herald

Thursday 17 January 2019

Great Sport

Ian Mallon is in seven heaven wiith Kiia’’s new SUV

IT LOOKS like a Qashqai, feels like a Qashqai, but is it as good as a Qashqai?

Yes it is, and the all-new Kia Sportage is even better than that, thanks mainly to the stunning seven year warranty.

The Kia Sportage is the most genuine challenger to Nissan’s superstar compact-SUV, and in time might even become more popular than its rival.

First things first though, I must admit that I haven’t driven the all-new Qashqai after it was mysteriously removed from the fleet last year.

But my wife does have the most up to date Qashqai+2 model, so I am more than qualified to comment about the pros and cons of the Nissan.

Sturdier

So where to begin? Well on the outside is always a good place and straight away the Kia starts to get that winning feeling for sheer substance alone.

It looks chunkier, weightier and sturdier than the meeker looking Qashqai, even though they’re both the same size – and perhaps surprisingly, this Sportage is lighter than the last – down by 91kgs.

The Kia is fronted by a large bold grill which gives the car that all-American type of look and feel.

With its slicker trendier features the new Sportage has become significantly sleeker than the previous model.

It enjoys both athletic and muscular body shape with a clamshell bonnet, all beautifully set off by that stunning LED lined headlamps.

This marks a dramatic shift in design direction for Kia’s compact SUV and it now enjoys longer, lower and wider specifications than the previous model.

Well that goes some way to explaining why the Kia feels a more substantial beast than its Japanese rival.

Other sexy extras include a ribbed roof, chunky door handles, roof-rails, and raised ride height, not to mention massive wing mirrors.

Inside the style police have really got to work with a strong exterior set off by a dramatic, sweeping dashboard.

However, it is on the road that the Sportage comes into it own, thanks to a beautiful new 2.0 litre version of Kia’s next-generation R family diesel and a number of 1.7 litre variants.

The ‘R’ family diesel engine first appeared in 2.2-litre, 197 bhp form in the new Sorento last year when it was highly praised – confirming that Kia’s engineering capabilities are indeed world class.

The R 2.0L, is set to be the best version of the Sportage and is every bit as good as the Qashqai 2.0L … and if you need proof - just ask my wife.

The Kia Sportage starts at €25,600 for the 1.7 and €31,000 for the 2.0 litre version.

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