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Kia freshens appeal of honest Sportage

17:16 17 November 2014

Kia’s Sportage combines attractive looks and levels of equipment and safety kit for a modest price.

Kia’s Sportage combines attractive looks and levels of equipment and safety kit for a modest price.

Kia

Kia’s refreshed mid-size, value-added Sportage SUV offers more of the same, which is a good thing, says Iain Dooley of the Press Association.

What’s new?

Korean car-maker Kia has given its Sportage mid-size sport utility vehicle, a minor visual nip and tuck to keep it looking fresh. It’s a tough market out there in SUV land, and this refresh will keep the Sportage in the minds of potential buyers.

The nose and tail benefit from minor styling tweaks, inside there are changes to the cabin’s trim and materials. Eagle-eyed shoppers will also spot improvements to the fascia and an updated choice of infotainment systems.

Kia Sportage

■ Price: Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 Satnav, £23,900 (from £17,500)

■ Engine: 1.7-litre, 114bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

■ Transmission: Six-speed manual driving the front wheels

■ Performance: 0-62mph 11.9 seconds; top speed 107mph

■ MPG: 52.3 combined

■ CO2 emissions: 143g/km

Looks and image

This generation Sportage boasts the soft curves we’ve come to expect from the current generation of hugely-popular ‘lifestyle’ SUV genre. Kia has tweaked the Sportage’s head and tail light design and it also gets Kia’s latest family grille.

Inside there’s a modest, but welcome uplift, in cabin quality with better material choices, while the already generous infotainment system has been boosted to reflect the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy audience. Factor in Kia’s solid reputation for delivering well-built, affordable cars plus its still generous warranty package and it’s not difficult to understand the appeal of this family-friendly SUV.

Space and practicality

In the real world the Sportage offers a sensible compromise of cabin space and footprint size. There’s ample room for a growing family, while the boot is practical and versatile. Folding the rear seats increases the car’s versatility, while there’s also ample oddment space. The choice of all-wheel drive also boosts the Sportage’s versatility, be that for towing or simply to ensure a stress-free drive in foul weather.

Behind the wheel

With its commanding driving position and multi-adjustable seats, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. And that’s the point – the Sportage offers a refined and relaxed experience that easily rivals that of cars costing a lot more. Its engine line-up delivers good performance and economy, while the ride is the right side of comfortable and keeps pitch and roll to a minimum.

Front-drive cars sacrifice little if you never plan on towing or off-roading, while the flexibility of all-wheel drive ensures an added safety net for more adventurous owners. Either way, the Sportage is a cinch to drive thanks to its main controls boasting ample assistance, making the car easy to park in town and offering enough feedback on the open road.

Value for money

With its long, generous seven-year warranty and a standard kit list that easily embarrasses many of its more costly rivals, the Sportage is a sound proposition for buyers with a modest budget. Naturally, diesel power is the way to go if you plan to travel far or tow, and it’s good to see the car generate some wallet-friendly numbers. The refresh has seen an uplift in the cabin ambience, plus updates to the satellite-navigation provision. The inclusion of more safety kit runs to the standard fitment of a trailer stability system, which should make towing safer and less stressful.

Who would buy one?

Want to save some money but don’t want to sacrifice kit, refinement and performance? Step this way, as Kia’s Sportage offers a compelling blend of easy-on-the-eye looks plus a long list of creature comforts and safety kit for a modest price. Factor in the solid performing petrol and diesel motors, ample cabin and boot space plus the company’s seven-year warranty, and you’d have to be a card-carrying badge snob to give the Sportage a miss. This car summed up in a single word – honest.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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