From £16,670
Competitive package that poses a serious threat to established rivals. New Kia era brings promise

Our Verdict

Kia Sportage
Kia’s well priced compact soft-roader has been given attention-seeking looks

The Kia Sportage is more SUV than hatchback, with family appeal and value to commend it

16 July 2010

What is it?

It’s the start of Kia’s new era. Er, again. After what seems like years of telling us how Audi TT designer Peter Schreyer was transforming its range, including models like the sharp three-door Cee’d, the Korean manufacturer is declaring this car, the new Sportage, to be the first wholly Schreyer Kia.

This particular Sportage – called First Edition – is like an advance party for the full line-up.

It’s available in five colours and with only one mechanical set-up: a 2.0-litre, common-rail diesel motor, producing 134bhp and 236lb ft, mated to a four-wheel drive system that spends the vast majority of its time driving only the front wheels, but offers a 50/50 lock for off-roading.

See the test pics of the Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi First Edition

You can choose the gearbox, mind; the six-speed manual driven here is standard, but there’s also a six-speed auto.

Future variants, due from November, will include a 1.6-litre, direct-injection petrol model, and a 1.7-litre turbodiesel, both with stop-start as standard and both available with front-wheel drive.

First Editions sit the wrong side of 20 grand, but they come pretty loaded; full leather, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, a reversing camera built into the rear-view mirror, LED daytime running lights and 18in alloys are all standard.

What’s it like?

Rather good. Schreyer’s styling hasn’t really hurt interior space, because there’s easily room for four six-footers, plus luggage.

Some of the plastics are perhaps the shiny side of harsh – there are plenty of hard finishes up front – but the packaging is neat and everything looks hard-wearing. A family with three children could live with this car quite easily.

And they’d travel in comfort, because the Sportage’s chassis – tuned with assistance from Lotus in the UK – strikes an excellent balance between body control and comfort.

Think one notch off a Kuga’s agility, but one notch more compliant, and you’d have a good idea of the set-up.

Around pothole-strewn urban roads – where many Sportages will spend a lot of their time – the car refuses to let bumps and bangs through to the cabin.

That refinement continues on the motorway, where the Sportage’s motor offers decent torque at lazy revs – barely 1000rpm and up, in fact – but fades into the background once you’re cruising.

If anything, this car seems more refined at speed than its cousin, Hyundai’s iX35. Only a bit of tyre rumble intrudes – but that could be negated on smaller-wheeled variants.

The gearshift is slick and precise, throttle response is fine and the steering is generally pretty well weighted, albeit a little short of feel around the straight ahead. This is a minor glitch, though, in what feels a very well judged product.

Should I buy one?

We can see why you would; with a seven-year warranty thrown in, this is a very competitive package in the family SUV market that gives precious little away to established rivals on the driving front, and poses a serious threat on value and running costs. Kia’s new era brings fresh promise, then.

John McIlroy

Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi First Edition

Price: £20,777; Top speed: 112mph; 0-60mph 10.9sec; Economy 47.1mpg; CO2 156g/km; Kerbweight 1754kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1995cc, turbodiesel; Power: 134bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1800-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Join the debate


22 July 2010

I don't care how good it is, I wouldn't be seen dead in anything that looked that awful! Jesus, it's fugly!

22 July 2010

A very beautiful car indeed! A masterpiece! Are you sure that it's designed by Peter Schreyer? Remember, that guy was behind the aesthetic disaster of the first gen Audi TT..

Man, this thing of beauty will sell! Besides, it's veeeeery good.

22 July 2010

a handsome, nice car. doesn't look a bit Asian. could pass for a VW group product.

take note, Nissan, this is how crossover vehicles are meant to look - modern, cool and sharp. not the joke, cartoon, shelf-life of a lettuce 'designs' like the Juke and Murano. also, once the fwd versions with 1.6 petrols or 1.7 diesels come out, at around £14-17k, this should wipe up much of your current squashedcow clientele.

take not, Mitsubishi/Peugeot/Citroen, your new ugly ASX model and sister PSA cars look redundant at birth.

take note Land Rover, er, Range Rover, this with a Land Rover badge on, selling for £20-25k, under the Freelander, would look the bees knees, but instead you'll persist with flogging a cut-down 2wd Freelander for £30k basic. a badge will only stretch so far; £10-15k difference is a lot of stretching.

22 July 2010

Can't make my mind up about this thing's styling. From some angles it looks alright (from the rear a bit like VW Tiguan), but from others a bit too tonka toy for my liking. Still, I'm impressed with it's driving dynamics and value for money.

22 July 2010

An impressive package. It looks good inside and out, is well equiped, cheap and good to drive. It even looks good in orange which is something I've never said about a car before.

Could this be the first Kia people buy where the 7 year warranty is a bonus and not the main reason for buying it?

22 July 2010

I like it, it's what I'd buy if I wanted a new car right now. Also, if it's like the Hyundai sibling it'll have a full size spare wheel. Reasonable price, good looks, warranty, and a bit of four wheel drive to help me out in the snow and would save me getting MR.RAC out when I'm in mud in the lake District.

As with the above posts, it'll sell well, especially the cheaper FWD versions.

22 July 2010

[quote Lee23404]

An impressive package. It looks good inside and out, is well equiped, cheap and good to drive. It even looks good in orange which is something I've never said about a car before.

Could this be the first Kia people buy where the 7 year warranty is a bonus and not the main reason for buying it?


yes. because it's essentially a credible European product, with Asian-American type buying guarantees.

it's basically a mini Q7 - designed by ex-Audi German designer; interior euro-cool rather than design-by Toys 'R' Us, as with most crossover Jap/Asian products; and four-wheel drive system engineering by Magna Steyr(the outfit behind the G-Wagen). Audi will have to go some with their new 2011 Q3 to stay ahead.

take a look at this

and say you can't imagine this being a cool, new Land Rover sub-Freelander fun, smart 4x4, for around £20-£25k, just what LR needs. well done, Herr Schreyer.

22 July 2010

[quote dutchmaestro]

take a look at this

and say you can't imagine this being a cool, new Land Rover sub-Freelander fun, smart 4x4, for around £20-£25k, just what LR needs. well done, Herr Schreyer.


Nice photo and as I said before, it even looks cool in orange.

Land Rover does need a sub-Freelander car. I really like the Freelander 2 but I wouldn't buy one because it's just too damb expensive for what it is. £30k plus for an HSE, it's nice but not that nice.

A smaller LR for £20k (with decent spec, because I know you can get very basic Freelanders for that money) would sell like hot cakes. I'd have one.

I'd be happy to spend my hard earned on this Kia too.

22 July 2010

I like it. I thought I'd be scared off by the fuel consuption but that's impressive, too!

22 July 2010

some nice real-life pictures here from its US launch:

this thing looks even better in real-life situ.

bloody good job Kia aren't bringing the 180hp 2 litre or 200hp 2.2 litre diesels - yet! now that, if, more likely, when it happens, will truly have shot Land Rover's Evoque fox. twenty-two grand(my est.) for a 200 horsepower 320 pounds-feet, advanced 4x4 system engineered by Steyr, built in Europe, designed in Germany, gorgeous looking 4.4m-size SUV could be the bargain and sleeper sales success of 2011.


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