First Drive: Kia Sportage

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With sales of crossover SUVs continuing to soar, Kia will have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new generation Sportage to Ireland. Not least because it is now available as a hybrid for the first time.

It’s also rather striking visually, with dramatic arrow shaped LED DRLs cosseting a front grille that extents the width of the vehicle, similar arrow shaped lights at the rear, and some bold styling angles and creases. Bearing similarities with the new all-electric EV6, it has a far more dramatic look than its more rounded predecessor without being too extreme to frighten off traditional customers.

Inside is a bit more subdued, with the view in front of you dominated by the two 12.3 inch screens similar to those seen on the EV6. Build quality as experienced from an initial short drive seems solid, while space is plentiful both for front and rear seat passengers.

At launch there’s a choice of two diesels with 115PS and 136PS, a mild hybrid petrol (MHEV) and a full hybrid called HEV. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version will be available from Quarter 2.

The four trim levels start with the K2 version which is only offered with the 115PS CRDi diesel. Priced at €34,300, standard equipment includes 17” alloys, LED headlamps, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, auto dimming rear view mirror, cruise control with speed limiter, lane keep assist, lane follow assist and forward collision avoidance .

The K3 trim has a choice of the 150PS 1.6 litre MHEV TDGi or the 1.6 CRDi diesel which are both priced at €38,000, or the full hybrid HEV version at €42,000. Extras over the K2 spec include 18” alloys, heated front and rear seats, power adjustable front seats, and a 12.3” infotainment screen with Kia Connect (UVO connectivity). The HEV version also features smart cruise control and highway driving assistance.

The K4 is available with 1.6 Diesel and 1.6 HEV at €40,500 and €44,500 respectively. Exterior enhancements include matt chrome coated front bumper and door garnish and silver painted rear skid plates. Inside you get beige leather upholstery, driver memory seats, ventilated front seats, a curved 12.3” inch driver cluster display and wireless phone charger.The HEV version also gets blind spot collision avoidance.

The range-topping GT-line comes with the 136PS CRDi diesel which also features mild hybrid technology. It boasts 19”alloys, special GT-line sports upholstery, GT-line exterior styling, sports pedals and smart power tailgate as standard. Priced at €43,000, a sunroof-fitted version costs €44,500.

For now a Sportage Commercial version of the outgoing model continues to be offered, though stock numbers are limited. A new K2 specced Sportage Commercial is expected in the second half of this year.

“The Sportage is a key model having been our best-seller for over 10 years,” said Ronan Flood, Managing Director Kia Ireland. “With its forward-thinking exterior design and its pioneering interior, the new Sportage combines a dynamic road presence on the outside with a class-leading, driver-focused premium cabin that benefits from the very latest breakthrough tech features.”