Which one of the All-New Kia Sportage would you go for?
The bestselling of the Kia range in Europe, the well-established latest fifth generation Sportage SUV had been launched offering petrol, diesel, mild hybrid, full hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variations with a choice of eight powertrains, and five ‘Grades’ of equipment and trim options. In all eighteen different versions.
At first site it does seem obviously bigger…30 millimetres, in fact…and, on first impressions, even better in many ways. The last model, sold well, these latest Hybrid versions can only bring more potential with new customers moving towards electrification.
I first drove the 1.6T-GDi ‘GT-line S’ 48V DCT AWD over sixty miles of motorway and country roads averaging 38 mpg (official combined 40.4). After that, over exactly the same route, it was the 1.6 ‘GT-Line S’ HEV AT FWD in which the trip computer showed 44.1 mpg (official combined 48.7).
So the mild hybrid was well out-performed by the full hybrid, both in economy and in markedly superior acceleration: 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds versus 9.4 seconds. Given 226 bhp against 148 bhp, the relative speeds were of course no surprise.
The full hybrid’s 44.2 kW electric power is the ace up its sleeve, therefore, and also contributes to cleaner emissions, 132g/km. The diesel emits 158g/km.
The diesel’s fuel tank of 54 litres would give a range, based on my consumption figures, of around 450 miles which is useful, but bettered by the full hybrid (52-litre tank), at about 510 miles.
Both versions offer driving modes; in the diesel, you get eco, normal and sport. In the petrol tested, it’s just eco and sport. These are selected by a neat switch on the centre console. Here there are also switches for the impressive range of comfort and convenience features in the ‘GT-line S’ specification — heated (both front and outer rear) or cooled seats, for example, and the heated steering wheel. As usual, the steering wheel itself had its full array of controls.
The centre of the dash features Kia’s double set of touch controls: one switch can select which set of controls you want.
The wealth of features available is remarkably impressive. Whether it’s safety, comfort, or connectivity, Kia seems to have thought of everything and, significantly, provided it at the very keen price, in the cars tested, at £39,245 for the diesel, and only £200 more for the full hybrid.
The driving experience was equally pleasant in both models. The spacious cabin is very smartly finished and the seat was comfortable.
Out on the road, the ride was supple and the handling perfectly acceptable, making for a stress-free environment for driver and passengers. The seven-speed automatic gearbox was faultless.
The AWD versions have the ‘Terrain’ drive mode that will help keep the car safely going in some of the worst winter conditions.
All new cars have their built-in autonomy for safety and the new Sportage is no exception.
The range starts at £26,746 for the more basic, 113 bhp manual Sportage.
All-New Sportage retains the marque’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
For EV charging, it would be smart to check out ‘Kia Charge’ and download the Kia Connect app. These would add up to lessening any of the so-called range anxiety still often associated with EV usage.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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