Long Term Test Report: Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 2WD
The Kia continues to pile on the miles and keeps on impressing Richard Dredge, although a recent trip to north Wales highlighted a couple of areas for improvement.
According to Kia’s UK boss Paul Philpott, the Sportage has been a “game-changer” for the company. While the previous model maxed out at 25,000 sales per year across Europe, the new model could do three times that if Kia could build them fast enough. As it is, Kia is having to settle for closer to 50,000 sales per year, which seems a great shame – although it should shore up residuals by keeping demand ahead of supply. Having gone from a position of rarely seeing a Sportage they now seem to be everywhere, but there still seems little chance of them looking anything other than distinctive.
Diesel Car’s own Sportage has continued to be put to good use, the most recent trip being to Jersey for a family holiday, before which it enjoyed a jaunt to Scotland and another one to a bit of Wales that time has forgotten. I realise that doesn’t narrow things down much, as I could be writing about just about any part of the country, but suffice to say that the journey to this far-flung bit of north west Wales was tortuous to say the least. Just about every mile of road appeared to be either in the process of being built or rebuilt, or was in dire need of a new coat of tarmac. Throw in drivers happy to amble along at 30mph on national speed limit roads and it’s a wonder that I managed to cover the 150 miles in only five hours. Perhaps undertaking the journey on a Friday afternoon skewed things, but all I can say is I appreciated the Kia’s elevated seating position, great sound system and comfortable seats, which helped to soothe away the miles.
The trip also threw up a characteristic that hasn’t been particularly evident over the past nine months: that of a lack of urge from the engine. Some other reviewers have said the 1.7-litre engine doesn’t have enough poke, but I’ve generally found it fine. Things were different on this trip to Wales though, as there were several stretches of road that were long straights with a gentle incline. I’d be stuck behind a couple of slow-moving cars with a clear view ahead for half a mile or more, but didn’t dare try to overtake because the Sportage doesn’t have the torque to despatch such manoeuvres with haste.
For the return journey, late at night, I was reminded of another shortcoming which has been evident since we took delivery of the car last winter – the Sportage’s poor headlights. Even though they’re xenon units, they’re not as bright as you might expect and their self-levelling mechanism (mandatory by law to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic) seems to be set a bit low. As a result, on certain types of road, you can’t see as far ahead as you might expect. Certainly the xenons on my own 2002 Audi A4 are far superior, which just proves that xenon lights aren’t necessarily going to be an improvement over a decent set of more conventional halogen units.
While a bit more go and brighter headlights would have been welcome, I was happy to trade those for the comfort and safety of the Kia on this especially testing trip to Wales. The poor roads, often streaming wet thanks to the heavy rain (what are the chances, in Wales?), meant the standard ESP cut in on a couple of occasions on the journey back. After 16,000 miles the tyres clearly don’t have as much tread as when the car arrived last December, but there’s still plenty of life left in them yet. That’s no doubt helped by the fact that quite a few of the miles it’s done have been on the motorway, but there’s been no shortage of urban and B-road use too. On a modern car, that’s pretty impressive, but then the Sportage impresses on so many levels – which is why it’s a game-changer for Kia.
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 2WD
|Price when new:||£22,570|
|Price as tested (including options):||£22.570|
|Engine:||1685cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel|
|Power output:||114bhp at 4,000rpm|
|Maximum torque:||188lb ft at 2,000rpm|
|Maximum towing weight:||1,200kg|
|Fuel consumption:||52.3mpg (official combined)
42.6mpg (on test)
|CO2 emissions (Taxband):||143g/gm (G)|
|Benefit in kind tax liability:||21%|
|Size (Length/width with mirrors):||4,440/1,855mm|
|Boot space (Minimum/maximum):||564/1,353litres|
|EuroNCAP safety rating:||5 stars|
|Date arrived:||2nd December 2010|
|Mileage to date:||16,744miles|
|Costs to date:||None|
|Faults to date:||Faulty climate control display, replaced by Kia|