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Facelift, new technology and mild hybrid power up Kia Sportage SUV’s appeal

Facelifted Kia Sportage SUV gains new technology including a new mild hybrid powertrain. Picture: Kia

Facelifted Kia Sportage SUV gains new technology including a new mild hybrid powertrain. Picture: Kia

Kia

The Sportage is a solid, well-priced SUV from Kia. It’s now been updated and gains more technology. Tristan Shale-Hester drives the new mild hybrid version.

It's difficult to spot the differences but new Kia Sportage looks sleeker. Picture: KiaIt's difficult to spot the differences but new Kia Sportage looks sleeker. Picture: Kia

Having established the Sportage as a mainstream affordable, well-equipped full-size SUV, Kia has launched a facelifted version with new technological features.

The design is more streamlined with new bumpers and updated headlight signatures, the upgraded infotainment system has a sleeker, frameless eight-inch touchscreen option, semi-autonomous features such as lane-keep assist are now standard on lower grades, the diesel engine has been downsized and there’s a mild hybrid powertrain.

Under the bonnet

The new 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine is economical and punchy – 58.9mpg, 320Nm of torque, 0-60mph in 11.4 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.

Top model's 2.0-litre turbo diesel now features a 48v mild hybrid system. Picture: KiaTop model's 2.0-litre turbo diesel now features a 48v mild hybrid system. Picture: Kia

But the 2.0-litre turbo diesel 48V mild hybrid’s electric element gives great thump of 400Nm instant torque when you hit the accelerator and the 182bhp engine’s more potent.

There are also 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated and turbo petrol units, the latter offering 174bhp and 265Nm.

How it drives

Light steering makes the Sportage easy to manoeuvre while sport mode, at the press of a button, does a fantastic job of creating a much heftier feel for confident cornering.

Fascia is laid out logically despite a wide range of gadgets. Picture: KiaFascia is laid out logically despite a wide range of gadgets. Picture: Kia

The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission changes gears with a focus on performance or economy and has flappy paddles for manual gear shifting.

Space and comfort

Despite a few scratchy plastics lower down, acceptable in any non-premium model, the interior is generally a nice place to be. There’s an abundance of leather for a car of this value and, despite a wide range of gadgets, the buttons are laid out logically.

The optional eight-inch frameless touchscreen blends seamlessly into the dashboard with a pleasing symmetry between its digital layout and colour scheme and the other dials and instruments.

Equipment

The £20,305 starting price buys a grade 1 model including 16in alloy wheels, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Grade 2, from £22,405, adds 17in alloys, satellite navigation and lane-keep and high-beam assist while GT-Line, from £25,510, features sporty styling, front parking sensors and keyless entry.

Sportage Edition 25, from £25,655, gets a premium sound system, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and premium paint. Grade 4, from £27,260, adds a panoramic sunroof, forward collision avoidance assist and blind spot collision warning.

Top-spec GT-Line S, from £31,245, includes adaptive cruise control, electrically adjustable seats, electronic parking brake, around view monitor, powered tailgate and wireless phone charger.

Final say

The Sportage is not the most interesting or stylish car but a winner in terms of drivability, practicality and affordability. And, with the mild hybrid powertrain, it could suit pretty much anyone’s needs.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Kia Sportage ‘GT-Line S’ 2.0 CRDi 48V AWD £34,545 (range from £20,305)

Engine: 2.0-litre, 182bhp 48V diesel mild hybrid with eight-speed automatic gearbox

Performance: 0-60mph 9.2 seconds; top speed 125mph

MPG: 48.7 combined

CO2 emissions: 152g/km

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