Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Model Awaiting Overhaul; the Compact SUV May Just Be the Thing for Commuters in the Big Smoke

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Model Awaiting Overhaul; the Compact SUV May Just Be the Thing for Commuters in the Big Smoke

Article excerpt

KIA has come a long way from the steel tubing, bicycle-producing company that first opened its doors almost 70 years ago. The Korean manufacturer , whose name by the way, literally translates into "rising out of Asia", has fought hard for a foothold in both the American and European markets and is making incredible inroads as consumers on those continents search for more economical options.

Kia has worked conscientiously to improve reports citing a lack of reliability and technology and Hyundai's purchase of a controlling stake in the company has done much to herald if not a new dawn, certainly a much brighter one. Sometimes, though, even a new broom struggles to get into every dusty corner during the first sweeping.

Comfort

The Sportage is actually much roomier than the slimline exterior would suggest. Front seat passengers fare better with supportive seats and generous headroom while three adults can travel in the back in relative comfort provided the journey is not too long. The cabin layout is simple but effective. Buttons and dials are kept to a minimum making it rather user-friendly while the instrument gauges simply do what they say on the box. Nooks and crannies for storage abound but the height of the centre console renders it a tad useless if you're looking to rest your arm while driving. Boot space is excellent - a tidy 667 litres with the back seats up transforms into a useful 1887 litres of useable space.

On the road

There is no denying that the Sportage is in need of a new drivetrain. For now it is simply a case of the heart is willing but the body is weak. Performance is average with the lack of power making highway driving a little tedious. The Sportage tries hard revving its insides out but with the peak torque at 4500rpm it has a while to go before anything really happens. The Sportage is best at speeds where it is not taxed, delivering a quieter more competent and economic drive.

What do you get?

As with other Kia offerings, standard inclusions are pretty generous featuring alloy wheels, airconditioning, a six-speaker CD stereo with auxiliary and USB audio jacks, full power accessories and tinted glass. …

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