Posted on May 21, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
Date reviewed: 2017-12-21 14:30:00
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.
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.
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:
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 styling highlights include:
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.
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.
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!
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 TORQUE. Register today!
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