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Test bench | Kia Sportage: and five!

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(Victoria, British Columbia) Balanced style, well-thought-out equipment… For the fifth reinterpretation of its Sportage, Kia is playing it safe rather than daring.

Montreal label

Designed under the direction of Montreal designer Karim Habib, this Sportage affirms even more clearly the choices intended to make Kia a brand that is both stronger and more consensual.

In concessions for a few weeks already, the Sportage, fifth of the name, does not claim to reinvent anything. The front end, which imposes with its boomerang headlights and its wide horizontal grille which widens it visually, gives a certain stature to the Sportage.

Without being a clone of another model in the range, it incorporates certain proportions and characteristics of the new range. The contained glass surface, the “muscles” sculpted on the sides or even the sills to lengthen the silhouette. Distinctive signs defined very early in the specifications, so as not to leave the blueprint and to forge a tangible identity without being paralyzing. The important thing, however, is not only the consistency of the style, but also its effectiveness. And the result is not bad to look at. The question is rather whether it will age well.

  • The

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    The “muscles” sculpted on the sides or the sills give presence to the silhouette.

  • The front end, which imposes with its boomerang headlights and its wide horizontal grille which widens it visually, gives a certain stature to the Sportage.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    The front end, which imposes with its boomerang headlights and its wide horizontal grille which widens it visually, gives a certain stature to the Sportage.

  • Developed on the same platform as the Tucson appeared a year ago, the Kia Sportage shares most of the components.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    Developed on the same platform as the Tucson appeared a year ago, the Kia Sportage shares most of the components.

  • The cabin is neat and features a spectacular luminescent panel that is reminiscent of the EV6.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    The cabin is neat and features a spectacular luminescent panel that is reminiscent of the EV6.

  • The interior space is much more generous than it was, especially for the legs of the occupants in the back.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    The interior space is much more generous than it was, especially for the legs of the occupants in the back.

  • The trunk is much larger, with a total capacity (seat folded down) of 2098 L. The previous version displayed 1703 L.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    The trunk is much larger, with a total capacity (seat folded down) of 2098 L. The previous version displayed 1703 L.

  • With the exception of the digital climate controls, the Sportage is easy to handle, pleasant to live with.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    With the exception of the digital climate controls, the Sportage is easy to handle, pleasant to live with.

  • Considerate, presenting itself rather well and properly equipped, the Sportage should hold its rank against its competitors.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

    Considerate, presenting itself rather well and properly equipped, the Sportage should hold its rank against its competitors.

1/8

The second best-selling vehicle at Kia after the Seltos, the Sportage picks up where it left off. Clearly, it does not start from a completely blank sheet. Developed on the same platform as the Tucson appeared a year ago, it shares most of the components. This cousinhood, which only a few apparent details betray, also allowed it to accelerate its development with Hyundai, allied or enemy brand, it depends.

Motorization

With a larger trunk (1021 L, bench seat backs in place), the Sportage is suspended more comfortably mainly due to its longer wheelbase. For the time being, it has a more limited range of engines (see the “Technical sheet” tab).

The 2.5 L does not make a big impression, but it is the only proposal with a variety of models in its catalog. Too fair in performance and greedy as soon as it is requested a little bit, this engine lacks sophistication.

On paper, the hybrid version seems like the one the buyer should make an appointment with, but Kia, curiously, didn’t see fit to let us test it. Too bad, because the 2.5 L does not do justice to the work of its designers. This engine lacks punch on the attack (acceleration) and its consumption remains high. For the category, of course.

Stable, considerate and safe, the Sportage is nonetheless a bit boring to drive. Despite the rigidity of its chassis, the steering offers a very weak feeling and does not make you want to test the limits of this utility.

The understeer appears very early (on the towed version in particular), the braking lacks resistance if it is requested too strongly while the body reacts rather sluggishly to rapid changes in trajectory. But the potential buyer will however be delighted with the comfort provided by its suspensions, which are flexible without being soft.

From the trunk

Rightly criticized for the very average presentation quality of the Sportage, Kia is making a commendable effort. The passenger compartment is neat and features a spectacular luminescent slab which is reminiscent of the EV6 presented in our pages a few months ago.

With the exception of the digital climate controls, the Sportage is easy to handle, pleasant to live with. The interior space is much more generous than it was, especially for the legs of the occupants in the back. But the most important element of this redesign touches the trunk. This one is much larger, with a total capacity (seat folded down) of 2098 L. The previous version displayed 1703 L.

Considerate, presenting itself rather well and properly equipped, the Sportage should hold its rank against competitors called Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape. We can regret that it lacks roughness on the dynamic level (visually, it does not lack any), but that would be to forget that pleasure is not really the cup of tea for this category of SUV.

Travel expenses related to this story were paid for by Kia Canada.

Kia Sportage

Price range

  • From $28,995 to $40,995

Visible in dealerships

WE love

  • Promising hybrid versions
  • Airy and neat presentation
  • Interior volume

We love less

  • Lack of dynamic behavior
  • Unattractive 2.5L version
  • Style destined to age quickly

Our Verdict

  • For now, the style is proof of (almost) everything

Technical sheet


PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

Kia Sportage

Engine

  • L4 DOHC 2.5L naturally aspirated
  • Power: 187 hp at 6100 rpm
  • Torque: 178 lb-ft at 4000 rpm

Performance

  • Weight: 1515 kg (traction), 1573 kg (all-wheel drive)
  • Maximum towing capacity: 1587.5 kg
  • Ground clearance: 181 mm (traction), 210 mm (all-wheel drive)

Gearbox

  • Standard: 8-speed automatic (with 2.5L)
  • Optional: none
  • Drive modes: traction or all-wheel drive

Tires

  • 235/65R17 235/55R19 (EX Premium, X-Line Limited)

Tank capacity and recommended gasoline

Consumption

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 2755mm
  • Length: 4660mm
  • Height: 1665 mm (685 mm with four-wheel drive)
  • Width: 1865 mm (exterior mirrors excluded)

The first one doesn’t count


PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

2006 Kia Sportage

Five generations already. Please forget the first Kia served us when it debuted on Canadian soil. A dated model, uncompetitive, but financially accessible. The second generation (our photo) was much stockier and sat on wider tracks. The Sportage also slipped at that time a six-cylinder engine (2.7 L) under its hood. The most economical liveries, however, always used a four-cylinder engine (2 L) paired with a manual gearbox…

The best is yet to come


PHOTO PROVIDED BY KIA

Kia Sportage Hybrid

The naturally aspirated version of the Sportage isn’t the brightest. The hybrid versions, launched a few days ago, deserve consideration. These are offered in two versions: EX and SX. The first is announced at $35,995, the second at $42,695. These are more powerful (227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque) and should reduce the fuel consumption of this utility by some 3 L every 100 km. The best is yet to come, however. From the fall, Kia will market a plug-in hybrid version (261 hp) whose electric range should be around 50 km on a full charge.

Share your experience

The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Acura Integra, BMW 2 Series, Genesis GV60, Honda HR-V, Mercedes C-Class, Nissan Z, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen Jetta (GLi) and Volvo C40 Recharge. If you own one of these vehicles or are waiting for delivery, we would love to hear from you.



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