More and more buyers are looking for a station wagon rather than an SUV with all-wheel-drive, hence the need for a vehicle like this new upmarket 2WD variant.
Kia Sportage Si Premium has a petrol engine, six-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloys, automatic headlamps and wipers, LED daytime running lights and roof rails. The cabin has a combination of leather and cloth in the seat trim. Lumbar support on the driver’s seat is another handy safety aid – after all, a comfortable driver is a safe one.
Bluetooth mobile phone and media streaming is now standard in all models.
Upgrades are many and varied. Over the outgoing model, the Kia Sportage Si now has a new design of 16-inch alloy wheel, rear parking sensors, and trailer stability control on models with an automatic transmission. Inside there is a large front console storage box.
Kia Sportage SL gains an active AWD system, dual-zone climate control, satellite navigation, a high-quality seven-speaker Infinity sound system with a sub-woofer, front parking sensors, and a 4.2-inch colour TFT infotainment screen.
The Kia Platinum has 18-inch alloy wheels, smart key and push button start, driver’s power seat, leather trimmed seats – and heated seats in the rear as well as the front. There’s darkened privacy glass, and strong HID headlamps with washers
We are assured the latest Kia Sportage provides, “an even more refined experience thanks to a number of changes designed to minimise noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).” But we haven’t had a chance to drive one as yet, so standby for a full report once we get ourselves into one.
Having said that, a real upmarket addition to the latest Sportage is the use of a sound-dampening windscreen. This is an interlayer film between the glass laminations, to cut wind noise and vibration.
Safety equipment is expansive: six airbags, active front head restraints, stability control with traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. hill-start assist and downhill brake control are handy aids to safer and smoother driving.
Big news is the use of an efficient 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine. A six-speed manual gearbox replaces the old five-speed unit in models that have a do-it-yourself gearbox.
The Kia Sportage is built in the company’s modern factory in Slovakia. Quality is pleasingly high as evidenced by the Sportage taking out top spot in the JD Power 2014 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study in the Compact SUV category.
The complete 2014 Kia Sportage range is:
Si 2.0 GDi 2.0-litre petrol 2WD five-door wagon: $25,990 (manual), $28,190 (automatic)
Si Premium 2.0 GDi 2.0-litre petrol 2WD five-door wagon: $29,990 (automatic)
SLi Premium 2.0 GDi 2.0-litre petrol AWD five-door wagon: $34,790 (automatic)
SLi 2.0 CRDi 2.0-litre diesel AWD five-door wagon: $37,790 (automatic)
Platinum 2.0 GDi 2.0-litre petrol AWD five-door wagon: $38,390 (automatic)
Platinum 2.0 CRDi 2.0-litre diesel AWD five-door wagon: $41,390 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.