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KIA SPORTAGE REVIEWS | 2015 – 2019 MODEL

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Read and compare reviews on the Kia Sportage 2015 – 2019 Model from top New Zealand automotive journalists on trusted websites.

Kia Sportage GT Line road test: Sport by name

Driven Kia Sportage review

SOURCE: DRIVEN | YEAR: 2018 | WORDS: MATTHEW HANSEN | PHOTOS: MATTHEW HANSEN

Perforated leather on each side of the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel feels nice to the touch. Textured scroll wheels come with nice weighting, and are hooked up to one of the most usable infotainment systems on the market.

And in the middle of it all, placed on top of the centre console, is a hill descent button that — if we’re being honest — nobody is ever going to press.

Kia has come a long way, and the Sportage has not only echoed the company’s evolution, it’s also reflected the changing face of what these little compact crossovers have become.

The Sportage first arrived in the mid-’90s as a simple, utilitarian compact SUV with surprising off-road ability. A Korean skateboard with four low, a stereo, and not much else. In other words, a world away from the Sportage of today.

It’s now seen as one of the juggernauts of a segment that has changed vastly over the last 20 years. SUV capabilities bow to style and technology — and the Sportage has both in buckets.

For 2019, Kia has streamlined the Sportage model range, along with implementing a mild mid-life refresh. The Limited model has been wiped from the line-up, making the GT Line the definitive premium variant.

Kia Sportage 2018 Car Review

SOURCE: AA | YEAR: 2018 | WORDS: AA | PHOTOS: AA

The arrival of Kia’s recent Sportage SUV facelift also came with a new addition to the line-up, the 2WD GT Line Urban, pictured here, which tops the four-model 2WD Sportage range, as its AWD GT Line sibling does the four-paw options.

The main improvements from this facelift are listed as the addition Autonomous Emergency braking, Lane keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning as standard.

There have also been subtle alterations to the look, especially focused on a stronger face, with a bigger air dam and changes to Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille.

Kia says Sportage suspension now gets settings specific to the Australia-New Zealand region, with softer ride for some, and a firmer, more agile experience for the GT Line cars, but it’s the 2WD GT Line Urban we’re focused on here.

The first thing our tester noted when collecting this Sportage is how much it’s changed from the first of the breed, which arrived a good 20 years ago with an impressive off-road ability belied by its inoffensive looks.

2018 Kia Sportage GT Line – Baseline GT

Kia Sportage Review Autocar

SOURCE: AUTOCAR | YEAR: 2018 | WORDS: KYLE CASSIDY | PHOTOS: TOM GASNIER

Kia’s Sportage continues to be a big mover here with over 2500 sales so far this year. That’s quite exceptional as SUV buyers with $30k to $40k to splurge don’t lack for buying options. Helping twist arms towards a new Sportage, the model has been given a mid-term spruce up.

This involves a mild cosmetic makeover and a safety equipment upgrade, with all models now benefiting from autonomous emergency braking and a lane keeping and departure warning system.

The look is perhaps one of the reasons buyers like Sportage, so the freshen up doesn’t mess too much with the formula. Up front, the ‘tiger nose’ grille has evolved subtly, they’ve added a horizontal styling element through the bumper, and the front light clusters are reformed.

We drove the GT Line, which gets a sports body kit, and is made to look even glitzier with new LED headlights and ‘X-wing’ LED daytime running lights, sure to make any TIE fighter pilot nervous in traffic.

Bigger 19s mark out the change to the profile while the rear bumper and taillights have been redesigned. Key to Sportage success is the range of options available with nine variants on offer but it’s the 2.0-litre 2WD models people mainly buy, helped by frequent promotional pricing. For instance, when we penned this report, the entry-level LX was on offer for just $30k.


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