www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)
2008 Melbourne
Motor Show

..... more

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Kia Sportage

by Ken Walker

25th March, 2008

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

Kia Motors of South Korea have gained a great deal of admiration because of their little all-wheel drive Sportage. And the Next Car team has taken the time for a run in the V6 version of the current model.

Upon pick-up, we drove north along the F3 Freeway from Sydney. Our immediate observation was that the wagon behaved more car-like than its design might have one believe.

The package, a 2.7 litre V6 petrol engine matched with a 4 speed automatic gearbox, driving all 4 wheels, handled the road conditions with ease.

Badged as a 4WD by Kia, which unlike the original model released in the early nineties does not have a transfer case to engage low range and enable serious off-road work, so this package now fits in the growing market segment of 'soft-roaders'. The 4 wheel drive, an electrically controlled part time system, is operated by a dash mounted switch. It was more than capable on the dirt roads in a nearby national park.

On the outside, the vehicle is well assembled with all panels fitting with even gaps. The paint finish was also of a very high standard. Inside the trim is of high quality materials that should wear well with normal usage from a family with small children, not that this is the only group that will buy the Sportage wagon. The front bucket seats are very supportive and comfortable; the rear bench has what has become the 'norm', a 60/40 split in the backrest making a handy lay out for carrying long items.

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

The V6 petrol engine develops 129 kW of power and a handy 241 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Steering is hydraulic, power assisted rack and pinion. The Kia Sportage is fitted with Macpherson struts with coil springs and dual link arms at the rear. Gas twin tube strut shock absorbers complete the suspension which is more than adequate to maintain direction.  Traction control is a standard feature that sends power to any slipping wheel and is a bonus when towing. The braked towing capacity is 1,500 kgs, quite reasonable given the size of the Sportage. Ball download weight is 150 kgs.

Safety features abound on Sportage with ABS to the front and rear discs brakes, driver and passenger air bags are installed. The front seat belts have dual pre-tensioners and load limiters, while the rear seats are fitted with lap/sash retractable belts in all 3 seating positions. There are 3 child seat anchor points in the floor of the cargo area and child safety locks on the rear doors. Power-operated heated external door mirrors are a great feature of this package.  Front and rear fog lights are fitted; however they are fog lights and road rules in most Australian states/territories say they should not be used unless driving in foggy conditions as penalties apply for misuse. In case of an unfortunate accident, an impact sensing automatic unlock feature activates, which permits rescuers to open any undamaged door from the outside.

Inside, the enjoyable to drive, Kia Sportage has, as mentioned earlier, comfortable seats which on the test car were finished in the optional leather trim. The drivers’ seat has adjustment for 8 positions and this consultant was hard pressed to find all of them without consulting the owners’ manual. Adjustments are forward and backward sliding, height, tilt forward and tilt backwards cushion with backrest adjustments. However, I was able to find a comfortable relaxed driving position employing only 2 of the aforementioned adjustments. Cruise control along with air conditioning, AM/FM radio with single disc CD player, a retractable cargo area cover, tinted power windows, remote central locking including the tailgate, sunglasses holder, illuminated locking glovebox and the list continues including the inevitable cup holders. Yes, there are 2 in front and 2 in the rear for occupants to utilise.

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

We did not do a fuel consumption test. Kia quotes an average for a mix of city and country driving of between 8.0l to 9.8l litres per 100 kms, which is quite a reasonable figure for this type of vehicle. Of course, individual driving habits will reflect on this figure and it should be, therefore, used only as a guide. During our test drive of some 650 kms, the fuel usage seemed quite reasonable and we returned the car happy with knowledge that a Kia Sportage V6 was not going to send anyone broke during this time of rising fuel prices (unlike some SUVs).

In the Kia Sportage line-up there are 3 engines, a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder, a 2.7 litre V6 petrol and a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder diesel. Two transmissions are offered, a 5 speed manual, a 4 speed automatic, although there is no auto option for the diesel engine. Various model variants are available.

The Kia Sportage V6 (AWD) is priced from $30,990.00 (RRP), without options (such as metallic paint, leather trim and sunroof) and the traditional on-road costs. Clearly, the Sportage as tested by the Next Car team represents excellent value for money. It is a well equipped and a well finished product.

Motorists on a limited budget should not overlook this very worthy product.

Other Kia content: here.

Next Car Pty Ltd
ABN 47106248033

Next Car Pty Ltd

Copyright © 2008.
All rights reserved.