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Arval’s pick of the range:
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 2
Now in its fourth generation, the Kia Sportage is a popular mid-size SUV, or crossover, known for its low cost, practicality and strong residual values. It’s an excellent all-rounder, with a high-class, spacious interior and heaps of equipment – particularly if you go for the ‘2’ specification. There’s a good choice of engines and trim levels and it’s available with either front or four-wheel drive.
Comfort is very much the name of the game with the Sportage; the ride is excellent and it soaks up bumps extremely well. It’s just as happy in town as it is on the motorway and road noise is kept to a minimum in the cabin.
Despite the emphasis on comfort and refinement, the Kia is also sharper to drive than your average mid-sized SUV. There’s very little body roll, especially when you consider the car’s size, so it feels surprisingly agile.
The Sportage comes in both front and four-wheel drive guises and the latter system is able to transfer power between the wheels to maximize grip. Front-wheel drive versions have lower running costs, though, and are perfectly suitable for most drivers.
The 1.7 and 2.0-litre diesel engines are punchy and great on the motorway, while the 174hp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is especially adept at lower speeds, as it’s smooth, potent and quiet.
Plentiful equipment is among the Sportage’s selling points and each version is well kitted out. Trim levels comprise of 1, 2, 3, 4 and KX-5; you can also have the former four trim levels as ‘KX’ models, which simply means they have four-wheel drive.
2 (in addition to 1)
3 (in addition to 2)
4 (in addition to 3)
KX-5 (in addition to 4)
The second trim level up, 2, offers a huge amount of standard equipment and is the obvious version to go for, not least because features such as Bluetooth, sat nav and rear parking sensors are particularly useful to company car drivers.
The 114hp 1.7 CRDi diesel engine also makes sense for business users as it has the lowest emissions – and, subsequently, the lowest benefit-in-kind bills – along with the best fuel economy of the range.
Given that Kia is known as a brand focused on value, the Sportage’s interior is incredibly classy. The cabin is arguably one of the car’s highlights, as the build quality is exceptional and everything is logically laid out. There’s no shortage of space either; Kia lengthened the wheelbase of the current Sportage in order to increase the amount of room inside. This means both front and rear-seat passengers have plenty of space and there are a lot of storage areas secreted around the interior.
When the rear seats are in place, the boot offers 503 litres of storage and up to 1,492 litres when they’re folded flat.
It’s easy to see why the Sportage has been so popular over the years, as the level of equipment, the space inside and the excellent interior build quality are serious selling points. The latest Sportage builds on all the previous models’ strengths and is improved in almost every area.