Sportage a big-hearted soft-roader

Iain Dooley says Kia's compact SUV, the Sportage, offers solid build and value.Engines - With two petrol engines - 2.0 and 2.7-litre - and a 2.0-litre diesel to choose from, you won't be surprised to read that the smaller engines are popular - and reasonably frugal.

Iain Dooley says Kia's compact SUV, the Sportage, offers solid build and value.

Engines - With two petrol engines - 2.0 and 2.7-litre - and a 2.0-litre diesel to choose from, you won't be surprised to read that the smaller engines are popular - and reasonably frugal. If you rack up the miles or regularly tow, then the diesel will be the kindest to your wallet.


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Exterior - Being part of the compact sport utility vehicle movement, the Sportage doesn't look like the stereotypical big, lumbering 4x4s you usually see in town. Its rounded corners and modest stance allow it to successfully blend in.

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Interior - Don't expect Volkswagen levels of quality in the Sportage's cabin - it was never in the same class or price point. What you will find, though, is solid construction, durable materials and high levels of comfort, refinement and space.

Driving - Being taller than your average family hatchback, SUVs like the Sportage tend to roll more when cornering. But you won't be driving the Kia as hard as a hatchback so it rarely becomes an issue. The engine range performs well, and the lofty driving position is a welcome bonus.

Ownership - Even before Kia stunned the world with its seven-year warranty, its cars performed reliably. With solid aftersales support and cars that are easy to live with, the Sportage is one of many Kias that will fit easily into your life.

What to look for - A popular choice for school runs and after-hours activities, check for damaged cabin trim and stained upholstery. Parking dents can be an issue along with kerbed wheels. If it is fitted with a tow bar ask what it's been used for - overstressing the car could mean costly repairs later in life.

Model history - 2005, Kia launches new Sportage compact SUV with petrol and diesel engines plus all-wheel drive. Solid build quality, backed up by generous levels of standard equipment.

Reasons to buy - Solid build, bang-for-buck performance, cabin space, value for money.

Reasons to beware - Thirsty petrol models, badge snobbery, used and abused examples.

Pick of the range - Sportage 2.0 CRDi XS.

What to pay - 2005 05 �8,100; 2006 06 �9,900; 2007 07 �11,625; 2008 08 �14,075; 2009 58 �15,650. Showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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