Safety features in the Sportage GT-Line S include front and side airbags, and the very useful Lane Keep Assist which buzzed if I drifted too close to the white lines.
Other safety elements include a blind spot warning and ‘forward collision avoidance assist’ – particularly welcome on slow sections of the M23 this weekend when I was driving alongside roadworks at 50mph. ISOFIX child seat fixtures are standard, as are child safety rear door locks.
Under semi-Arctic conditions, I was grateful for the front wiper de-icer. A genius idea that helped scrape off the white stuff when I realised I’d forgotten my de-icing spray. I was also relieved to feel the Sportage’s downhill brake control click into action. This feature automatically limits the car’s speed on slippery inclines and came in very handy negotiating the snow-covered South Downs. It also meant I didn’t have to hit the brakes and risk skidding into adjacent fields; nor was I forced to lose traction. The innovative LED ‘Ice-cube’ front fog lights were also very efficient – in day and night driving. Safety first from KIA.
The muscly Sportage GT-Line S boasts a propulsive 2.0-litre diesel engine with all-wheel drive and has what KIA calls a ‘mild hybrid’ system.
This basically means there’s a battery under the hood, but the Sportage doesn’t actually function under full electric power (as yet). Rather the 48V lithium-ion battery provides power assistance to the engine on acceleration, while on braking or coasting switches to a nifty ‘generator’ mode recuperating energy to recharge the battery.
KIA is committed to rolling out full-electric vehicles, so the Sportage’s all-new EcoDynamics and 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain is just the beginning of the company’s global powertrain electrification strategy. There are plans to launch a new fuel-cell electric vehicle by 2020.
All well and good you may say – but this car is a diesel: Economically sound but environmentally unsound? Despite the headlines, diesel cars are still a popular choice for C-SUV buyers and count for more than 45% of all European sales. KIA’s Sportage sales exceeded 131,000 last year in Europe alone. As KIA President and CEO Paul Philpott explained recently: “We think the launch of our 1.6-litre U3 engine and mild-hybrid Eco-Dynamics + technology is very timely. It exceeds the demands of the latest emissions regulations including Euro 6d Temp and is one of the most efficient diesel engines in the C-SUV segment.
“In the last two years, GT-Line and GT-Line S accounted for more than 23% of all Sportage registrations, proving its appeal to customers who value the marque’s youthful, sporty, muscly aesthetics.”
In addition, KIA diesel engines are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) active emissions control tech to regulate emissions, as well as particulate filters. For higher mileage users, diesel cars make total sense, delivering low running costs and exceptional fuel economy. The fuel tank holds a generous 55 litres and with a mix of road and motorway driving, I achieved an average of 52mpg.
The KIA Sportage GT-LINE S has the aesthetics and power to satisfy the most demanding of petrolheads, while its spaciousness and ergonomic cabin design make it an enjoyable and comfortable car to drive. Boot space is massive with room for multiple shopping bags, golf clubs and at least 3 adult suitcases. But most importantly, the Sportage provides good economy and value for money. Some drivers may prefer the new 1.6-litre non-hybrid diesel version that replaces the 1.7, but I love the extra oomph and refined touches of the 2.0-litre beastie.
In summary, the KIA Sportage GT-LINE S is an excellent mid-size family SUV that is a worthy competitor to the Seat Ateca and Nissan’s Qashquai.
KIA SPORTAGE ‘GT-LINE’ 2.0 CRDi 48V 8-speed auto ISG AWD Statistics
The KIA Sportage range is available in 21 variants based on five engines (diesel and petrol options), three gearboxes and six trim lines. Five new paint colours are available, including new shades of silver, grey, blue and copper.
- Manufactured Slovakia Price £34,545
- Engine 4cyls, 1995cc, turbo diesel plus starter-generator
- Power 182bhp @ 4,000rpm
- Torque 295lb ft @ 1750-2750rpm
- Gearbox 8-speed automatic
- Capacity: 1,995cc
- Kerb weight 1712kg
- Top speed 125mph
- 0-60mph 9.2sec
- Fuel economy Urban: 45.6; Ex Urban 53.3; Combined 48.7
- Wheels: 19 x 7.5 J alloy
- Kerb weight: 1,712kg
- CO2 152
- Tank: 55 litres
- Length 4,485mm 2,670mm
- Emissions: Euro 6d TEMP
- Rivals Mazda CX-5; Nissan Qashqai, Toyota C-HR
- Warranty: 7 years/100,000 miles. (3 years/unlimited mileage)