It was an adventure getting into the Kia Sportage with a manual box
Car Reviewed: Kia Sportage ‘3’ 1.6 T-GDi 148bhp 6-speed Manual (2WD)
After so many weeks of driving hybrid and electric cars and internal combustion cars with automatic transmissions.
In case anyone is wondering, all hybrids and electric cars are automatic transmissions. Indeed, some no longer have a gearstick but instead a rotary dial, or a small toggle or even just a button.
This Sportage, however, is very traditional with a proper gearstick, clutch brake and accelerator that everyone will recognise, although the choices it offers mean that it is that rare breed of car, it can be all things to all men and women because there are so many versions.
On top of this, all the hybrids have the option of two- or four-wheel-drive while this manual, like its diesel brother, is only front-wheel drive. It is a 1.6-litre petrol model in ‘3’ trim just under the top-of-the-range GT-Line S.
That means it comes with a vast array of systems, features and equipment as standard. Kia, as a brand, has always been very ready to include as much as possible in the price of its cars and it has stuck to this over the years. The primary beneficiary of this policy has been its customers, who rarely have to pay for an option on any of its models.
This is particularly satisfying for the Kia Sportage, which is the company’s best-selling model across the UK, Europe and indeed the world, and even more so because this latest version has been designed specifically for the European market, the fussiest.
Thus the robust and strong SUV design has sporty skid plates, lovely daytime running lights and electrically folding door mirrors for all those supermarket car parks where spaces seem to be getting narrower by the year.
Inside are two beautiful 12.3-inch glass displays, one for the instrument cluster and one for nav, entertainment and comfort aids. There is a reverse camera, Bluetooth, sensors, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and USB ports front and rear.
Heated seats have been installed front and rear and there is good leg space.
The boot was big enough to take my golf trolley, and the back seats go down for extra room in that 40/20/40 configuration.
As a drive, the Sportage is solid and reliable, the kind of car for the family. It holds the road well and has plenty of performance for long journeys and enough nippiness for getting around town or to the shops and school quickly and efficiently.
There is a drive mode selection onboard offering Eco and Sport mode with Hill Start Assist Control for those awful traffic lights at the top of steep slopes, lane keep assist, multi-collision braking, downhill brake control and a facility to monitor the presence of pedestrians and cyclists.
A much-beloved model in the UK, the Kia Sportage keeps getting better and better while still maintaining sensible prices and retaining its industry-leading warranty.
Maggie Barry is an Award winning journalist, she regularly travels in Europe and beyond to test drive cars. A former lecturer in journalism and motoring editor of Media Scotland she has written for and contributed to the Daily Record and Sunday Mail among others. She is on the panel judging the Scottish Car of the Year and Women’s World Car of the Year. She lives near Glasgow with her husband and several cars.
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