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DRIVEN - THE #KIA #SPORTAGE 2.4 GDI SX AWD

Date: 02 Aug 2017 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Matthew Willis
Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Matthew Willis
 
The Kia Sportage was originally launched at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September 2015, and has done good business for the brand, and has now been superseded by an all new model which aims to continue the trend, with bold styling and a spacious interior packed with more technology than ever before.

The new fourth-generation Sportage models are built at KIA’s manufacturing facility in Ĺ˝ilina, Slovakia and comprises five models. The derivative featured in these road impressions is the new to the range, Kia Sportage 2.4 GDI SX AWD.

The new Sportage is recognised by its bold new ‘face’ with KIA’s hallmark ‘tiger-nose’ grille and the car’s headlamps separated for the new model. The headlamps are now positioned higher, sweeping back along the outer edges of the sharply-detailed bonnet. A lower, wider grille – enlarged to support greater engine cooling – adds more volume to the lower half of the Sportage’s face, with new ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lamps, day-light running lamps, and aluminium-effect skid plates.
 
The all-new Sportage also has a 30 mm longer wheelbase, a 40 mm greater overall vehicle length, a more aerodynamic rear spoiler, longer front overhangs and shorter rear overhangs. The wheel arches on the press vehicle were filled with 19” alloy wheels shod with low profile 245/45R19 tyres.

The completely redesigned interior features high quality materials and design integrity, as well as great practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety. A range of new and updated engines and transmissions results in enhanced efficiency and performance, while ride, handling and refinement are all improved.
 
The new Sportage is more generous in interior dimensions than its predecessor. The driver and passenger have plenty of space and those in the rear benefit from more leg room than before, while the boot can easily swallow large suitcases, and a large opening helps with loading. An adjustable boot floor adds to the Sportage's practical nature, as do rear seats that fold almost flat.
 

 
The new ergonomic cockpit is fully oriented towards the driver – with everything perfectly placed for you to use with ease. While the upper part of the dashboard offers convenient eye-level display, the lower command zone puts everything you need within reach.

Standard features in the new Sportage SX includes Start/Stop button with Smart Key, electric driver and passenger seats, leather seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, 4.2” Supervision TFT LCD Cluster, 7-inch Touch-screen with Navigation + AUX/USB connection, electric tailgate, rear view camera, Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors and on-board trip computer. The Sportage also features two USB charging points, one in the front and one in the rear, to allow all occupants to charge their mobile devices while on the move.

Also standard are the map lamp with sunglass holder, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, mirror indicator, cooling glove box and electric chromic mirror.

Safety is very high on the Kia agenda and the new Sportage comes with no less than six airbags, ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points fitted to the second row of seats, while pedestrian safety is further improved with a lower leading edge on the bonnet and a larger impact absorption area.

The new Sportage performed strongly in the Euro NCAP’s important Safety Assist category, which analyses the latest driver assistance technologies and helps ensure stability under braking and cornering through careful management of the vehicle’s Electronic Stability. The all-new Sportage scored a maximum possible five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash performance tests.

In the stopping department the all-new Sportage boasts greater braking performance compared to the third-generation model, with redesigned calipers and new brake pad return springs reducing braking drag. Combined with larger brake discs, the Sportage offers better stopping power than ever before with larger discs in front while the rear brakes have been enlarged. In the emergency stop from 100 km/h, stomping hard on the brake pedal brought the Sportage to a full stop in just 3.2 seconds which is pretty good for a large SUV. The electronic parking brake has also been upgraded and now switches on automatically when the engine is switched off.

The Sportage 2.4 GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) SX AWD model is powered by the 2,4-litre engine pushing out 135 kw of power at 6 000 r/min and peak torque of 237 Nm at 4 000 r/min, and linked to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and Dynamax on-demand all-wheel drive.

In acceleration tests leaving the automatic box in D to do its own changing, it sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.6 seconds after two gear changes, and has a top speed of 192 km/h. Fuel consumption over the period I had the vehicle averaged 10.2 litres per100 kms in the combined cycle and the tank holds a handy 62 litres.
 

 
Driving the new Sportage, the first thing you notice is how comfortable the driving position is. Around town the Sportage is good with excellent visibility thanks to its commanding driving position and large mirrors.

The electric motor-driven power steering system for the fourth-generation Sportage has been upgraded over the system in the previous model, given quicker steering responses. It is a little heavy at parking speeds, but it is well weighted and does provide some feedback. The good turning radius however, makes it easy to park and maneuver in tight places.

Around town the Sportage is light to drive, and with the naturally aspirated petrol engine providing the power, you can nip through gaps and with plenty of acceleration out of busy junctions. On faster roads, the 2, 4 had ample power for overtaking, while cab noise on the freeways at around the 120 km/h mark is well controlled.

The Sportage is very comfortable, handles well in the corners and lets the driver push on without ever feeling as he’s pushing his luck. At highish speeds on twisty roads, it does exhibit some body roll, but it’s always manageable. There's a good amount of grip, and the four-wheel-drive system means you won't have to worry too much when the conditions become slippery.

I didn’t do any serious 4x4ing as the Sportage is more of a crossover than an off-road SUV, but I did test it on a rough gravel road where the all-wheel drive system provided tremendous grip and good road-holding, and the rough sections confirmed that the Sportage was free of rattles or shake.
 
 
The recommended retail selling price of the Kia Sportage 2.4 GDI SX AWD is R557 995 which includes a 5-year / Unlimited Kilometres warranty, a 5-year / 90 000km Service Plan and 5-year/Unlimited Roadside Assistance. 
 
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