DRIVEN: Kia Sportage 2.0 EX Plus

The design team at Kia took some pretty bold moves with the all new Sportage. And it’s a visually appealing car – except for the front. Called “Tiger Nose”, the front grille which is a standard feature on all their cars. The sides are pretty sharp, but the party piece of the Sportage’s look is the rear. It looks fantastic. A set of 19-inch wheels on the Sportage gave it that overall sporty stance.

The KIA Sportage is quite a special car to us. We helped set the Worlds Longest Test Drive back in October 2016 which begun in Durban and ended in Cape Town. 

520 test drivers selected from more than 30 000 entries, covered a total of 3291 km while driving through six South African provinces over a seven day period.

We took the latest model on a short trip to Ulundi (3 hours from Durban). Behind the wheel – it’s pretty solid. Design features include: electronically adjustable leather seats for the driver and front passenger; Leather gear knob and steering wheel (with controls) and; a 7-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, supporting Apple Car Play and Android Auto. There’s lots of leg and headroom for rear passengers. Overall we loved the interior which has a quality feel to it.

We really wish Kia would turbocharge their engines. 

Powering our test unit is a 2.0L naturally aspirated engine making 114 kW and 192 N.m. The engine is great for highway cruising and city driving but lacks that oomph from a turbocharged engine especially when it comes to overtaking and uphills. We don’t recommend Cruise control on uphills as the car digging for gears low down to compensate for the lack of torque. The Sportage recorded an 11.3 L/100km during our uphill trip and a respectable 10.3 L/100km driving back down to Durban. We really wish Kia would turbocharge their engines. But, the Sportage has some very sporty dynamics and very fun to drive.

From the whole Kia Sportage range, this particular model seems to hit the sweet spot. It has some stiff competition in its segment with the likes of the Hyundai Tuscon, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and not forgetting Germans finest VW Tiguan. The Sportage ticks many boxes and is certainly make many motorists shopping list. It’s good to drive has lots of space and has good tech that’s up there with its competition. (Again, we really wish Kia would go the turbocharging route.)

Specs

Engine: 2.0 litre 4 cyl petrol
Power: 114 kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 192 N.m @ 4000rpm
rpmTransmission: 6-Speed Automatic 
Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h 10.5 seconds
Top Speed: 181 km/h km/h
Fuel Consumption: 8.1 L/100km (claimed)
Price: R474,495.00

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