|Output||136kW @ 4000rpm|
If you don't know SUVs are the 'something shiny' in the automotive world, chances are you live under a rock. These versatile, practical and flexible 'wagons' have a lot to offer families, couples and those who love to get outdoors.
With popularity, however, comes competition, which also raises consumer expectations on equipment levels and pricing. SUV consumers are spoilt for choice and can demand a lot.
So Kia's latest generation mid-sized SUV, the Sportage, has a big job to do. It enters the already overcrowded mid-sized SUV segment – there are 25 models – and will go head to head with its Hyundai stablemate the Tucson as well as the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4, and Nissan X-Trail.
The previous generation Sportage was a worldwide success for the Korean maker, and the new one is much better. But then it had to be to continue pull buyers away from the top-selling Japanese rivals.
With the fourth-generation Sportage, Kia has focused on handling, safety, interior space and technology. The all-new car comes in three trim levels, with three engine options and two transmission choices.
We tested the flagship Platinum model powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel. The Platinum comes with all the bells and whistles, including advanced safety technology, but is accompanied by a 'platinum' price tag – starting from $45,990 plus on road costs.
Materials in the cabin have a good quality feel and there are some nice 'surprise and delight' features such as a wireless phone charging pad under the dash (your phone must be wireless charging compatible).
The all-new Sportage is 40mm longer than its predecessor and sits on a 30mm longer wheelbase. The overall length is 4480 mm, which is actually almost 400mm shorter than Kia's mid-sized Optima sedan. In fact, the Sportage is slightly narrower than the Optima as well.
Rear passengers have good head, shoulder, and knee room and you can certainly feel the extra space that comes from the Sportage's extra length. A nice touch is the reclining rear seat backs – perfect for a snooze on a long road trip. Boot space is good at 466 litres. This is 22 litres less than the Tucson but 63 litres more than the Mazda CX-5. There is a full-sized spare wheel under the floor.
The seats are well-bolstered and offer good under thigh support, making them comfortable while on our 400+km testing routes.