By Phume Mkhungo
Late last year, Kia South Africa celebrated the 30th anniversary of the brand’s popular Sportage nameplate and also introduced a bunch of new advanced driver assistance systems across all model derivatives, offering more value for your money for customers who were eyeing the Sportage. Lucky for us, Kia sent us the Sportage LX diesel during the festive break and we did some exploring with the Korean SUV.
The fifth-generation Sportage sports a bold new look which caught the eye of many on-lookers throughout our December travels. Some key highlights include a wide grille flanked by boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, dual-tone 17-inch alloy wheels, razor LED taillights and a sassy Infra Red metallic paint. Overall, the Sportage has an eye-catching design which will definitely get you noticed.
Space for days
Travelling with family during the December break requires space for passengers and a capacious luggage capacity. We are happy to report that the Sportage managed to accommodate us and our luggage with ease. The interior is also comfortable, well-insulated and offers ample space for both front and rear passengers.
Despite being an entry-level derivative, the Sportage LX has a sizeable 12.3-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for maps and media, a semi-digital instrument cluster and a generous amount of USB ports making sure everyone’s smart devices are charged up during lengthy drives.
Frugal diesel engine
With the ever-rising fuel prices, a frugal companion is necessary, especially when travelling long distances. At the heart of the Sportage diesel is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine developing a healthy 100kW and 320Nm. It’s paired with a 7-speed DCT gearbox and sends its power to the front wheels. Kia claims the Sportage has a fuel consumption of 4.9l/100km .
During the December break, we escaped the buzzing concrete jungle of Johannesburg and headed down to the scenic, coastal KwaZulu-Natal for a much-needed recuperation. Throughout December we added well-over 2 000 km to the odometer, stopping over at the majestic Oribi Gorge, the Gwahumbe Game & Spa lodge and the scenic Brahman Hills Hotel & Spa before heading back up to Gauteng.
The Sportage impressed us with its comfortable ride quality, which also does an impressive job when driving on gravel roads. Its diesel engine has ample power and torque, and we managed to achieve an impressive 6.0/100km against Kia’s claimed 4.9l/100km. That said, its dual clutch transmission does get jerky when driving in traffic and its start/stop system takes quite a while to fire up the engine again once traffic starts moving.
Overall, the Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi LX is an exceptional mid-size SUV that looks good, has generous amounts tech and convenience features. It’s also frugal and competitively priced from R637,995.
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