What really struck me about the recently upgraded Kia Sportage diesel GT-Line is how competitive it is against all comers.
I had been in a slew of medium SUVs before getting into the Kia Sportage and it was right at the top of the tree in terms of look, feel, ride, economy and performance to say nothing of fit and finish.
That was against some highly regarded Japanese and some Euro models.
Sportage in its current form has been around for a few years now and I wasn’t really a fan of the floating headlights but the look has grown on me.
The top of the line GT diesel driven sells for $47,690 but represents good value when you compare apples with apples.
And it gets an eight speed auto this time around adding to performance and optimising fuel efficiency. Happy days.
The froggy eyes seem to be toned down a bit with the latest iteration of Sportage in particular on the top of the range GT-Line driven with full LED headlights.
They changed the grille too and sundry body hardware parts to freshen the look.
It’s bigger than you think and is roughly the same size as Mazda’s CX-5 against which Sportage should be shopped.
The stance is squat and the overall look is reserved but powerful especially around the hind quarters.
Sportage’s styling has struck a chord with plenty of buyers based on a strong sales rate.
It’s a carry-over of the previous model with minor detail changes and some contrast fascia to lift the feel of the interior.
Kia does good interiors these days certainly the equal of any competitors and offers plenty of room inside for five and a decent size boot, complete with hands free auto tailgate on the GT-Line.
There’s isn’t much to complain about inside the Spotage GT-Line as it offers a full suite of luxury and practical features.
Kia sweetened the deal this time around with more kit across the entire Sportage range including advanced driver assist technology. The GT-Line ticks all the boxes with goodies like;
- LED headlights
- Large sunroof
- Flat bottom multi-mode steering wheel
- Eight way power driver seat
- Heating/ventilated front seats
- Wireless phone charger
- Smart cruise control
- Smartphone streaming
- Leather upholstery
Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbo diesel four cylinder driving the front wheels mostly with AWD on demand through an eight speed auto transmission. A 4WD lock function is available through a button on the centre console.
The engine runs a high efficiency variable geometry turbo that helps it pass EU5 emissions regs – a tad difficult for a diesel.
Three drive modes are provided while the locally fettled suspension is by struts at the front and a multi-link rear.
It has decent size brakes and nice fat rubber to grip the road.
Get a flat in Sportage and you have a full size spare to fall back on.
Performance is strong across a wide operating range heightened this time around by the close ratio auto.
It’s relatively quiet too and sips fuel at an economical 6.4-litres/100km.
Towing capacity for the diesel AWD is 1900kg.
It’s a five seater only with a good size load space down the back.
Sportage gets a five star ANCAP rating but the GT-Line goes a lot further than that with all available Kia advanced driver assist technology going into the package.
This means autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, blind spot warning, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert and so on.
There isn’t much you miss out on in this desirable area.
- Strong and smooth diesel engine
- Eight speed auto
- AWD lock function
- Generous level of advanced driver assist technology
- Plenty of luxury features
- Good size
- Unbeatable warranty
Not So Good Bits
- Price is getting up there when you add on roads
- Pessimistic forward collision warning system
- Not a fan of frontal styling
You’d have to have a Kia Sportage on your shopping list if you were after a medium SUV.
It is one of the front runners and offers plenty of kit and safety as well as locally calibrated ride and handling.
The Sportage is just a good thing all round and can tow a decent weight as well.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Kia Sportage GT-Line
- Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 136kW/400Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Warranty: 7 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $47,490