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THE ALL-NEW KIA SPORTAGE 2023
The all-new fifth generation Kia Sportage has finally arrived and launched in South Africa and I had an opportunity to spend some time with it over the past weekend. The new Kia Sportage stands out with its exterior design, some appealing technology, and advanced driver assistance and safety features but does it live up to its expectations? is it worth the hype? should you consider buying it, and does it represents Kia’s five key design principles: BOLD for Nature, JOY for Reason, POWER to Progress, TECHNOLOGY for Life, and TENSION for Serenity?
The Western Cape province is blessed with a heady mix of mountains, dramatic mountain passes, amazing rock formations, steep cliffs, winelands, and picturesque small towns and villages and as a Cape Town-based travel writer, I regularly find myself spending more time on the road exploring the province so driving an appropriate vehicle around the Western Cape is a no brainer. Currently my coupé/convertible lacks cabin room, does not have a boot space when the top is down, and sometimes is too low to drive at some areas. A 7-seater SUV would be too big for a young travelling couple, a small sedan or hatchback would lack power on some mountainous roads or be too low to drive on rocky and sometimes muddy roads that I usually drive on when I visit secluded small towns and villages.
Excellent large cabin and boot space, turbocharged engine, amazing fuel consumption, great driving experience, and advanced technology with driver assistance and safety features are some of the few exciting things that would convince one to buy the new fifth generation Kia Sportage. It looks cool and sets itself apart from other compact SUVs with its unconventional but futuristic exterior styling including stylish headlights with boomerang-style daytime running LED lights and a distinctive tiger-nose grille design, but do I think it’s cool enough for me to buy it? Continue reading to find out.
The new Kia Sportage looks futuristic with neat details including a black tiger-nose grille that stretches across the front width of the vehicle. The grille is also complemented by boomerang-style daytime running LED lights, low-mounted LED headlights, and fog lights.
Door handles are colour-coded and to add elegance and a sportier look, the back covers on the electric folding mirrors, functional roof rails, and roof have been blacked out. There are also notable chrome fittings on the bottom front, back, below the window trims, and on the D-pillars. The dramatic design continues at the back with a stylish tailgate with connected razor rear lights.
My test Kia Sportage, GT-Line was fitted with an electronic tinted panoramic sunroof which added a joyful mood to my driving experience, a functional glossy black shark fin antenna, 19-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch cladding, and rear camera with front and rear parking assist sensors.
INTERIOR STYLING AND SPACE
Open the door and you will be welcomed by a spacious cabin and stylish dashboard fitted with a massive curved digital touch display packed with the latest technology and features. Driver and passenger seats are power-adjustable, heated, and ventilated.
GT-Line comes standard with a multifunction steering wheel, and power windows in front and back. A combination of quality artificial leather and Alcantara/suede seats, modern interior design, style, trims, and finishes create a premium ambiance inside the cabin.
The tinted electronic panoramic sunroof also adds sophistication and makes the cabin feel less claustrophobic. There is large curved high-resolution digital display integrating a 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster and 12.3-inch high-tech touchscreen infotainment which supports Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto (connected with cable only in my test model), and voice recognition.
Heated front seats switches, wireless smartphone charger, 12v socket, USB/Type-C charging ports, and dual auto digital climate controls with a touchpad that toggles between the climate and audio controls are located conveniently and within the driver’s reach under climate controls.
The piano-black bezel centre console puts myriad other controls such as a rotary gear shift dial, one of the features I’ve recently learnt to love and enjoy, a push-to-start button, drive mode selector, and electronic handbrake within easy reach of the driver. Angular air vents that hug the curved large display add a technical and futuristic look to the interior too.
Kia thought of the second-row passengers as well and added two USB-C charging ports on the sides of driver and front passenger seats and rear ventilations at the back of the centre console – but no climate controls. The electric tailgate gives you access to 591L of boot space and for your convenience, there are remote seats releases that operate the 40/20/40 split second row seats located in the boot and an LED light has been added to make it easier to find things when the vehicle is parked in a dark area.
DRIVING EXPERIENCE AND COMFORT
The new Sportage has been improved on comfort, style, design, and quality without compromising functionality, safety, and driving experience. The all-new Kia Sportage has an impressive ground clearance which makes it a great vehicle for us who like to take less challenging off-the-beaten paths. The moment you press the push-to-start button, you will discover an array of the latest features and safety technology designed to keep you safe and in control during any drive whether around the city, running errands, commuting to work, driving on gravel roads, or just taking a road trip with your loved ones or friends.
Driving experience and comfort are excellent thanks to the newly-designed heated power steering wheel which kept my fingers warm during the chilly morning and comfortable heated and ventilated leather seats added extra comfort too. Visibility is as great due to large windows and windshield, body dimensions, and parking assist sensors including a rear camera. The ride quality is also very comfortable with no obvious road noises.
The GT-Line has an automatic transmission with four Drive Modes (DM) selections – ECO, NORMAL, SPORT, and SMART to enhance your driving experience and fuel consumption. I selected ECO mode when I wanted to save fuel or when I was driving through gravel roads and SPORT mode when I really wanted to put the Sportage to real test on open roads and you can definitely feel the difference in power shift.
SAFETY AND DRIVER-ASSISTANCE FEATURES
Kia always ensures that drivers are safe and in complete control every time they drive their models and they did not compromise on the technology and safety features in the new Sportage. The Kia Sportage comes loaded with loads of driver assistance features and technology such as Adaptive Cruise Control which allows the Sportage to safely slow itself down when there is another vehicle in front of it and accelerates itself to the set cruise speed limit when the road ahead clears and it is safe to do so, Blind-Spot Monitoring(BSM) to alert you with a bright small triangle in your side mirrors when there is another vehicle coming from the side.
Other features include six airbags, Lane Keep Assist (LKA) – A sensor/radar at the front of the Sportage monitors lane markings, and if you move out of the lane unintentionally, (LKA) alerts you and even steers you back to your lane, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system which activates the vehicle’s brakes when a potential collision is detected – it works automatically without you actually stepping on the brake pedal, and Front Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) evaluates both camera and radar data from the Sportage to help you avoid collisions. The system analyses information about other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists crossing the road to avoid a potential collision with them. Kia Sportage GT-Line also has an Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and Downhill Brake Control (DBC).
The new Kia Sportage packs an impressive turbocharged 1.6-liter engine which produces 132kW and 265Nm torque and is mated with an 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Only single turbocharged engine option is offered with five derivatives to choose from, the LX, EX, GT-Line (featured model), GT-Line Plus, and GT-Line S.
Kia Sportage has a 55L fuel tank and I averaged 6.5L/100 km. I switched between ECO and SPORT modes and sometimes drove the Sportage on manual mode to test the transmission and steering-wheel shift paddles.
Featured Model: KIA Sportage GT-Line
Power/Torque: 132Kw @5500 rpm and 265Nm torque
Transmission: 7-speed automatic transmission
Engine: 1.6 T-GDI (Petrol)
Wheels and Tyres: 235/50/R19
Fuel Tank Capacity: 54L
Retail Price: From R649 995*
Boot Space: 591L of boot space
Warranty: All Kia Sportage models come standard with a 5-year unlimited kilometres warranty, 6 year/90 000km service plan inclusive of Roadside Assistance.
Sportage 1.6 T-GDI LX R539 995
Sportage 1.6 T-GDI EX R593 995
Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT-Line Plus R677 995
Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT-Line S R734 995
NEW KIA SPORTAGE MODELS AND COLOURS
Kia Sportage comes in twelve vibrant colours, sparkling silver (featured model) tricoat white pearl, casa white, experience green, black pearl, infra red metallic, orange fusion, splash lemon, lunar silver, blue frame, dark penta metal, and yuka steel grey.
Taking into consideration the joy I felt while driving, the comfort, excellent driving experience, modern interior design, and futuristic exterior styling that made me turn twice to look at the Sportage every time I parked it, I believe Kia ticked all their design philosophy boxes with this model. If you’re in the market for an affordable five-seater compact SUV, consider looking at the all-new 5th generation Kia Sportage. It is certainly not short of options, technology, and safety features. It’s safe, practical, and comes packed with incredible standard features and space. The new compact SUV Kia Sportage is definitely hitting all the sweet spots and is definitely the perfect vehicle I would add in my garage. I am also excited that Kia have decided to use a black interior roof liner and sun visors in the GT-Line. I had a problem with the beige ones they used in the Sorento model I tested and reviewed a few months ago.
#MovementThatInspires #LeadByExample #KiaSportage
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