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MOTORING JUNE: Kia Sportage GT

George Loveridge Driving Around for Travel News Update.

Britain’s best-selling car of 2024 so far! Having sold over 7,000 units in the first quarter of this year, let’s take a look at why these new Sportage Kias have sold in such high volumes…

Now in its fifth generation, the Korean SUV has virtually become a British staple. With 2013 seeing a real revival in both Kia’s models overall and indeed the Sportage. The class of 2024 has totally ditched diesel engines; instead, we get a selection of turbocharged petrol engines, mild and plug-in hybrids. On test here, we have got the middle-of-the-road version, the GT-Line mild hybrid. Don’t get too excited, it drives just like a regular petrol car.

Although, we do have a 7-Speed DCT gearbox which can be operated via paddle shifters bolted onto the multi-function steering wheel. Sadly, I feel that the dual-clutch system is wasted on this engine and hybrid combination. Should you bury the loud pedal into the carpet for an overtake, the car is very hesitant. Why? Well, the gearbox acts swiftly as expected, but then the turbocharger has to spool up whilst the hybrid system decides how much electric assistance to give you. On kickdown, all of this takes approximately three seconds or so. Okay, not life changing but annoying nevertheless. Overall though, the FWD SUV drives well, irons out all of the bumps and makes for an effective motorway and urban cruiser.

Stepping inside, we benefit from plenty of GT-Line specification appointments. Namely, half suede and leather bucket seats which are amazingly manually adjustable! Oh, for we are not worthy of electric seats! Moreover, the rear seats are sat nice and high to allow for plenty of lower leg support and because there are no electric seat control modules, the rear passengers have loads of space for their feet. Aimed at families primarily, we get twin USB-C charging ports on the side of the front seats for the rear passengers, in addition to a rear climate control display. Cupholders are plenty, however, the door pockets are on the thin side so don’t really allow for bottles.

The cockpit is angled towards the driver overall, but the electronics still allow the passenger to adjust various infotainment settings whilst on the move. Which is essential! Looking good sometimes compromises practicality… This guise of Sportage has ditched the majority of physical buttons. Instead, we have a long thin rectangular screen in the middle of the dash. This acts as your climate and radio controls. To switch between them, you have to press a small arrow icon on the display. Even whilst using the adaptive cruise control with self-steering, feels pretty dangerous.

The 8-inch infotainment system merges beautifully with the digital driver’s display in one large piece of glass across the dashboard. For those familiar with Hyundai and Genesis motor vehicles, we have got the same system. Therefore, features and menus feel familiar and it is generally a great system to use. The same cannot be said for all of the car safety settings which are found in a menu, within a menu, within another menu. Why is this relevant? Well, to actually enjoy driving this car, it is essential that you switch off various assistance and guidance systems so to avoid an ensemble of beeps and bongs.

The George Loveridge Verdict

Comprising a 7-year warranty, a fruity yet economical powerplant and a well-equipped and spacious cabin, you can see why the Sportage is so popular. Furthermore, I love that there are so many different models to choose from. So, you can purchase guilt-free but still have the reassurance of a petrol car.

Across a week and nearly 1,000 miles, I failed to fully understand the Sportage though. It is a very good commuting tool. However, unlike some of the other Kia models it just does not get under your skin. Do you want a car that’ll get you to work on time, in comfort every time you make a journey? Then yes, the Sportage will do just that. However, if you want to take the long way home from work and have some fun, you will just be disappointed as this version of the Sportage is clearly not for that. It could just be me though. Try it for yourself. Thousands of others have.

Price as tested: £28,710
Lead in price: £33,590
Average fuel consumption: 37.5mpg
Range (petrol): 460 miles
Engine size: 1598cc
0-60:  9.3 seconds

Performance 6
Handling 7
Transmission 9
Noise 4
Economy 8
Ride and Comfort 8
Accommodation 7
Styling 7
Brakes 8
Finish 9

TOTAL= 73%

www.kia.com/uk/new-cars/sportage

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