A TIGER FOR THE CONCRETE JUNGLE: KIA SPORTAGEPosted On: April 17, 2019 By : AutoLife Team
KIA, another giant Korean automotive manufacturer, has more than just the birth country in common with Hyundai. Kia Motors is a sister concern of Hyundai Motors and as you might have guessed it they share a lot of the R&D between the two companies even though they fight for the same market space. The vehicle in question for this review is their very popular crossover vehicle the Kia Sportage.
The Sportage is one of Kia’s longest running production vehicles and has made a legacy for itself. The Kia Sportage has made a name for itself and has had a prominent presence in the SUV segment. Even in Nepal, Kia has been persistent with carrying the legacy of the Sportage with the fact being that it’s been selling in the Nepalese market since the late 90’s. Now, we have the updated and revamped version of the Sportage to take the brand even further.
The rise in the popularity of the SUV’s cannot be unseen as it is a global trend as more and more people are opting for these types of vehicles for their overall versatility. The Sportage is one of Kia’s all-time best-selling vehicles all over the world and the sales numbers are on the rise with the introduction of the newer updated model. So will it have the same effect in the Nepalese market as well? We are yet to find that out, till then let’s look into what the new Kia Sportage has on offer to attract more potential buyers.
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The exterior of the Kia Sportage has been given a mild refresh to give the vehicle a little freshness to fend off the stiff competition that it has to face in a very competitive market segment. The most prominent change upfront is an accent bar running across the bottom part of the front bumper. This accent bar splits the 4 ice cube LED fog lights into two pairs which was previously clamped in together.
It still retains the signature tiger nose grill. The changes also include a newly designed alloy wheels throughout the range, with the sizes ranging from 18 inches to 19 inches, with the GT line getting its unique 19 inch wheel. Moving to the rear portion the LED taillights is given a fresh look too which is quite attractive; that in conjunction with the sporty rear diffuser and dual exhaust tips give it a really sporty stance. It has a welcome feature where the vehicle will unfold its mirror and light up the door handle when you approach the car with the keys. This feature is especially useful in the dark to see where the door handle is.
The interior has been given an overhaul too with the Sportage ditching the all black interior for a dual tone beige and black combo. The beige really lightens up the cabin making it look very spacious while looking very premium. The dash feels good with plenty of soft touch materials where your hand will be touching often, the leather finish on the center arm rest and the doors is also a very nice touch. The quality of the leather upholstery for the seats is amazing and the seats are very comfortable as well.
Both the font driver seat and the passenger side seat are electronically adjustable. The rear seats can recline too so that the rear passenger gets to choose which position he/she finds to be the most comfortable. The main game changing difference is the addition of a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system which has become a norm in all the modern cars which the previous model was clearly lacking. The dash is very driver centric as it is at an angle pointing towards the driver for better ease of use.
The dash is laid out neatly with all the necessary function button in proper reach. The wireless charging pad is really handy as you don’t have to carry around a USB cable to charge your smartphone while driving, (only works with smartphones that support wireless charging). The heated and cooled front seats are really a blessing to tackle difficult weather conditions. We all know how our backs get sweaty in the summer after a long duration on the seat which can now be avoided with the cooled seats, while it can be heated in the winter to keep you back from freezing.
The panoramic sunroof which is included in the top spec GT line is also larger than before to give more view to its occupants. The new interior colors really lighten up the interior and give it a bright and vibrant look. It also comes with all the new age technology such as push button start, keyless entry, etc.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The model that we tested was the 2 liter diesel GT line variant capable of producing 178 PS @ 4000 RPM and 400 Nm of torque @ 1750-2750 RPM mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. As the power fi gure states, the 400Nm of torque is available from as low as 1750 RPM and it can really be felt as it pins you back to the seat when you give it the full beans. The gearbox is quite quick to respond as it responds well to your input, the nature of the shifts depend on which mode you are driving in.
If you are driving in eco or normal mode then the gear will shift in the lower RPMs to give better fuel economy while in sports mode the gearbox holds the gear longer to favor better performance. If that is still not enough you can take control of the shifting with the help of the paddle shifter mounted on the back of the steering wheel. The gearbox responds quickly to the input from the paddle shifter so you can shift as you please. The 400Nm torque drives all four wheels and is very quick in gathering speed, you will be doing triple digit speeds in a couple of seconds if you are right foot heavy. But having a heavy right foot will definitely take a toll on your fuel economy.
COMFORT AND HANDLING
The Sportage is a very comfortable vehicle to be seated in and the same can be said while driving the car as well. The car is well balanced so it take cares of most of the bumps and potholes with ease and very little of those make its way into the cabin. It also does not compromise the handling of the vehicle while cornering as it stays in place with the help of the Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC) which monitors the traction between the tires and provides the required amount of torque to the tire with the most grip to counter oversteer or understeer.
This and the Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) makes sure that you are in line and don’t lose control of the vehicle while driving or braking. The off-road terrain dynamax AWD (All Wheel Drive) system monitors the surface that you are driving on and the grip levels to send torque to the required wheel to get out of sticky situations. There are other comfort and safety features such as Electronic Parking Brakes (EPB), Cruise Control, Hillstart Assist, Down-hill Assist, 6 Airbags and Antilock Braking System (ABS).
The Kia Sportage is quite a package; it packs in luxury, style, performance and handling. It has been around for such a long time for a reason it seems. Although it shares most of its components with its sister vehicle, the Hyundai Tucson, it has a completely different feel and character which makes it hard to think that these two vehicles are basically the same underneath. Both the vehicles have its own strength and weaknesses but the main thing is that both of them have their own unique personality for different driving purposes.
One of the main advantage of the Kia Sportage over the rest of its rivals is the fact that it is priced lower than most of it competition if not all. Starting off from Rs 69,90,000/- for the two wheel drive petrol variant all the way to Rs 1,10,90,000/- for the top of the line diesel GT line variant. It caters to a larger market with such a wide price range. So if the Sportage is in between you price range then you should most definitely give it a go!