AutoWeek Test – Kia Sportage Hybrid

What stands out about the Kia Sportage? The appearance of the new Kia Sportage takes some getting used to. With its styling, the Korean SUV does not shy away from controversy. The boomerang-shaped daytime running lights around the diamond-shaped headlights extend halfway up the hood into the fender, and the gigantic grille immediately catches the eye. We have not seen the chrome strip under the door windows in the C-pillars before on other SUVs either. Refreshing, but not to everyone’s taste. Get behind the wheel of the Sportage and you’ll feel like you’ve entered the future. In front of you you will find a futuristic widescreen instrumentation and a large central touch screen. We see a good splash of Kia EV6, and that means that everything looks beautiful, frivolous and solid. The Sportage scores with its multimedia system. The screen is large, the response speed is good and the menu structure is clear. This makes it very easy to work with, although as a driver you have to get out of your seat a bit to reach the right half of the screen. The air conditioning and audio are operated with the same horizontal strip above the high center console. At the touch of a button, the control buttons change function. In practice that works fine.   Does the Kia Sportage have a lot of space to offer? You can easily fit four or five adults in the Kia Sportage, but a competitor like the Toyota RAV4 has a little more space to offer. The panoramic glass roof, standard from the DynamicLine, gives you a few centimeters of headroom. From this version you also get electric seat adjustment. This makes it difficult to find an optimal sitting position behind the steering wheel, because the seat cannot be lowered far enough for you. This will probably work better with the manually adjustable seats of the less rich versions. The Sportage has a large trunk, with a capacity of 587 to 1,776 liters. With the rear seats flat, a nice flat loading floor is created. A trailer with a braked weight of 1,650 kilograms is allowed on the towbar of the Sportage 1.6 T-GDI Hybrid. If you opt for the plug-in hybrid variant, you would have to surrender 300 kilos of trailer freight.   What engines are supplied in the Kia Sportage? The base version of the Kia Sportage has a 1.6-liter turbo engine, which kicks it up to 150 horsepower. A mild hybrid, in which the petrol engine is electrically assisted, but which cannot run entirely on electricity. The Sportage 1.6 T-GDI Hybrid that we treat in the test can do that. The petrol engine now has a power of 180 hp and is assisted by a 60 hp electric motor. Together they produce 230 hp, which is transferred to the front wheels by a conventional six-speed automatic transmission. The Sportage delivers excellent performance, with a measured 100th sprint in 7.4 seconds. Still, the car doesn’t feel that fast. There is a clutch between the two engines, so that the four-cylinder can stand still while the electric motor drives the wheels. If you want the bottom of the can, the hybrid system must first count, after which the 1.6 is switched quite abruptly with the electric motor and the Kia runs off like a hare. Under normal circumstances, all parts work together smoothly. Kia gives a consumption of 5.8 l/100 km (1 : 17.2), we note in this test an average of 6.7 l/100 km (1 : 15.0). A nice score, but again the following applies: there are competitors who score better. We call it the Toyota RAV 2.5 Hybrid, which easily consumes a liter less over the same distance. The Sportage’s tank holds 52 liters of petrol. This makes a range of 782 kilometers achievable. Above the Sportage 1.6 T-GDI Hybrid, there is also a plug-in hybrid. The combined forces of the petrol and electric motor reach a maximum of 265 hp. The 91 hp electric motor draws its energy from a battery with a capacity of 13.8 kWh, with which a distance of 70 kilometers can be covered emission-free.   How does the Kia Sportage drive? Lately, Kia’s have been getting better and better and the Sportage is no exception. Its chassis handles unevenness with great naturalness and the tires continue to press firmly against the asphalt even at higher speeds. The fact that the grip in a bend is exhausted relatively early is therefore more due to the Continental ContiEcoContact tires of the test car than to the chassis itself. The balance is nicely neutral, making the Sportage feel agile. Actually, the only real shortcoming is the controls. It works very lightly and without any feeling. It would be nice to know what the front wheels do exactly. The same applies to the brakes, which are sometimes difficult to modulate due to the artificial pedal. It’s hard to tell the difference between a little braking and a lot of braking.   In which versions is the Kia Sportage available? Five trim levels are mentioned in the price list of the Kia Sportage. The version with mild-hybrid technology is only available in the basic ComfortLine (€ 36,995) and the subsequent DynamicLine. The ComfortLine stands on 17-inch light metal, is prepared for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has standard instruments and an 8-inch audio display. Although the DynamicLine is € 2,000 more expensive, it also offers the beautiful curved instruments, navigation, climate control with separate temperature zones and parking sensors at the front and rear. The Sportage Hybrid (from € 41,995) and Plug-in Hybrid (€ 44,495) start with the DynamicLine. For €3,000 you get an upgrade to the DynamicPlusLine, which includes matrix LED headlights, a panoramic sliding/tilting roof, 18-inch wheels, electrically operated and heated seats and an automatic tailgate. For € 1,000 more you have the GT-Line, which has a lot of sporty details. Pay another € 2500 and you have the top model, the GT-PlusLine. It is equipped with a premium audio system from Harman Kardon, upholstery in suede and artificial leather, seat ventilation and a black lacquered roof.   What about security? Regardless of the version you choose, Kia provides extensive standard safety equipment on the Sportage. The car is equipped with a central airbag between the driver and co-driver, an autonomous emergency braking assistant with recognition of pedestrians, cyclists and oncoming traffic at intersections, autonomous lane full assistance, active lane assistance, fatigue detection, speed sign recognition, high beam assistant and automatic emergency call in case of calamities. The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, both of which have a six-speed automatic transmission, will also receive adaptive cruise control and highway assistance. The DynamicPlusLine also offers blind spot assistance, exit warning, warning for approaching traffic when reversing, matrix LED headlights. If you opt for the GT-PlusLine, a 360-degree camera, a blind spot camera and a parking assistant with remote control are included in the price.   The choice of AutoWeek test coordinator Marco Gorter Because Kia does not work with separate options, it is tempting to save for the thickest GT versions. Still, it is worth taking a good look at which options are really important, things like seat ventilation are only useful to a limited extent in our country, while seat and steering wheel heating certainly add something for the plug-in version. The DynamicPlusLine therefore seems to be a nice compromise. In terms of powertrain, you earn the Hybrid back quickly compared to the Mild Hybrid. Those who often drive short distances are probably better off with the plug-in version.

Source: AutoWeek by

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