If there is one entrant into the mid-sized SUV segment which has raised its game in recent years, it has to be the Kia Sportage. The previous generation was much improved over generations past and the sales reflect these improvements by the Sportage becoming a very popular option with the buying public.
For 2022, there is a new Sportage and on the surface, seems to have journeyed several steps ahead. Basically, the new Kia Sportage looks to be light years ahead? But is it?
The range starts at $39,990 plus ORC for the entry level LX Urban 2WD. However, my test car was the range topping X-Line Diesel AWD at $62,990 plus ORC. In between there is a very comprehensive list of low to mid-tier trim levels, power units and drivetrain options meaning there is a new Sportage to suit most budgets and tastes.
My X-Line Diesel AWD gets all-wheel-drive, hence the name, and power comes from a 2.0L CRDI Diesel four-cylinder petrol engine with 134kW and a decent 416Nm of torque. Mated to it is an eight-speed automatic transmission which when sent to those four wheels gives a claimed combined fuel consumption rating of 7.3L/100km and 190g/km.
As far as looks go the new Sportage is certainly more pleasing to the eye. It also encompasses Kia’s new design philosophy and features some cool stylistic cues. Things like the new daytime running lights which incorporate a “boomerang” look which also house the LED headlights. It’s a forward thinking and clean-cut front end and the rear with its minimalist taillight, cap on backwards rear spoiler and mock diffuser makes the new Sportage the best looking yet.
The X-Line gets 19-inch alloys over the regular 17s you get on the base model and a curved roof rack with revised front and rear bumper. It also shares its underpinnings with the larger Sorento so the new Sportage is by far the biggest Sportage to date with a wheelbase of 2755mm and sits at 4660mm long and 1865mm wide.
The theme of form and function continues on the inside with the new Sportage getting a very swish looking cockpit. The electric heated and ventilated leather seats on the X-Line Diesel offer plenty of adjustment but there are probably more comfortable seats out there.
Points are clawed back by just how user friendly the onboard tech is. Its 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system is easy to read and very slick to use. The switchgear also feels chunky and well put together.
One cool feature is the dual-zone climate control, which by touching one of the soft touch icons can change to the media controls and back to air con. Lashings of leather are found everywhere and the level of equipment is also very generous.
The X-Line also gets around view monitoring for the reversing camera, a panoramic sunroof, glossy black roof rails, paddle shifters, ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a Harman Kardon eight speaker sound system and a power tailgate which opens to reveal a handy 543L of boot space. Head and legroom is also very generous.
There is a barrage of safety kit across the range with all models getting forward collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, trailer stability assist, reversing camera and parking sensors front and rear.
Push start and that diesel four pot wakes up to a subdued diesel-y burble. Select drive by way of the gear selector dial and you are off. Straight away those 416Nm make their presence known. From low down to around 4,000rpm, the X-Line feels much meatier than before in terms of performance. That torque curve means you can shoot forward much quicker than before.
The addition of a turbo would only add to this but having a hybrid option would be much appreciated as it isn’t long before you start averaging between 8.9 and 10L/100km. It doesn’t sip away at the go juice but thanks to 54L tank, time spent at the pump isn’t as frequent.
The Sportage has multiple drive modes, Normal, Sport, Eco and Smart, the latter of which tailoring the car to suit your driving style at even given time. Feather the throttle and the Sportage will know you are wanting a more fuel-efficient drive, bury the throttle and, well you get the idea.
Ride comfort is very supple and road noise is kept to a minimum. The diesel four pot, once up to speed also hums away in the background nicely. When cornering the X-Line’s AWD system keeps things tight and controlled and while the steering is light, it does lack feedback on occasion. The eight-speed auto box also provides smooth shifts.
The Kia Sportage was already a much-improved package. However, the new Sportage has risen a few more rungs up that ladder to give a very well sorted and premium feeling SUV. It looks good, sports a tonne of kit and manages to be a good drive. Kia have done very well indeed.