Beautiful New SUV
Well Priced, So-Called “Crossover” Is Dripping With Kit
For beautiful, fully equipped, well priced, massive guaranty
Against I can’t think of any
The British media’s love of the status quo is legendary. For years, newspapers and magazines wrote knocking copy about Japanese cars, while demonstrating a tin ear to the qualities that buyers craved; value for money and reliability above all. I’m not sure why they did it. Perhaps it was a knee jerk reaction, trying to please their perceived European masters who were producing the unreliable dross that the incoming Japanese were showing up.
In the event, the Japanese forced European manufacturers to raise their standards of quality and reliability.
Korean manufacturers are now getting the same brain dead treatment, with parts of the British media apparently unaware that Hyundai and Kia have been quietly transforming themselves from purveyors of honest, cheap and cheerful motors to providers of stylish, must-have machines, all at competitive prices and carrying mind-bogglingly impressive guarantees.
The Sunday Times report on the new Kia Sportage was typical. Headlined “There’s a string vest under that sharp suit”, the report can’t hide the fact that car looks absolutely fantastic look at the pictures, it’s beautiful - so it tries to undermine it with comments about the way it handles, and saying its performance is poor. “There’s little fun to be had from handling it on a winding road”, says the Sunday Times aiming its comments at an audience it perhaps thinks is about 14. If there’s anybody out there with the resources to buy an SUV who wants “fun” on winding roads, and changed their minds about what to buy because of that, I’ll shut down this website forthwith.
I can tell you that the Sportage handles perfectly adequately. It goes quiet fast enough to satisfy any normal person. The interior is high quality and well thought out, although the Sunday Times says it is inconsistent, whatever that means. The economy remains to be seen. Kia claims an average of 47.1 mpg. I haven’t been able to test that yet, but my first reaction is “in your dreams”.
Lighter, less solid
I first set eyes on the new Sportage at last March’s Geneva Car Show, and I’ve been excited about it ever since. Its looks are remarkably attractive, are they not?
The first example of the new Sportage is now on sale in limited numbers in Britain in the form of a First Edition, priced at £20,777 with a huge number of what European manufacturers would call extras. It has a 2.0 litre diesel engine developing 134 bhp. There’s a six speed manual gearbox. An automatic version later this year will cost £22,077. It has four-wheel drive, but later versions will be available with just front-wheel drive.
Later, cheaper, versions will offer the choice of a 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol or a 1.7-litre turbodiesel engines with Stop and Go technology, and the option of two-wheel drive.
This third-generation Kia Sportage is new from bumper to bumper and tyres to roof. It is more dramatically styled than the car it replaces, which was a bit square and dumpy. Now Kia calls it a “crossover”, really meaning that it is still an SUV, but is now more car-like and much lighter. It does the same stuff as an SUV carrying more luggage with more space for people than a car, off-road if necessary.
Built in Slovakia
The new Sportage will be built at the company's factory at Zilina, in Slovakia, where the outgoing model has been made since September 2007.
Neil Winton September 1, 2010
home page / more reviews / auto industry news
Add a comment here...