2.0 CRDi Titan 4WD
buy a Kia
because of its
warranty. No, sir,
buy one because
roader is a well-
START AT A KEEN £14,395 FOR KIA'S SPORTAGE and, if you want the top of
the range model, the Titan 2.0 CRDi with four-wheel drive, you still don't
need break through the £20K ceiling: the fully-spec'ed top model costs
£19,395. The Sportage can be had with either petrol or diesel power, two- or
four-wheel drive, auto or manual transmissions and in three trim levels.
Despite the crossover looks, the Sportage's functional five-door bodyshell only
takes up the same road space as a medium-sized car or estate car. The price
may be cheap but the looks definitely aren't: the Sportage is a smart-looking
vehicle marked out by its distinctive nose, sharply-defined bonnet and shapely
body-cladding and sculpted wheel arches. Our test car looked especially good
finished in smart metallic silver and drew a number of admiring looks wherever
it was parked.
It may look high off the ground but getting in (and out again) is easy: swing
open a door and the seat base is just the right height to 'sit and swivel' into
the car. Cabin ambience is good, helped by an attractive mix of trim materials
and the interior well laid-out. The seats with good-sized cushions
are upholstered in leather; and it's smooth, good quality leather. The seats
are also well-proportioned and provide good lumbar support along with long-distance
'Creature comforts' are also well covered with heated front seats, climate control
air conditioning that does 'icy cold' obligingly quickly, electric windows,
privacy glass, electric tilt-and-slide glass sunroof (with auto one-shot open
function and a lined sunblind), ample storage bins and cubbyholes for cups,
bottles and all your bits and pieces and room to feel at ease. Front
legroom and rear leg and headroom are, incidentally, amongst the best in class.
Rear seat passengers can also recline their backrest to one of five positions
to really make themselves feel at home, and the third side windows keep the
rear cabin light and airy.
driver is well looked after, too, with a commanding view from the height-adjustable
seat you sit high enough to look down on most other road-users. A leather-wrapped,
tilt-adjustable steering wheel the lack of reach adjustment isn't
a problem makes setting a good driving position easy. Dials are clean
with clear white on black graphics that at night are lit by a restful greenish-yellow
that's easy on the eyes.
handy feature is the
rear seat system that
five-seater to useful
touches include the illuminated ignition key lock, buttons on the sides of the
rear headrests to lower them (so much easier that the usual fiddly catches),
the six bag hooks in the boot, the 'masked' area between the sun visors and
above the rear-view mirror that blocks the dazzle that many other cars don't
and a proper pocket adjacent to the AUX/iPod/USB ports for holding whatever
device you're connecting to.
Other cabin kit includes electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors, cruise
control, six airbags (twin front, side and curtain), passenger airbag cut-off
switch, auto lights, an aluminium 'assist' grab bar above the lockable glovebox,
auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass, USB and AUX ports, iPod connectivity
cable, aluminium door kick plates, chrome interior door handles and overhead
sunglasses holder. The integrated CD/MP3 audio with six speakers and large easy-to-use
controls plus the climate controls are all neatly housed in the metallic-effect
The Titan model also comes with on-demand four-wheel drive, an electronic stability
program and ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and a set of smart 17-inch
alloy wheels wearing 235/55 rubber.
With seating for five adults and a decent-sized boot, the Sportage will particularly
appeal to families. A handy feature is its one-touch Fold-and-Dive 60:40 split
rear seat system that means hassle-free conversion from five-seater to useful
load-lugger. At the touch of a button, the seat bases dive forward down into
the rear footwell areas (headrests still in place) allowing the backrests to
drop flat, flush with the floor. A nice feature here: when folded flat like
this, the rear seatbacks lock properly into place for a sturdy load base.
With the rear seats folded, you have a spacious, square-sided cargo bay of approximately
1.5 metres with a load capacity of 1,887 litres. The loading sill/bumper is
just above knee level for most people and combined with a high-opening top-hinged
tailgate makes loading easy. The front passenger seat backrest also folds down
for transporting even longer loads.
stretchy luggage net helps to keep your load exactly where you put it and two
boot lights make it easy to find things after dark. The boot also has its own
12v power socket. Adding to the user-friendly versatility is a glass rear screen
that opens independently of the tailgate great for getting, or putting,
small items in a confined space.
is a very pleasant 4x4
spare wheel is stored under the boot floor and, good news if you ever have to
use it, is that it's a full-size matching 17-inch alloy. Under the boot floor
you'll also find a handy cargo storage tray.
The Sportage will also appeal to those with active lifestyles who need to tow
boats or trailers its braked towing capacity is 1,800kg, and in Titan
spec it won the 2008 Towcar Award for Best Budget 4x4.
On the go, the Titan is well mannered; the handling precise and the power steering
responsive (it has a compact turning circle of 10.8 metres) with body roll well
checked. The suspension manages most road surfaces well and the ride is smooth;
on motorways its very stable at speed. In fact, both in town and on country
roads, the 2.0 CRDi is very agreeable to drive thanks in part to its compact
external dimensions that make it much more manoeuvrable than many bulkier SUVs.
The brakes have recently been upgraded with 16-inch discs all round (ventilated
at the front) and consequently stopping power is more than up to scratch. And
talking of stopping, you won't be too often for fuel our average test
consumption worked out to 36.7mpg. Kia's official figure is 39.8mpg, with 31.7
and 45.6 respectively for urban and extra-urban.
The Sportage's self-managing Active Torque Transfer four-wheel-drive system
is foolproof, progressively transferring drive from front-only to all four wheels
automatically if slippage is detected. For most of the time in normal weather
on normal roads you'll be driving a front-wheel drive vehicle. In severe conditions
including off-road 4WD Lock can be engaged manually for a maximum
50:50 torque distribution.
Should you decide to enjoy some recreational off-roading, you'll find the long
wheel travel, good approach and departure angles (28.8 and 28.9 degrees respectively)
and decent ground clearance together make the 4WD Sportage more capable than
many rival compact SUVs.
Matched with a six-speed manual 'box, the 138bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel diesel
performs well. There's plenty of torque low down thanks to 225lb ft on
tap from a fairly low 1,800rpm and it will get from standstill to 62mph
in 12 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 110mph. Make good use of the gears
easy to do as, unusual for a diesel engine, it's particularly happy to
rev; and the gearbox has a nice precise shift action and you'll find
the four-cylinder 2.0-litre willing while proving smooth on motorways where
the Sportage turns out to be a quiet and refined cruiser.
All-in-all, the Sportage is a very pleasant 4x4 to own. It's roomy, has a family-friendly
boot and versatile load space, lots of kit for the money and is competent enough
should you need to go off the beaten track. And it's affordable. Plus it comes
with an industry-best seven-year warranty that covers everything and also includes
a ten-year anti-perforation warranty as well as seven year's cover against paint
defects. And the warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners.
Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi Titan 4WD | £19,395
Maximum speed: 110mph | 0-62mph: 12 seconds | Overall test MPG: 36.7mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 225lb ft | CO2 187g/km | Insurance group 11