2021 Kia Sportage S

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THE FIFTH generation Sportage arrived in Australia at the start of November with the kind of keen pricing and a generous equipment list we’ve come to expect from South Korea’s second-biggest car brand. 

Although it’s almost $2000 more expensive than the outgoing model, the new Sportage range represents exceptional value. The entry-grade S variant tested here is equipped with an efficient turbo-diesel engine, smooth eight-speed auto, part-time all-wheel drive (AWD) and is priced from just $39,845, plus on-road costs (ORCs).

That price undercuts those of the majority of the Sportage S’ diesel-powered AWD rivals considerably. The Hyundai Tucson AWD diesel range kicks off with the Elite from $45,000 (+ORCs), while the cheapest Mazda CX-5 diesel AWD – the Maxx Sport, is $42,690 (+ORCs). It’s a similar story with Volkswagen’s Tiguan 147 TDI Elegance, which is priced from $52,290 (+ORCs). 

In fact, the only competitor to beat the Sportage in this segment is the ageing Nissan X-Trail TS, from $37,465 (+ORCs).

Compared with the outgoing model, the “entry-level” Sportage feels positively space age. It has LED headlights, a digital instrument cluster, front centre airbag, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane- follow assist and even adaptive cruise control, all of which are standard issue. 

The remainder of the feature list is extensive – and far better than those offered by most entry-grade medium SUVs with which the Sportage competes. 

Highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels (including a full-size matching spare), an 8.0-inch infotainment array (featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and plug-in Android Auto connectivity), Bluetooth telephony and -audio streaming, partial LED tail-lights, a leather-accented steering wheel, tyre pressure monitoring, rear parking sensors, as well as an electric park brake.

The Sportage S CRDi, on test here, is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 137kW at 4000rpm and 416Nm between 2000-2750rpm. Combined-cycle fuel consumption is listed at 6.3 litres per 100km, with CO2 emissions of 163 grams per kilometre. 

Those numbers see the diesel-powered Sportage offer 1kW and 16Nm more grunt than the outgoing model, while also being 0.1L/100km more efficient and 5g/km cleaner.

The Sportage measures 4660mm in length, 1865mm in width, 1660mm in height, which makes it 175-mm longer, 10-mm wider and 5-mm shorter (in height) than the outgoing model. 

Kia’s newest medium SUV rides on a 2755-mm wheelbase, which gives it 85mm of additional space between the axles when compared with the previous model.

Some of that space is felt in the Sportage’s roomier cabin, but the biggest gains are noticed in the load bay. Cargo space has been upped to 543 litres (+77 litres) in five-seat mode (up to window height), while the overall carrying capacity has increased to 1829 litres in two-seat mode, which is a staggering 374-litre gain in utility space over the superseded model.

Kia continues to offer its entire passenger car range with a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which includes capped-price servicing and roadside assist. 

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