IT was catch-up time. For some

reason I hadn’t driven the latest

version of the Kia Sportage,

although I had been behind the

wheel of previous versions.

So a week in the South Korean

manufacturer’s best-seller was long


The previous Sportage stormed

the SUV-crossover sector, lifting the

already-burgeoning profile of the

brand. And the latest iteration has

continued the trend,

The all-new car entered the top

ten UK best-sellers during its first

month on sale.

And, in March, Kia notched up its

best single-month sales

performance, which saw a total of

18,801 new cars sold, the Sportage

leading the way with 8,220 sales.

The brand, which was established

in 1944, first started trading here in

1991, selling just under 1,800 cars in

the UK that year. The Kia range

now covers nine segments with 12

cars on offer.

With its origins of manufacturing

bicycles in South Korea, the

company has grown to be part of

the fifth-largest automotive group

in the world and is present in more

than 170 countries.

Features on our 1.7 CRDI 2 Eco

included cruise control and speed

limiter, reach and range

adjustment for the leather-trimmed

steering wheel which has mounted

controls, dual automatic air con,

powered lumbar support for the

driver’s seat, ambient interior

lighting, satnav, reversing camera

system and sensors, Bluetooth,

rear USB charging port, privacy

glass for rear windows and tailgate,

automatic headlight control, rainsensing

wipers and power-folding

door mirrors. Among the safety kit

you will find such sophisticated

features as lane keep assist, high

beam assist, hill start assist

control, trailer stability assist and

impact-sensing door unlocking.

Practicality? Try front and rear

12-volt power sockets, centre

console storage box, luggage net

hooks and 60-40 split- folding rear

seats for starters.

The driving experience is

pleasing with assured handling ,

and the engine is something of a


The 114bhp, 1685cc, four-cylinder

diesel feels more like a two-litre

unit, with the manufacturer’s

figures of 0-60mph in 11.1 seconds

and top speed of 109mph seeming

rather modest. Fuel consumption

is 61.4mpg (combined).

My week in the Sportage saw it

given a thorough work-out, hauling

a full complement of passengers

and luggage over a period of

several days in a variety of

conditions, including motorway,

town and country. The car was

admirable throughout.

Price: £22,050 OTR.

First published July 7, 2017