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Sportage 2.0 EX PLUS | Kia

Date of Release: August 2017
Number of Reviews 1

Distinctive design, captivating performance, and packed with the best features, the 2017 Kia Sportage 2.0 EX PLUS is nothing short of brilliant. It boasts all the features you want from a modern SUV and is built by a manufacturer with a growing reputation for producing consistently excellent cars.

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The Torque Rating:  

Generic:

Value
Safety
Exterior
Interior
Performance

SUV/MPV Lifestyle

School run dice
Sticky finger proof
Easy access boot
Baby seat fitment
Climate control

Design

The one thing you can never accuse the 2017 Kia Sportage of is not boasting a truly distinctive design. There isn’t much like it on the road, which is a huge win for Kia’s designers. From those unique LED daytime running lights to the many exquisite chrome finishes, the Sportage is a fine blend of captivating and stunning design.

Performance

The 2l naturally-aspirated engine delivers a performance that is comfortable, composed and superbly refined. What the Sportage’s engine lacks in torque, it makes up for with its impeccable ride quality and the reassuring feeling of always being in control.

Safety

The Sportage is built for performance and practicality, but it delivers big in the safety department too. Its 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating is earned with features such as: Downhill Brake Control, Electronic Stability Control, ABS and Hill Start Assist.

THE TORQUE REVIEW

The preceding generation Sportage certainly was a favourite amongst South African families as it still holds a strong road presence on today’s urban roads. Despite this, the all-new Sportage didn’t seem to fly off showroom floors as quickly as Kia would have hoped for. A quick look at the monthly sales figures against something like the Toyota RAV4 confirms this.

That said, Kia wasn’t to give up the fight that easily and subsequently introduced the PLUS range, boosting their model line up from an initial 5 variants to an impressive 12 variants. So you’re bound to find a spec that meets your individual budget and needs. THE TORQUE was recently asked to test arguably the best pick of the new range – great spec level, yet still fairly easy on the pocket – the 2017 Kia Sportage 2.0 Petrol EX PLUS.

2017 Kia Sportage EX PLUS on tar

The full Sportage range starts at R369 995, with our specific model costing R459 995. The top of the range model, the 1.6T GT-Line AWD, will set you back a fairly steep R599 995, but that’s still less than some of its main rivals. So what does a R460k Sport Utility Vehicle buy you nowadays? The answer – a lot!

The specs on the EX PLUS are impressive, but what blew us away the most about the all-new Sportage is the overwhelming sense of quality and style. We’re going to go out on a bit of limb here, but if Kia were to continue improving their build quality at this rate, the next generation of Kia vehicles will probably be on par with premium brands such as Audi. Crazy, we know, but jump into a new Sportage and see for yourself.

Studio pic of the 2017 Kia Sportage EX PLUS

Starting from the outside, the Sportage’s design is certainly not conservative. We love it! For some reason, it kind of reminds us of the brand new Porsche Cayenne.

Exterior styling highlights include:

  • Not your ‘same old’ LED daytime running lights. Instead, you have a trio of LED lights forming a circle, partnering well with the soft ‘yellow’ main Bi-Xenon headlights.
  • Unfortunately, the tail lamps are not LED-based like the ones you find on the GT-Line (those look so good!), but at the same time, the conventional tail lamps are still attractive. We love the solid red strip that connects the two rear lights.
  • A shiny black matrix grille that is supposed to resemble the mouth of a tiger
  • Aggressive black panels within the front bumper that house the chrome-lined fog lamps as well as two silver fins
  • Chrome-lined window frames, colour-coded door handles, integrated roof racks, a boot spoiler and a ‘shark fin’ styled aerial.

Overall, the new Sportage’s exterior is smooth, progressive and produces a fresh look. The car continues to impress as you move inside. Again, the high level of quality and style noticeably impressed the entire TORQUE team. It’s a predominately black interior, but in our opinion, that’s the best way to go.

Interior shot of the 2017 Kia Sportage EX PLUS

Interior styling highlights include:

  • Comfy, all-leather seats. The front seats are electric with lumbar support and the rear seats allow you to adjust their recline position.
  • Good looking, soft-to-touch dashboard with ergonomically spaced out controls that are easy to use whilst on the go.
  • We like the interface design of the infotainment system. It has a black, white and red theme and utilises large, bold fonts. Our model included SatNav. We don’t like that you have to clear a safety notice each time you start the car and the fact that some functions are locked whilst on the go.
  • A well designed multi-function steering wheel with four up/down controls that grip really well. The speedo looks good with the black, white and red theme continuing onto the on-board computer.
  • All the usual storage compartments, audio jacks and USB ports you would expect, including our favourite function: Bluetooth Audio Streaming. We have driven so many cars that force you to store your cell phone in odd spots, but the Sportage has a specific area just in front of the gear lever – we like that!
  • Front and rear park distance control and rear-facing camera.
  • Auto central locking as well as awesome little downlights placed within the door handles, giving your Sportage a little extra flair at night. Our model was also equipped with auto windscreen wipers, auto headlights, an auto-tinting rearview mirror as well as keyless entry – start/stop.
  • A large, flat-lip boot with a really useful high grip fitted rubber matt that helps prevent your parcels from sliding around. The boot also contains a full-size spare mag wheel – an awesome trait of Kia. We wish all manufacturers could do this!

The Sportage’s chassis has been updated, giving it a more refined ride and slightly more cabin space. Our model was 2-wheel drive only but the car felt firmly planted in both wet and dry conditions. We like the electronic handbrake with auto brake-hold function. There are three drive modes to choose from (Eco/Normal/Sport), but we didn’t really feel a massive difference between them and felt the normal mode was more than adequate. The ride comfort was really good and for the most part, the 2l naturally-aspirated engine/6-speed autobox combo was adequate, except for when you want to get a move on. The engine lacks torque, meaning it has to rev highly for anything to happen. In high altitude cities, a turbo diesel or turbo petrol engine would be nicer, but remember, this model was a good middle ground between spec and price, so something has to give. We don’t recommend opting for this engine if you plan to tow.

Grille of 2017 Kia Sportage EX Plus

If you are an owner of the previous generation Sportage, you will notice some similarities between the two models. That said, this new model is a big step forward and we like what Kia has done with it. Let’s take a quick look at how the all-new Kia Sportage features against our SUV lifestyle criteria, which we apply to all SUV’s:

School run dice (3 out of 5): Does your car have enough ‘oomph’ to quickly get past any irritating slow coaches or misbehaving taxis?  Some of the team felt that the power from the high-revving 2l petrol engine was adequate, however, the general consensus was that it was found a bit lacking at high altitudes. If you don’t mind giving the engine a good rev, it does get a move on, but then again, your fuel consumption will also climb. Kia claims a combined cycle of just 8.9l/100km, however, our team average was 12,4l/100km.

Sticky finger proof (5 out of 5)Does your car go from clean to dumpsite in less than 10 seconds, or does it hold its own? Thanks to the premium, yet durable materials used within the cabin, we think this black, mostly leather interior is about as good as it gets when it comes to holding your own against the inevitable onslaught of mess that comes with little children. The Sportage scores well here.

Easy access boot (4 out of 5): Is your boot easy to pack/unpack, even when your hands are tied up with other things… like your children? It’s not the biggest of boots due to its flat floor nature, but it’s good for stowing a baby pram and a bunch of other goodies. As mentioned earlier, we like that the fact that it houses a full-size spare mag wheel, so you can still look stylish even after changing your wheel. Biscuit wheels are so UNCOOL! If you want a powered tailgate, you’ll need to opt for the GT Line.

Baby seat fitment (5 out of 5): There's a good chance you are going to use one of these. Is it as easy as 1 2 3? The Sportage features a 60:40 split rear seat, complete with ISOFIX mounts. Installing and removing child seats is super easy and thanks to the adjustable recline, you can ensure your forward-facing toddler seat is secured nice and snug.

Climate control (4 out of 5)How quickly can you cool down your car? Two-zone automatic climate control with rear passengers’ air vents. The already comfortable cabin seems even more spacious thanks to the powered panoramic sunroof. 


CONCLUSION

Unfortunately, cars have become more expensive over the past 5 years, pushing the R600k, top-of-the-range GT-Line out of reach for most families. That said, the 2.0 Petrol EX PLUS offers you good value for money in the form of a modern car, packed with great features. The best part about this popular Sports Utility Vehicle? The style factor! We’ll have to create a new segment of cars called SUV’s – Stylish Utility Vehicles! The new Sportage is undoubtedly the top seller of that segment!

Likes:

  • Future-proof styling both inside and out. We were very impressed with how well the new Sportage is built.
  • Comfortable ride quality with decent levels of agility.
  • All the automatic features as well as a really impressive sound system. The side mirrors automatically fold in and out when locking/unlocking the car.

Dislikes:

  • The multiple chimes the car makes when switching it on and off
  • The engine lacks torque in high altitude cities and doesn’t have the best fuel economy
  • The driver’s door doesn’t feature the 45° handgrip like the one found on the front passenger door, meaning the only way the driver can close their door is to use the little grip handle placed behind the window controls.

Do you own or regularly drive the all-new Kia Sportage? Tell SA what you love about your car by quickly rating it on THE TORQUERegister today!


WHAT IS ‘THE TORQUE’?

THE TORQUE is an independent platform dedicated to car reviews. Instead of judging a car based on one or two people’s opinions, the Torque allows you to see what like-minded, real people, who actually own or regularly drive the cars have to say about them.

In addition, THE TORQUE team shares their own ‘lifestyle orientated’ and easy-to-understand reviews on selected cars. Combining the two, gives one the ability to make a truly informed purchasing decision on what the best car for you is. After all, buying a car is a big decision! Register today and tell SA what you love about your car! 


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