First drive in the Kia Sportage GT-Line

I know I begin each Kia review with the same line. It states something about being a huge Kia fan and that I have always been a Kia fan and that I am in no way biased now that my bestie is the PR there. All this remains completely true. I will even go a step further, I think Kia Motors South Africa puts on some of the best car launches in the industry, and that I can now praise ol’ Terry for, but as for the product, well he has nothing to do with that. No matter how good a launch is, or how wonderful the people who run a brand are, at the end of the day, it comes down to the product and whether it is actually any good or not. And thankfully for Kia Motors South Africa, they have it all; incredible people, incredible after-sales service, incredible launches AND incredible products. Barring the Pegus maybe 😉 So I shall continue to begin my Kia reviews with praise.


The Sportage is no stranger to our shores. In fact, it has been around for more than 30 years. And although it remains Kia’s top-selling model, it really only caught my attention just over 10 years ago with the introduction of the third generation. This was thanks to the designer at the time, a Mr Peter Schreyer, who was known for the Audi TT. You could feel the difference when you stepped in to this car, it felt like a completely new era, and it was.

This current generation (which sold like a bazillion globally) is nearing the end of its life cycle, but not before it has a little more life breathed into it in the form of the GT-Line. The GT-Line has also been around for some time, but we have only really experienced it recently in South Africa with the introduction of the Seltos GT-Line.

“Sportage has a nearly three decade-long heritage, and remains Kia’s best-selling model globally,” says Stephen Crosse, Sales and Marketing Director, Kia South Africa. “Now, with the addition of the GT-Line derivative at the peak of the range, the Sportage is at its most expressive, dynamic and luxurious, and offers a distinguished last hurrah before the fifth-generation model debuts next year.”


So what makes this model so special? Well it has all the bells and whistles and feels all kinds of fancy pants. It has all the usual awesomeness such as

  • Smart entry with push-button start
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Auto-folding mirrors
  • 8-inch HD touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Electrically adjustable front seats, including lumbar support
  • Seat heating for front and rear passengers
  • Bi-LED headlights with an auto-on/off function
  • Height-adjustable powered tailgate
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Electro-chromatic rear-view mirror
  • Cruise control

And then it has even more goodies such as dual exhaust outlets with chrome trim, 19-inch alloys, and distinctive LED combination lamps, as well as two-toned, diamond-patterned and perforated artificial leather seats, a gloss finish on the centre console, a GT-Line specific flat-bottomed steering wheel and a 4.2-inch colour instrument cluster.

From a safety point of view, the GT-Line boasts six airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Hill-Start Assist, ABS with EBD and Downhill Brake Control, a rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors. I told you, it has it all.

Kia Sportage GT-Line


The Sportage GT-Line is powered by a 1.6-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine that produces 130 kW of power and 265 Nm of torque. It is punchy and refined. I can vouch for the punchiness because I drove about 180 km by myself (ok so it wasn’t fully loaded, but it did have my overnight bag in the boot which would count for about three people’s bags) and I was able to overtake with ease, which is always my gauge. I don’t want to be half way past a truck with the solid line coming in to view, and realise I have to abort the mission. I want to be able to put my foot down and make it past any slow moving traffic with ease, and this was achieved.

But back to the luggage area, it is claimed at 466-litres which means you can get a fair amount in there. I always want a bigger boot, I always need the extra space, but the Sportage is a perfectly spacious family car. The rear legroom is ample and overall, it is a comfortable car, and that is hugely important if you enjoy a road trip. Which I don’t, but here we are.


You are looking at R649 995 for this particular model, which comes with Kia’s awesome five-year/unlimited km warranty (inclusive of Roadside Assistance), as well as a five-year / 90 000 km service plan.

If you haven’t driven a Sportage and you are in the market for a family SUV, then you need to take it for a test drive. You don’t have to go for this fancy pants GT-Line, as nice as it is, any of the Sportage models are excellent. It just depends on your needs and requirements really. But it is certainly near the very top of my list when it comes to this segment. Obviously it is!

Kia Sportage GT-Line

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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