tail, the Sportage doesn't look that big from the outside — mark that down to the well-judged styling. However, open a door — access is easy and they close with a well-engineered 'thunk' — and you'll find room to spare. The big, well padded and nicely bolstered leather seats (with smart red detail stitching and piping) are fully powered: 10-way for the driver including lumbar; 8-way for the passenger; and both with three-stage heating and cooling.

Settle back in either one and you'll find it to be as supportive and comfortable as it looks, with commanding views out. Well above your head a panoramic glass sunroof fills the spacious cabin with light — unless, that is, you've got the one-shot blackout sunblind closed. Even better, driving with it fully open at real-life speeds there's no buffeting.

Not that you need all that glorious light to find your way around the controls — the dash is logically laid out, with switchgear grouped sensibly and all easily identified the first time out. The multifunction three-spoke steering wheel is a hub for distraction-free operation on the move of everything from voice control, cruise and speed limiter, phone, infotainment functions, and driver's information. It's also sportingly flat-bottomed, wrapped in perforated leather and heated.

All the de rigueur tech stuff is provided, starting with a first-rate eight-inch high-res touchscreen infotainment system with built-in SatNav that works a treat thanks to fast and responsive menus and sharp graphics. The navigation, powered by TomTom, offers a range of useful driving-orientated information including speed camera locations and alerts, live traffic updates, local search, weather forecasts, and even the price of fuel at nearby filling stations as well the location and real-time availability of parking spaces.

Easy-peasy smartphone mirroring is via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both with voice control. Naturally Bluetooth with music streaming and a DAB radio are also standard-fit items, as too is an eight-speaker, 320-watt, JBL sound system (with sub-woofer, external amp and front centre speaker), a 360-degree bird's-eye view camera parking system and, still a luxury even on many prestige-badged cars, wireless phone charging.

All the de rigueur tech
stuff is provided, starting
with a first-rate
eight-inch high-res
touchscreen infotainment
system with built-in
SatNav that works a treat
thanks to fast and
responsive menus and
sharp graphics.
The navigation, powered
by TomTom, offers
a range of useful
driving-orientated
information...”
A comprehensive range of information is additionally displayed on a TFT screen between the two main trad-look and very clear dials for revs and speed — all of it easy to read both day and night — plus there's the indispensable digital speed readout supported by the posted speed limit.

In-cabin storage will easily cope with family demands: a big centre storage box between the front seats capped by a padded armrest, one-litre bottle-holding door bins, a practical glovebox, large cupholders, and a drop-down case for your shades.

The GT-Line S is Top-of-the-Sportage-Pops — and consequently it tops the lot for kit. It comes with everything you might conceivably want, much of it mentioned throughout the review.

In addition to that there's keyless entry and locking with an engine Start button, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, powerfold door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving), four electric windows (one-shot up/down fronts), adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, dip/main beam automatic switching, automatic drive-away door locking, auto lights and wipes, stainless steel pedals, roof rails, and a set of attractive 19-inch alloy wheels.

Along with a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating there's a full suite of airbags, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision avoidance, lane keep assist, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, hill-start assist, a driver attention warning system, full LED lights with four-point LED daytime running lights, height-adjustable front belts, tyre pressure monitoring, and front wiper de-icing.

Any passengers shown to a back seat rather than the chair beside the driver will be resentful for only the few seconds it takes to climb aboard through the wide opening door and settle back in their seat. Not only is each well-shaped outer seat and its adjustable reclining backrest comfortable, but it offers two stages of heating and generous elbow, leg, and foot room along with a full fist of headroom.

Added benefits include a shareable padded central armrest with built-in cupholders, bottle-holding door bins, netted seatback pouches, dedicated rear cabin air vents, USB charging and 12v power points and the panoramic glass sunroof which creates a refreshing 'open cabriolet' sense of space. Yet another inducement to travelling in the back is that you sit six-inches higher and, thanks to a lower-than-usual window base line and generous glazing, even non-adult passengers enjoy unrestricted views out. Should you need to seat three side-by-side, there will be no complaints. Naturally Isofix anchor points for child seats are also provided.

Rolling on 19-inch
alloys, the top-spec
Sportage nevertheless
serves up a decent ride
even on raggedy
blacktop. Add that to
decent body control that
ensures passengers
aren’t disturbed or
jostled when the driver
accelerates or brakes
and you can be sure
of plenty of satisfied
passengers...”
Rolling on 19-inch alloys, the top-spec Sportage nevertheless serves up a decent ride even on raggedy blacktop. Add that to decent body control that ensures passengers aren't disturbed or jostled when the driver accelerates or brakes and you can be sure of plenty of satisfied passengers.

All good news for what is, after all, a high-riding SUV. Some varieties of the breed can feel a tad 'pitchy' when pressing on through the twisties — but not the Sportage! The worst you can say about it is that your back-seat passengers are more than likely to nod off on long journeys. And we'd call that a result!

Despite the mild-hybrid twist, the heart of this Sportage is its new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel that kicks out a hefty 182bhp backed by a muscular 295lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm — enough to deliver an unflustered zero to 60mph push in 9.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 125mph.

On the go, the turbodiesel is decently refined, pulling keenly through the eight gears; and unless you really stamp the accelerator its mechanical soundtrack is no more than a distant and reassuring hum. You're rarely aware of the hybrid hardware apart from when your right foot demands full speed ahead and the 48-volt hit of extra power (16bhp's worth) is delivered.

While the autobox kicks down cleanly when you need it, for more precise control there are paddle-shifters on the steering wheel. Left to its own devices, the torque-converter autobox is satisfyingly smooth and unintrusive, and adds a welcome sense of calm when cruising. While you might think a big, four-wheel drive automatic SUV would slurp the fuel, this mild-hybrid doesn't; officially its Combined Cycle figure is 48.7mpg — in our unforgiving road test we recorded an overall average of 44.3mpg.

On quick A- and B-roads the sure-footed GT-Line S flows along very trimly indeed. The suspension of GT-Line models feels a tad firmer than lower grade versions but then it's intended to provide more athletic handling. With whenever-you-need-it four-wheel grip always automatically on call, there are no worries should you inadvertently push too hard — the only 'penalty', if you could call it that, is some gentle and well signalled understeer; the average driver will likely never go there but will, in fact, be glad of it given that many owners will be using their Sportage as fully-fledged family transport, so safe is definitely good.

For the record, the intelligent all-wheel drive normally deliver 100 percent of engine torque to the front wheels but this can be redistributed up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear if road conditions deteriorate or to enhance cornering stability. Off-road, pressing the lock mode button alongside the selector lever provides a 50:50 torque split maintained at speeds of up to 25mph.

On quick A- and B-roads
the sure-footed
GT-Line S flows along
very trimly indeed.
The suspension of
GT-Line models feels
a tad firmer than lower
grade Sportage
versions but then it’s
intended to provide
more athletic handling.
And with
whenever-you-need-it
four-wheel grip
always automatically
on-call, there are
no worries...”
Select the Sport drive mode and the Sportage immediately ups its game, feeling markedly frisky and chuckable, and highlighting its responsive steering and well-managed body control. Scrubbing off speed is reassuringly drama-free courtesy of strong brakes, while the Sportage's compact turning circle is as appreciated on the twisties as it is cutting through traffic and parking at your local superstore.

Nice features include the commanding driving position with clear down-the-bonnet views that make for no-fear manoeuvring and the overtaking alert in the door mirror that warns you when pulling out to change lanes if there's something coming up fast in your blind spot — as they say, two pairs of eyes are better than one! Also very handy is the electric parking brake's autohold function: a real boon in messy stop-start driving conditions.

Other indispensable driver 'assists' include Downhill Brake Control which limits the vehicle's speed to 5mph (and with no driver braking input required) when descending slippery or steep off-road inclines, and Trailer Stability Assist to prevent snaking in high winds or at speed. When you do wander off the beaten track the Sportage's short front and rear overhangs allow it to cope with relatively steep approach, ramp-over and departure angles.

The Sportage is among the best in class when it comes to boot space (439 litres) and cargo carrying. The powered tailgate is quick in both directions and can be opened and closed from the driver's seat, the tailgate or the key fob — it's your life, you choose! You'd be surprised how many carmakers fit a roller blind luggage cover but then fail to give you somewhere to store it (most usually end up in the owner's porch). Not so Kia: the Sportage's load cover cassette tucks away in a customised spot beneath the boot floor (or just above it should you wish to make maximum use of the full-width underfloor storage tray).

The lip-free boot floor is set at a back-friendly height and can be quickly transformed from boot to cargo bay by dropping the 60:40-split rear seatbacks to create a seamless and flat loadbay floor that will swallow 1,428 litres. If you'd rather tow than fill the boot, that's fine: the 2.0-litre unit will pull a substantial braked 1,900kg without raising a sweat. Drop down a grade to the non-'S' GT-Line model with the six speed manual gearbox and you can tow for England — a whopping 2,200kg.

The stylish and multi-use Sportage is Kia's best-selling UK model and offers a choice of 2WD or 4WD, petrol or diesel power with 6-speed manual or 7/8-speed autos — and now this 48-volt mild-hybrid. A refined, roomy and relaxing all-rounder that's brilliant for families with a feature-rich spec and the added peace-of-mind of Kia's industry-trumping seven-year warranty. Drive a Sportage and you'll definitely be OK! ~ MotorBar
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Kia Sportage GT-Line S 2.0 CRDi 48V Auto AWD | 34,545
Maximum speed: 125mph | 0-60mph: 9.2 seconds | Test Average: 44.3mpg
Power: 182bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 152g/km

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