Today we bring you a highly acclaimed compact crossover, the KIA Sportage. 'Spor-ta-ge' or 'sport-age', however you pronounce it, is a rakish and athletic looking cross over which won't cost you a queen's ransom. The Sportage looks long and wide- a look particularly appealing to most car buyers out there. After the changes in 2010, the new grille, wheel design, functional shark fin antennae and HID projector headlamps (with DRLs!) add a flair and sportiness that every SUV buyer will love.
Moving on to the interior- it's spacious, enough room for almost everything. There is good headroom and space for a standard size occupant to fit very comfortably. I am a pretty big guy and I could sit comfortably with room to spare. The back seats can be reclined and are comfy and firm- but not too firm. If you need more space all you need to do is put down the seats and…voila! more room for luggage. The entire space has no bumps so carry-ons are pretty easy to store.
The roof has a two part panoramic roof, with the front part coming with tilt and slide options. One interesting thing is the glove compartment also has a manually operated AC vent so that your owner's manual and bluebook can chill with you (or store drinks for long journeys).
The interior and dashboard were mostly plastic, but build quality is however great. The particular unit that I drove came with a 9 speaker Infinity stereo system with subwoofer, USB plug in ports, Bluetooth and auxiliary control. The steering mounted volume and channel tuner are neat options, allowing you to change songs from your phone without picking up the phone itself. There's also a touch screen with all the control options. The screen also assists you when you put the gear in reverse, by way of the rear mounted camera.
We made a call using the Bluetooth connectivity- found the sound quality pristine and clear. The SUV also comes packed with several standard safety features i.e. a plethora of airbags; electronic stability control, ABS brakes, etc.
Under the hood is a 2.0 liter D-CVVT gasoline engine, putting out 152 hp and 141 lb-ft of torque. The power is available at the higher range of the RPM band, but there's plenty of low end torque to play with. It gets the slightly chubby Sportage up to speed quite well, so the “sport” in the “Sportage” is not entirely redundant.
The driving experience of the Sportage was an absolute delight. When I fired up the ignition, only a slight vibration in the steering wheel lets me know that we are all set to move. Of course the LCD panel and the gauges lit up too. The Sportage does 0-100 km/h in around 10secs, which is not bad for a car of this size. The six speed automatic gear with triptronic transmission allows you to switch between city traffic pushing to highway overtaking with ease. The vehicle while driving initially felt a tad bit heavy but once you get used to it its all fine. It's all about adapting to the car, and that includes the visibility as well. As with all modern cars, you basically have no idea where the front of the car ends, since it is so rounded.
It looks a sleek in a way only a modern SUV can, and that is definitely a good thing. It's funky, hip and cool, a style statement that many are associating with KIA these days. Who would've thought the Korean company that gave us abominations like the old KIA Rio could build cool cars like these?
2014 KIA Sportage
Engine: 2000cc D-CVVT gasoline engine (152 hp @6000 RPM, 141 lb-ft torque @4000 RPM)
Transmission: 6 speed automatic with triptronic.
Wheels and tyres: 17 inch wheels with 225/60R Kumho tyres.
Brakes: Ventilated disc brakes front, solid disc rear, ABS, EBD.
Features: Projection HIDs with Daytime Running Lights; 9 speaker Infinity stereo system with Bluetooth, USB, aux, and steering mounted controls; panoramic roof with tilt and slide option; leather seat trims; air-conditioned glovebox/mini-fridge.
Price: Starts from 50 lakh taka. (Price as tested: 58 lakh taka). For details, contact Meghna Automobiles Ltd.
The first impression of the Sportage will last a long time. The aesthetics and faint ruggedness of this vehicle is a mix that is hard to come by in this price range. Despite being a compact crossover, it can accommodate cargo easily without compromising the cabin space. The engine and the wheelbase can handle urban streets and rural potholed streets fine. If you are looking for a sporty looking vehicle with great performance then the KIAS portage definitely should be on your shopping list.