Kia Sportage Eco testing

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KIA SPORTAGE: Will impress with its looks, its equipment and its driving feel.

THE Sportage is the model which has done most to boost Kia’s brand image, highlighting the company’s ability to create eye-catching cars with wide appeal and backed by an outstanding seven-year warranty.

The SUV class has strong contenders including the Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai but the new Sportage just cannot be ignored – it offers good driving dynamics, good levels of equipment and more interior space than most rivals.

There are petrol and diesel engines with varying outputs,  the option of two or four-wheel drive, and manual or auto gearboxes. One of the most popular choices is  the 1.7 litre diesel unit, with 114 hp and mated to a six-speed manual transmission.  

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This was the model I tested recently, in 2WD Eco trim, and priced at £22,050 (24,499 euros). While its stats are fairly typical in its sector – top speed 109 mph and 0-60 mph time 11.1 seconds – its driving dynamics are beautifully balanced and give the car great all-rounder appeal.

A new platform helps give the Sportage more nimble and assured handling and revised engines have improved fuel efficiency and lowered emissions. The test model returns 61.4 mpg combined.

The new-look Sportage is very classy and gives the car strong road presence. The cabin is well-designed and has a quality finish. 

Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, front fog lights with cornering function, Bluetooth with music streaming, USB and AUX ports,  seven-inch touchscreen navigation, rear-view camera, roof rails, privacy glass, powered lumbar support on the driver’s seat, auto lights and wipers, dual zone automatic air conditioning and a chilled glovebox.

The Sportage can take  five adults and there is good head and leg-room. The 491 litre boot, larger than that of a Ford Kuga and a Nissan Qashqai,  is a good shape and has a flat load lip and useful underfloor storage.

The new Sportage has to be on the short-list of anyone in the market for a smart stylish SUV. 

It will impress with its looks, its equipment and its driving feel – and it does have its famous industry-leading seven-year warranty to underpin its credentials.

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