Kia have hit the nail squarely on the head with the Sportage, the surprise success of the Nissan Qashqai changed the car landscape forever, apparently we all now want a car that looks like it can go off road but drives like a saloon and is cheap to run, a trick the Qashqai pulled off with aplomb. As with the Qashqai the vast majority of Sportage sold will be two wheel drive with a small diesel engine, there is a four wheel drive version of both cars but the price rockets up. The Sportage is big, bold and commanding with truly head turning looks, it won car of the year 2011 at carbuyer.
The Sportage comes in three trim levels imaginatively named 1, 2 and 3. In standard “1″ specification the Sportage is amazingly well equipped, you get air conditioning, electric windows all-round, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and an iPod input. Step up to “2″ and you get privacy glass, reversing sensors, part-leather trim, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, 17in alloy wheels and a trip computer, while “3″ adds full leather, heated seats front and rear, dual zone climate control, Xenon headlights and 18in wheels. In our opinion the addition of reversing sensors for the Sportage “2″ makes it our recommendation as in order to give the Sportage such striking looks there is a lack of glass, particularly the rear window which is very small.
The engine choice is simple, the 1.7 litre diesel, only available as a two wheel drive six speed manual, is the pick offering an excellent combination of power and economy 0-62 miles per hour in 11.9 seconds and a top speed of 107 miles per hour while able to return 54.3 miles per gallon.
The Sportage offers a great looking and very well equipped alternative to the class leading Qashqai but the lack of an affordable automatic and aggressive Nissan pricing will make it hard for the Kia to attract customers, making the Nissan Qashqai even more appealing.
Summer Best Buy – Kia Sportage “1″ 1.7 Litre Diesel 2 wheel drive £499 Advance Payment (£60.61 wpms)
Summer Best Buy – Kia Sportage “2″ 1.7 Litre Diesel 2 wheel drive £999 Advance Payment (£63.40 wpms)