Okay, so I realise I am not cool enough to say things like, “The Kia Sportage is lit,” and so I Googled it just to make sure I was actually using it correctly. Did you know that for over a century it has been used as a slang term for “intoxicated.” What the hell? Had I known this I would have been using it all the time. “Yoh, last night I was so lit!” I love it! I am going to start using it in that sense. But for this sense, it actually does mean “excellent” or “exciting.”
What a long winded way of saying that the new Sportage is really incredible. Yes I know what you’re thinking. And yes I am aware that I am constantly praising Kia products. But what am I supposed to do when each product gets better and better? I was always a fan of the Sportage, well from the game-changing generation-three model that is. Basically, since 2010 I have loved this car. It’s the car that put Kia on the map for me. There was a 12-month waiting list for this model and it is still considered one of Peter Schreyer‘s finest models (he was the designer – having come from Audi). Kia sold more than 1.6 million units between 2010 and 2015. Then the fourth generation arrived, which was good, but not as great as the previous generation. But now, this fifth generation has come in guns blazing and I think I might be as excited by it as I was with the fourth gen. I mean, just look at it!!!!!!!
WHAT’S THE SPORTAGE VIBE?
Let’s kick off with the trim levels; you’ve got a choice between the LX, EX, GT-Line, GT-Line Plus and GT-Line S. There is only one engine and transmission combo. Under the bonnet lies a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol unit that develops 132 kW and 265 N. It is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and directs power to the front wheels. Many of you might wonder why Kia hasn’t opted to have a 2.0-litre option like many of its competitors, well, Kia decided it was time to move on. But there is a diesel option on the cards. This 1.6-litre engine, however, is superb. And the transmission does its thing without being noticed, which is a really good thing. It means that you aren’t made aware of it searching for the right gear. It’s almost effortless driving, which is my favourite kind of driving. Fuel consumption is around 7l/100 km.
But back to the trim levels, the LX might be the base model but there is nothing basic about it. It boasts Smart Entry and Push Button Start, Drive Mode Select, 40:20:40 split folding rear seat, auto electric windows with safety function, dual automatic temperature control, a rear view camera, a curved 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, reverse camera, Bluetooth with voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a multifunction steering wheel and two USB ports. And then, when it comes to safety, it has six airbags, ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Control, Hillstart Assist, Downhill Brake Control, Trailer Stability Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Electronic parking brake with Auto hold, and LED headlight with Auto Light Control, to name but a few. You see, no basic models in this line up.
As you go up the model line, you get features such as heated seats in the front and rear, front parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, rear privacy glass, electric tailgate, Lane Follow Assist and Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, a panoramic sunroof, and topping off with ventilated seats, Smart Cruise Control, and interior mood lamps. Basically, this car, especially that of the GT-Line S, has everything but the kitchen sink included.
The top selling medium SUVs currently in South Africa are the BMW X3, Haval H6, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan X-Trail. This means some stiff competition for the new Sportage, but if it was my money I was spending, I have no doubt that this car would be my first pick. I wouldn’t even need to get the top of the range model. The EX has enough packed into it. You’re also getting Kia’s unlimited km/five-year warranty and six-year/90 000 km service plan included.
This new Sportage certainly has the DNA of the third generation model. And in the same way that model did, this will also make waves. I would really like to drive it all day, errday.
PRICING OF THE NEW SPORTAGE
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi LX: R 539 995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi EX: R 593 995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line: R 649 995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line Plus: R 677 995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line S: R 734 995