Car review: Kia Sportage

Better than ever

The first Kia Sportage hit the market in 1993, then we saw a new version in 2004, but it wasn’t until the third generation game changer which hit in 2010 that we started to see Kia in a new light. It revolutionised a segment. For most of us, Kia was a bit of a bland brand, then enter the third generation Sportage and all of a sudden, Kia is put on the map…and it hasn’t left!

The fourth generation Kia Sportage just landed in South Africa and we headed to the launch to see if it can match up its predecessor. We can confidently say it does and it is even better.  In fact, according to the CEO of KIA Motors South Africa, the first shipment of the new Sportage is almost sold out.

This fourth generation has a whole new look, which is risky, but it’s an ever-growing, competitive segment and so manufacturers have to move with the times. Thank goodness for designer Peter Schreyer, who brought us the original Audi TT, because it is thanks to this man that Kia models look so good. I am a little torn but only because I adored the previous Sportage, but after spending time in it last week and seeing it up against the previous model, my love affair thankfully continues…especially for the rear of the new model.

Kia Sportage rear

This model is slightly longer that the outgoing model which means there is more rear legroom, which we tested. I even climbed in to the boot which also grew ever so slightly.

Kia Sportage Twitter Boot

Step inside and you are met with the quality we have now come to expect from Kia. Most notably are the comfortable seats which, if you are a passenger, are just great for a roadtrip. There are four trim levels to choose from, but even on the entry level you can expect the usual creature comforts we all desire: think Aircon, Bluetooth, IsoFix child seat anchorage points, a multi-function steering wheel, electric windows front and rear, central locking with alarm, and even rear parking distance control.

Kia Sportage interior

All Sportage models come as standard with a classic black interior, but for the first time, customers who purchase the top of the range GT Line model can specify either a dark and light grey or black and Canyon beige two-tone interior.

The engine line up consists of the entry level 2,0-litre petrol engine which is found on the Ignite model. Then we move up to the EX range which houses a 2,0-litre turbodiesel engine. The SX range can be chosen with either this same 2,0-litre turbodiesel engine but is all-wheel drive (the EX is front-wheel drive) or you can choose the new 2,4-litre GDI petrol engine.

The top of the range is the GT Line and features a 1,6 T-GDi engine. If I were buying a Sportage now, I would opt for any of the diesel engine options. You will be grateful for the extra torque. Depending on the model you can opt for a manual or automatic transmission.

This is an excellent car! Pricing may be a bit steep, but I have no doubt that it will remain a top seller. And I cannot wait to get my hands on one over the holidays so that I can report back and let you know what it was like on a roadtrip, but I am confident that it will be a glowing report.


Sportage 2.0 Ignite                                          R369 995

Sportage 2.0 CRDi EX                                    R487 995

Sportage 2.4 GDI SX AWD                             R557 995

Sportage 2.0 CRDi SX AWD                           R567 995

Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT-LINE AWD               R599 995

All Sportage models come standard with Kia’s 5-year / Unlimited km warranty, 5-year / Unlimited km Roadside Assistance as well as a 5-year / 90 000km Service Plan.