Subtle facelift brings Kia Sportage up to date for 191 but real changes are under the hood

“Subtle facelift brings Kia Sportage up to date for 191 but real changes are under the hood

  • Subtle tweaks freshen up design

  • New and more efficient engine

  • Seven year warranty

75%

Overall Rating

  • No petrol option

  • Not the most exciting drive

  • Motor tax has increased slightly

Overall Rating

Overview

The Kia Sportage is fast becoming one of the most familiar sights on Irish roads. In fact, it’s currently battling for sixth place in the list of best-selling cars of 2018 – a position that would have been hard to imagine for a Kia just a few years back. The Sportage seems to have really struck a chord with Irish buyers with its interesting design and remarkable seven year warranty. This facelift is mild on the styling front but a cleaner more efficient engine makes for a much more refined drive.

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Space & Practicality

It’s the same spacious and practical machine that it’s always been – the boot weighs in at 491 litres, which is about 20 litres shy of the Hyundai Tucson, but 60 litres larger than the Nissan Qashqai. It’s a good size and shape, with no awkward load lip to lug stuff over, and the rear seats fold almost completely flat. Space in the back is generous. There’s good head and leg room and a nice bit of width too, meaning you will fit three back there quite comfortably.

Equipment and Safety

The front of the cabin gets a few slight updates including a new steering wheel and revised instrument cluster, both nice touches which repeat buyers will appreciate.  The Sportage has quite a high driving position, which most SUV fans will love and there is a good range of adjustment in the driver seat and steering wheel to help you find a comfortable position.

There’s also plenty of storage areas and a nice orderly feel to the cabin and centre console. The quality is in general very good, and the equipment levels are even better.

The starting price for the Sportage is about €30,000. That will get you a K2 which comes with 16 inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, cruise control, touchscreen infotainment and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

The mid-spec K3 starts at €32,000 and will add larger 17 inch wheels, SatNav, heated seats and steering wheel, leather upholstery, and dual zone air conditioning.

K4 for an extra €1,200 adds upgraded styling, keyless go, climate control and LED tail lights. There’s also a top of the range GT-line model which gets a massive set of 19 inch wheels and bespoke GT-line styling including a contrasting leather interior for a starting price of €36,000. However, the best value in our opinion lies between the K3 and K4 models.

It retains its full five star Euro NCAP rating with hill start assist, downhill braking control, six airbags, and Isofix fittings for childseats as standard.

Performance & Running Costs

The more significant change with this facelift has happened under the hood. The old 1.7l diesel unit has been swapped out for a new cleaner, greener, quieter 1.6l unit. The result is a much more refined drive.
The four-cylinder turbo charged CRDi pushes out 115hp, which feels like plenty. It’s very quick to pull away, and quick in general to respond to whatever it is you ask of it. Ours was paired to a six speed manual gearbox, but there is an automatic 136 hp version available if you prefer auto, or just fancy a bit more power.
The steering is a little on the light side which is not always a bad thing in a car of this class. Those looking for sporty handling will be disappointed but it’s easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to get around in, which is about as much as you can ask of a crossover in this class. For those after a bit more engagement there is a sport mode which will liven things up. Slightly. Its main strengths lie in the soft and supple suspension and raised ride height which gives  you a great, commanding view of the road ahead.

As for running costs – the introduction of the new WLTP system has complicated things here slightly. Despite being cleaner, it’s actually more expensive to tax than the previous model at €270 and it’s not the only car facing that problem as we come in to the new year. The claimed fuel economy is 4.8l per 100, which will be closer to 6.0l in real life, but still noticeably more efficient than the last one.

Reliability & Residuals

As always, there’s really not a huge amount to argue with when it comes to the Sportage. It’s well-priced, well-specced, and a solid performer in all the areas it needs to be. There’s also the small matter of that remarkable 7 year warranty which is always going to be one of the most compelling reasons to consider this car.

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