THE NEW Kia Sportage crossover is a far more attractive car than its predecessor. It now looks expensive, but is actually very affordable, and comes with an unbelievably long warranty. What more could you ask for if you’re in the market for a chic family car?

The Sportage line-up now includes four engines, including brand-new highly efficient 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol and 1.7-litre turbodiesel units; manual and automatic transmissions; and the choice of front-wheel drive or active all-wheel drive. My test car was the 1.7 CRDi 3 Sat Nav 2WD with Kia’s Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) technology, which shuts down the engine when the car is stationary to help save fuel and reduce emissions. The system restarts instantly as soon as you’re ready to move off again. Together, these measures ensure the new Sportage is as environmentally sound as it is stylish and fun to drive.

The car is extremely well specified. For example it features a fully integrated 7-inch touch screen satellite navigation with built in reversing camera and upgraded audio sound system. But forget all the gadgetry for a moment because, probably more importantly to most private buyers, the Sportage comes with a seven-year warranty that can be transferred to subsequent owners as long as the 100,000-mile limit has not been reached. If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is.

Looks-wise, the new Kia Sportage is a radical departure from the dull 2004 model it replaces. It is longer, lower and wider and now incorporates the key features of an SUV in a more athletic and muscular package. The high shoulder and low roof lines meet in striking reverse-angle C-pillars that improve the view out for rear passengers. And the ribbed roof, chunky door handles, LED day-time running lights and large wing
mirrors make the car appear more street-wise than competitors such as the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan.

Inside, the spacious five-seat cabin is as dynamic as the exterior and is dominated by a multi-tier dashboard that narrows as it sweeps in from the sides towards the middle, leading into an eye-catching centre console. When it comes to loading up, boot space is adequate, not massive, but the flagship Sportage 3 model makes up for that with full leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, Xenon headlights with washers, auto light control, front wiper de-icer, premium vision instrument cluster, auto-dimming rear view mirror and 18-inch alloywheels.

For a big car the Sportage is surprisingly easy to drive and park. This is down to a revised power-assisted steering system that ensures light, easy manoeuvrability at low speeds but with enough weightiness and feedback to make the car agile and stable at motorway speeds. The Kia also delivers an absorbent and comfortable ride on pretty much any road surface thanks to its all-independent suspension. And despite the rather ‘bling’ 18 inch alloys on my demo, the 1.7-litre turbodiesel propelled Kia, with the fuel-saving assistance of ISG, is capable of returning 52.3 mpg, yet it is still a sprightly performer thanks to a slick six-speed gearbox and a
maximum power output of 114bhp.

The new Kia Sportage is an impressive all-rounder. On one hand it’s perfect for young families who want a fashionable, sophisticated, fuel-efficient crossover. On the other hand the 1.7-litre turbodiesel front-wheel-drive model will be very appealing to business users because the Sportage has all the space and versatility of a compact SUV with the low CO2 and tax benefits of a smaller hatchback.


  • Space    
  • Looks    
  • Low  CO2
  • Boot isn’t the largest X


  • Max speed: 107 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 11.9 secs
  • Combined mpg: 52.3
  • Engine layout: 1685cc 4 cylinder 16v turbodiesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 114 at 4000 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb.ft): 192 at 1250 – 2750 rpm
  • CO2: 143 g/km      
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