Monday the 29th of September and in my hand are the keys to one of the newest compact SUV’s to arrive on New Zealand’s shores: Kia’s 2016 Sportage.
In jet black, the Sportage stands staunch in front of an Auckland industrial background. Alike to the Porsche Cayenne at the front, you’ll know exactly whats following you in traffic.
One prominent change from it’s predecessor is a 30mm longer wheelbase. This makes for a more accommodating interior and in addition to sitting high in the Sportage, you as a driver feel a lot more road presence.
The latest Sportage comes in four specifications, each tailoring the vehicle to you. All models are equipped with alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric windows and a bluetooth hands-free phone connection. So Kia has your basics covered whichever model you hop into.
But if you do decide you want a bit more, upgrading to the second specification will give you larger wheels, in-built satnav, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, and lane keeping assist. A big jump up from the standard model and a jump worth considering if you ask me.
Bump up that price tag a little bit more and your alloy wheels grow again and the seats become heated and leather.
Go all out for the top specification and Kia adds the final details including front parking sensors, more powerful headlights, electric seats and their full range of active safety systems.
My advice would be to turn your attention to Specs 2 or 3.
Around town you cruise comfortably – point your Sportage out of the city and the SUV continues to impress. With easy handling and soft suspension the Sportage makes for a smooth ride. Overall it doesn’t make for an overly exciting drive but let’s be honest, it’s most at home cruising up High Street and pulling up outside vulcan lane bagelry.
The Kia’s touchscreen also impresses thanks to its responsiveness and easy-to-use layout – it actually feels like some thought was put into it; there’s no sense of a last minute decision here.
Although the interior feels solid, to me the overall design looks a bit outdated. The chunky heating dials are easy to use but take away from the interiors modern aspects.
Debatably the most important thing to mention is that the Sportage scored an impressive 5/5 in the NCAPS’s crash test. Presumedly we can put that down to the help of six airbags and electronic stability control fit to all models.
Overall the 2016 Sportage proves itself as a head turner. It impresses behind the wheel just as much as it does looking at it. Kia have really stepped their game up this year so no doubt you’ll be seeing more of these on the road to come.