By Sala Masindane
As we’ve been mentioning before, hatches and SUVs are taking over. The options are plenty and you are spoiled for choice. Being that it may, some of the SUVs in the market are out of people’s budgets and this where entry level models come in. They have all the requirements for an SUV besides the bells and whistles. We recently sampled the updated Kia Sportage 1.6 GDI Ignite to see if it ticks the boxes of an entry level SUV.
Upfront there is a new bumper design and a refreshed, slightly prominent Kia signature ‘tiger nose’ grille. The headlamps which incorporate LED Daytime Running Lights are retained. At the rear, Sportage also gains a revised bumper and the back lights get a new lighting signature that will undoubtedly make the vehicle stand out. The side looks good as well with the slopping roof line and it is also compliment by 16-inch alloy wheels which are a feature on the entry level Sportage.
Notwithstanding the GDI Ignite an entry level Sportage, the premium look has not been overlooked by Kia and things like the stitching on top of the dash and the chrome vents, which resembles some of the luxurious German SUVs, bear testament to that. There are some plastic materials, but these are durable and also appear to be built for long term. The Sportage GDI Ignite is fitted with a basic infotainment system (we do prefer the touchscreen) that has Bluetooth functionality and USB connectivity. Interestingly the sound system sounds decent notwithstanding the basic infotainment. This is good but not something you expect to be associated with Kia at this point of the company’s journey.
The Sportage also has comfortable fabric seats and there’s decent legroom for 3 adults at the back. The rear seats also recline making life easier for the occupants at the back. This is all thanks to the increase of the length of the Kia Sportage. The boot space is enough for a larger family and you will not be found wanting when taking long road trips. The boot also houses a full spare wheel and there’s also additional space to store the Sportage’s parcel shelf neatly next to the spare. The door bins and the four cupholders are decent this will add to the spacious nature of the Sportage.
The entry-level Sportage Ignite we had on test uses a 1.6 petrol engine (97kW and 161Nm) that is new to the range, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission (manual not offered in this range). The engine does take some time to get used and labors if rushed when over taking. However, once you are comfortable with that you will return with a good fuel consumption. We managed a good average of 6.5 l/100km which is better than the claimed fuel consumption 7.3 l/100km. That means more saved money to spend with loved ones. The driving or speeds of the Sportage is not hair raising or jaw dropping but it is great under normal driving conditions.
People who buy SUVs generally buy them for the higher position driving and the Kia Sportage ticks that box as visibility is good. The A-pillar does create a blind spot but nothing unbearable. The Sportage 1.6 GDI Ignite is priced at a decent R386,995 considering the value you get from this Sportage. It’s a decently sized family car that has an automatic transmission, cruise control, spacious and it is a practical car for families.
The price will include Kia’s industry-leading unlimited kilometer, five-year warranty, as well as a standard five-year/90,000 km service plan and five years of roadside assistance.
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