2.0 CRDi First Edition AWD
drive of the stylish new Kia
Sportage First Edition
by Peter Schreyer, the man
responsible for the Audi TT...
KIA MOTORS UK HAS SECURED AN ADVANCE ORDER of 850 early production righthand-drive
new-era Sportage 'crossover' five-door, five seat cars powered
by the new 2.0-litre R-family, 134bhp, common-rail diesel engine. The new model
has Intelligent All-Wheel Drive which means front-wheel drive most of the time
moving to 60:40 all-wheel drive when the road grip gets poor with a selectable
50:50 drive distribution lock for off-roading. Prices are £20,777 for the manual
version and £22,077 for the automatic models.
In November, the Slovakian-built range will be see the arrival of mainstream
models with three further engines; a 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol, 2.0-litre
multi-point injection petrol and a 1.7-litre turbodiesel unit to go with the
2.0-litre CRDi turbodiesel used in the First Edition.
The 1.6/1.7-litre units will have Kia's Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) technology,
two-wheel drive and six-speed manual gearboxes. The 2.0-litre petrol and diesel
engine models will have all-wheel drive and manual or automatic transmission
options. Mainstream models are expected to start at around £17,000 but prices
and specification levels are still to be announced. The new maximum braked towing
capacity is 2,000kg.
around 3,500 to 4,000 Sportage cars are sold in the UK each year but the new
range, boosted by interest from the fleet and business user-chooser markets
plus younger families attracted by the youthful styling, will push this annual
total up to 10,000 UK sales.
The handling is agile
and feels very car-like
and the Lotus-tuned
suspension coped really
well and much better
than a conventional
mid-sized SUV or 4x4...
Currently the fleet and business user sectors are attracted by the low tax implications
of the new generation 'crossovers', headed by the two-wheel drive versions of
the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Ford Kuga.
With a high level of specification, the advance-party Sportage First Edition
2.0-litre CRDi costs a fairly weighty £20,777 but justified by the kit and equipment
which includes full-leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, heated front
seats, rain-sensing wipers, an excellent reversing camera viewed via the rear-view
mirrors, LED daytime running lights and 18-inch alloy wheels. As standard the
vehicle has a six-speed manual gearbox and there is the option (for £1,300)
of a six-speed automatic transmission.
The new Sportage crossover is longer, lower and wider than the SUV it replaces.
It also weighs around 90kg less and has a sleeker aerodynamic profile, with
a Cd down from 0.40 to 0.37. All of this has ensured that it is not only more
stylish and sporty, but also more environmentally friendly.
Kia says the aim with the new Sportage was to make it an object of desire rather
than simply a mode of transport the allure of a Kia should extend well
beyond the fact that it moves people from one place to the other. Certainly
it is eye-catching and looks a classier vehicle, being sleek and rakish, and
not an out-and-out SUV.
It is a radical departure from the 2004 model it replaces. It successfully incorporates
the key features of a thoroughly modern five-door, five-seater family-sized
SUV in a more urban-friendly, more athletic and more muscular package. It features
the 'tiger's nose' grille surround that Peter Schreyer, their head of design,
is turning into a Kia trademark and an instant brand identifier.
The high shoulder and low roof lines meet in striking reverse-angle C-pillars
that are claimed to improve the view out for rear passengers despite the high
waistline and narrow depth windows. The First Edition version, with its dark
interior, seemed claustrophobic but future models with the panoramic sunroof
option will brighten up the interior and make it more airy. The roof rails,
ribbed roof, chunky door handles and large wing mirrors are as much signs of
the new Sportage's street-wise urban toughness as its capability in difficult
relatively spacious five-seat cabin is dominated by a high-level, multi-tier
dashboard that narrows as it sweeps in from the sides towards the middle, leading
into an eye-catching centre console. The design deliberately emphasises the
width of the new Sportage and at the same time gives occupants a feeling of
protection and safety.
combination with the
gearbox the 2.0 diesel
economy of 47.1mpg
a worthwhile 7.3mpg
better than the old car...
The leather upholstery looks and feels welcoming and while there is a lot of
dark plastic trim that lacks visual appeal, it will be durable for family use.
The boot is large with 564 litres of space; 1,436 litres with the rear seats
The 2.0-litre diesel engine in the First Edition model develops 134bhp at 4,000rpm
and 236lb ft of torque from just 1,800rpm, giving it a better power-to-weight
and torque-to-weight ratio than the outgoing Sportage with the older 2.0-litre
diesel engine. Yet the new one is more fuel and tax-efficient and potentially
less damaging to the environment.
In combination with the six-speed manual gearbox it delivers a combined economy
of 47.1mpg a worthwhile 7.3mpg better than the old car with CO2
emissions of 156g/km; a huge reduction of 31g/km. Despite being more environmentally
friendly it also accelerates more quickly and has a higher top speed. Even the
six-speed automatic outscores the previous manual model, with fuel consumption
of 40.4mpg (versus 39.8mpg) and CO2 emissions of 183g/km (formerly 187g/km).
It is also quicker and faster than the previous manual Sportage.
The new First Edition comes as standard with intelligent electronically-controlled,
single high-ratio all-wheel drive that normally delivers 100% of engine torque
to the front wheels. But the torque can be redistributed up to a maximum of
60:40, front-to-rear, to enhance cornering stability or if road conditions deteriorate.
For off-road driving, drivers can manually select Lock mode, which gives a 50:50
torque split for speeds of up to 25mph.
A number of new electronic features have been added to the new Sportage, increasing
safety for on-road driving and the car's capability for those owners who wish
to go off-road or who live in areas where bad weather and poor driving conditions
are facts of life.
Standard-fit Electronic Stability Control (ESC) counteracts any tendency of
the car to understeer or oversteer in hard cornering or slippery conditions.
It is linked, in the new Sportage, to three additional systems: Downhill Brake
Control (DBC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) and a roll-over sensor.
ensures the Sportage maintains a steady speed of 5mph when descending steep
slopes. HAC has the reverse effect; preventing slip-back when setting off uphill
and eliminating the possibility of wheelspin.
is now the norm
with Kia, the Sportage
is covered by an
The roll-over sensor detects when the car might be in danger of rolling over
and deploys the side and curtain airbags and seat-belt pre-tensioners so that
occupants are fully protected should the worst happen. And as is now the norm
with Kia, the new Sportage is covered by an unrivalled seven-year, 100,000-mile
In my first Sportage test drive this week, using the winding and hilly routes
of the Cotswolds plus a stretch of motorway driving, the new model proved to
be a capable and comfortable performer.
The torquey engine felt strong and responsive mid-range and thankfully not over-geared
to produce unrealistic fuel economy figures that detract from real-life driving
conditions. The manual gearbox was slick to use, the steering well weighted
although lacking in feel at times. The 18-inch wheels were prone to 'vibration'
after hitting deep potholes and there was some road noise intrusion but I suspect
that the 17-inch alloys, for future mainstream models in the range, will be
a better choice.
The handling was agile and felt very car-like. Being tall there is some cornering
body roll but less than expected. The Lotus-tuned suspension (using UK roads
as the universal blueprint) coped really well with absorbing potholes and much
better than a conventional mid-sized SUV or 4x4.
The new Sportage conforms with the move from SUV to crossover buying trends,
has distinctive styling and is well equipped with a family-friendly interior.
In addition it has a strong and flexible engine, is agile with a comfortable
ride and boasts a long seven-year warranty. Minor criticisms include the rear
visibility but, that noted, the reversing camera and parking sensors do help.
Other niggles too much bland interior plastic trim, low depth widows
and rear seatbacks that do not fold down completely flat for maximum load carrying
should be noted, and there is some road noise intrusion from the large
wheels and tyres.
That said, overall the new Sportage will be an easy and reasonably affordable
car to live with. Depending on taste, it is an eye-catching and relatively stylish
car, very modern in its appearance as you might expect given it has been
designed by Peter Schreyer, the man who penned the Audi TT. With the high expectations
Kia has of it in terms of sales, you can bet on seeing loads of them on our
roads next year when the full range becomes available. David Miles
Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi First Edition AWD | £20,777
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 42.8mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 156g/km