2.0 CRDi KX-4 Auto AWD
flooding made many
crossover owners whod
save a few
pennies by going for front-wheel
drive on their SUV-styled vehicles
realise that if four-wheel drive is
offered, then bite the hand off...
KIA SPORTAGE OWNERS ARE AHEAD of the game from the moment they drive their
new car out of the showroom because the third-generation models now on sale
all offer a no-nonsense intelligent four-wheel drive system.
While it seems that every carmaker is now fielding a crossover or compact soft-roader
of some sort, the Sportage ranks as one of the smarter of the breed.
Fronted by a newer version of the now-familiar Kia 'tiger-nose' grille, the
Sportage Kia's best-selling model in the UK, accounting for around
a quarter of the company's sales now sports an even more polished
appearance with serious presence courtesy of sharper styled LED light units
beneath its clamshell bonnet, a roof-mounted shark-fin antenna, new-style 18-inch
alloy wheels and standout metallic paint colours including new Space Blue and
buyers cite the looks as a principal purchasing reason. It's easy to see what
they mean despite its higher-than-average ground clearance, the
Sportage appears long, low and wide; and the 'fast' windscreen angle, slim side
glazing and low roofline create an unmistakable element of rakish sportscar.
Many buyers cite the
looks as a principal
Its easy to see what they
mean despite its
the Sportage appears
long, low and wide with
an element of rakish
Under-bonnet choices are biased towards diesel for those still
attached to unleaded, there is a 1.6-litre petrol-engined Sportage. Diesel aficionados
do better, with three oil-burning units: a 114bhp 1.7-litre or a 2.0-litre that
comes in two states of tune 134bhp and 181bhp.
The 16-model line-up offers front-wheel as well as all-wheel drive, as identified
by the logical trim designations: 1, 2, 3, 3 Sat Nav, and 4 models are front-wheel
drive; all-wheel-drive versions wear a KX preface KX-1, etc.
Kia don't hold anything back when they trim their cars and it's
no exaggeration to say that their cars are 'well-specced' regardless of where
they stand in the pecking order. All versions come with alloy wheels, AirCon,
power windows and heated electric door mirrors, cruise control, LED daytime
running lights, front fogs and cornering lights, tinted glass, rain-sensing
wipers, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition and music streaming, steering
wheel-mounted controls, drive-away auto door locking, tyre pressure monitoring
plus front, side and curtain airbags.
To this Sportage 2 and KX-2 versions add part-leather upholstery, dual-zone
automatic AirCon, roof rails, privacy glass, reversing sensors, a one-shot-op
panoramic sunroof, 17-inch alloys, powerfold on demand LED door mirrors, a luggage
net, and adjustable lumbar support on the driver's seat.
3 and KX-3 versions additionally have leather upholstery with heated front and
rear seats, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, Flex Steer, Xenon headlights
with washers, auto lights, a front wiper de-icer, auto-dimming rearview mirror,
plus a premium Infinity sound system with seven speakers including a sub-woofer
and external amplifier as well as a set of 18-inch alloy wheels. All 3 and KX-3
versions are also available as Sat Nav models with navigation and a 7-inch in-dash
screen plus a rear-view camera.
the top of the range the 4 and KX-4 available only with the 181bhp
diesel engine gain a Parallel Park Assist System and front and
rear parking sensors, stainless steel door kick plates, six-way power-adjustable
driver's seat, heated steering wheel (very persuasive not just in the winter
but also on very long trips), engine start/stop button with keyless entry and
locking, and privacy glass (rear windows and tailgate).
181bhp 2.0 diesel powering the KX-4 automatic develops 289lb ft between 1,800
and 2,500rpm and serves up plenty of mid-range pull while delivering more than
adequate performance 121mph and 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds. Left in
Drive, the six-speed auto 'box makes the Sportage particularly relaxing to drive
but it can be overridden at any point by nudging the selector lever sideways
into its manual mode.
With 181bhp and 289lb
ft of torque theres plenty
of mid-range pull.
Left in Drive, the six-
speed autobox makes for
a relaxing drive but
it can be overridden
by nudging the
selector lever into its
The official combined figure for the automatic is 39.2mpg 36.7mpg
in real-world driving. A figure achieved without making use of the active ECO
mode which would have bumped up our mpg 'score'. For the record, urban and extra-urban
are officially 31mpg and 46.3mpg respectively.
The intelligent electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system fitted to KX
variants goes about its business unobtrusively, keeping mostly in the more economical
two-wheel-drive mode (which sends 100% of engine torque to the front wheels)
while it continuously monitors driving conditions to anticipate when all-wheel
drive will be needed meaning the Sportage is always in the correct
drive mode for the prevailing circumstances without the driver doing anything
other than drive. When needed, the torque can be redistributed up to a maximum
of 60:40 front-to-rear.
Going off-road? No problem you can manually select Lock mode (the
button is alongside the selector lever housing), which gives a 50:50 torque
split at speeds of up to 25mph. And there's even a sturdy grab bar on the centre
console for your front passenger for when the going gets rough!
Also fitted are several electronic driver aids that increase both on-road driving
safety and the Sportage's capability off-road. First up is Electronic Stability
Control and this is linked to three additional systems: Downhill Brake Control
(ensures a steady speed of 5mph is maintained when descending steep slopes),
Hill-Start Assist (prevents slip-back when setting off uphill), and a Roll-over
Sensor that deploys the curtain airbags and seat-belt pre-tensioners should
the car be in danger of tipping. In
addition, all models have Trailer Stability Assist to make towing safer (the
181bhp auto will pull a braked 1,800kg).
the Sportage lives up to its premium-look bodywork the cockpit
is cleanly styled with foolproof control and instrumentation and marked out
by a plusher ambience underscored by chrome and metallic highlights and a soft-touch
dash, all benefiting from quality fit-and-finish.
full-length panoramic electric tilt-and-slide sunroof (the one-shot auto front
section opens; the rear glass panel is fixed) ensures the cabin is a pleasant
place to be come rain or shine. The
leather-upholstered seats are set high off the floor; the driver's is 6-way
electric and makes setting a commanding and comfortable driving position the
work of a moment.
A full length panoramic
sunroof (the one-
shot front section opens;
the rear glass panel
is fixed) ensures
the cabin is a pleasant
and airy place to be
come rain or shine...
out to the front, sides and back is A1; placing the Sportage accurately on the
road is a breeze. Most drivers will no doubt be pleased to find a traditional
handbrake alongside their left thigh, and all will like the carpark-friendly
doors and the effortless access in and out.
Thorough attention to detail includes sun visors that extend inwards to shield
the often forgotten space around the mirror where the glare gets in, and both
front seats have two-stage heating that gets good 'n' hot. The multifunction
wheel is very multifunction: cruise; speed limiter; phone; voice; steering wheel
weighting mode; audio; media; and a favourite button. And as for the heated
steering wheel don't knock it until you've tried it: it's a real
The Sportage's SatNav displays on a 7-inch colour touchscreen, and it's brilliant
the colours and 3D mapping are crystal clear, it's easy to use,
and commands and prompts are timely. Best of all, it has full UK postcode recognition
(many still don't, even on some quite expensive cars), traffic messaging with
detour function, motorway junction views, lane guidance, speed limit warnings,
and multi-route planning.
driver's information display (trip, external temperature, Parallel Park Assist
information, selected Flex Steer mode, etc) uses a 4.2-inch LCD TFT colour screen
between the recessed major dials to keep the driver fully informed.
the Sportage cabin shipshape is easy: there's plenty of storage including a
pair of large cupholders by the handbrake, a big storage box with lift-out top
tray below the centre armrest, large door bins, and a chilled glovebox.
travelling in the back sit higher than the driver and front passenger while
lounging back at a relaxing angle with plenty of foot room and decent legroom.
Three adults in the back works fine; two's better they can share
the padded centre armrest with built-in cupholders. And, like those sitting
up front, they too enjoy heated seats.
the rear the easy-opening, self-lifting deep tailgate opens high and, in wet
weather, will keep you dry. Access to the 564-litre regular-shaped boot is through
a generous opening; drop the 60:40 split-fold rear seats and you'll have a capacious
all-on-one-level loadbay that will swallow 1,353 litres of luggage or cargo.
Those travelling in the
back sit higher
than the driver and front
passenger while lounging
back at a relaxing
angle with plenty of foot
room and decent
legroom. And, like
those sitting up front,
they too enjoy
to the peace of mind is a proper full-sized spare wheel and you
don't see many of those around! It's still the only fail-safe answer to a puncture.
Folding the rear seats takes but a second thanks to useful remote release strap
handles in the boot. Naturally a stretchy luggage net is also provided.
drivers will be happy to hear that Kia's engineers conducted final testing on
Britain's rotten roads to make sure the Sportage delivers a good ride and drive
over here. Ride-wise, its all-independent suspension contributes to its compliant
and soft-riding comfort while dynamically it achieves a good compromise between
cosseting and control.
You can press-on confidently while making good use of the 181bhp, courtesy of
the decent roadholding and the sharp steering response from the electronic speed-sensitive
power-assisted steering. And when you need to stop, the all-disc brakes can
be totally relied upon to do just that without drama regardless of your speed
when you press the middle pedal.
Kia's Flex Steer system is standard-fit and allows the driver to choose between
three different levels of power assistance via a button on the steering wheel:
Normal, Comfort (provides increased help for parking or tight city manoeuvring),
and Sport, which lessens the assistance for increased feel and stability at
higher speeds. From behind the wheel the Sportage feels involving so
while its driver will like its predictable yet agile character, passengers will
appreciate its motorway stability, refinement, practicality, roominess and comfort.
The latest Sportage will tick a lot of boxes for crossover fans who will favour
its premium styling and maxed-out kit, and value the comfort and the driving
experience. All will feel reassured by the excellent seven-year warranty package.
True story: a friend of a friend, after a long day out in our flagship KX-4,
cancelled plans for a new BMW and instead bought herself a Sportage. Now that
really does say it all!
Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX-4 Auto AWD
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-60mph: 9.4 seconds | Test Average: 36.7mpg
Power: 181bhp | Torque: 289lb ft | CO2 189g/km