Bowen's Report Card
2022 Kia Sportage Diesel S AWD Review
- Sharp Looks
- Standard features
- Too many blank buttons
- Hyundai Tucson handles better
- Diesel the pick but pricey
THE BOWEN SCORE
“I think it’s an impressive looking vehicle. Clearly a lot of flare and courage has obviously been put into producing what is quite a radical looking Kia”
Deadset, I find it difficult to find anyone who has a bad word to say about the new Kia Sportage and even its twin, the Hyundai Tucson. The Korean giants have nailed looks, quality, price and appeal.
The new Sportage further cements that for me. I’ve driven the petrol GT-Line higher spec model already this year.
In recent weeks my derriere has occupied the manual petrol S base model, and now a All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) S Diesel has landed in the garage.
The diesel model is propelled by a four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L diesel that produces 137kW @ 4,000rpm and 416Nm
@ 2,000 ~ 2,750rpm.
It has an eight-speed automatic transmission, that delivers relatively smooth gear shifts and can be done so manually if you like to grab the shifter and do it yourself, without the assistance of the now ubiquitous paddle shifters.
All diesel models in the range (S, SX, SX+ and GT-Line) are only available with the eight-speed and AWD.
Performance wise I would go for the diesel if I had the budget, every single day of the week. It has plenty torque in the right places, this makes it a far better performer than the underwhelming petrol unit.
Plus, it’s also incredibly efficient. There’s still a misconception that diesel engines are dirty and noisy, this is not so. Although their very existence is probably the only thing to worry about long term.
Sure, if you wind down the window it’s evident that you’re driving one, and perhaps the noise installation could be a bit better on the Sportage in general, but I don’t find it overly intrusive, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
We went on a reasonably long day trip to Mayfield Garden, a spectacular vista to survey and world-class garden display near Oberon in the NSW Blue Mountains.
During the week-long loan we covered 673 kilometres all up, averaging 7.7L/100km.
I can guarantee you if this was the petrol model, it’d be empty as an Aussie cruise ship birth about three days before it went back. However, come the Monday it was still showing 240 kilometres left on the dial.
Impressive indeed, for me.
I still think the Sportage isn’t quite as well sorted as the Tucson, although when you jump into the AWD model, it does feel a tad more secure than front-wheel drive models.
It kinda has a heavier and solid planted feel, although there is an ominous warning on the sun blind which says, “Avoid abrupt manoeuvres and excessive speed, always buckle up,” plus a further risk of a “higher rollover risk”.
That’s probably the case for most SUVs anyway, which makes me wonder why people don’t buy large sedans in the first instance.
The brakes are solid and progressive, the steering is okay without having a massive amount of feel to it.
Overall, the drive is impressive and visibility all around is quite good. Clearly it’s far more secure in wet and cold on twisty roads than the old Toyota LandCrusier single cab that rolled in front of us on the way home from Oberon, but that’s another story entirely.
The Kia interior on the new Sportage is rather sophisticated, modern and a genuine shock compared to the last generation model.
Even though this is a base model, it still has attractive carbon fibre aluminium-look trim, which is plastic but still convincing.
The thing is, doesn’t it look bloody fantastic? It’s sharp, those angular daytime running lights look epic. The silver trim on the C pillar with its indents and creases, gives it some added sophistication, the rear is probably still a little generic SUV for most, although at least it scores the new Kia logo.
I think it’s an impressive looking vehicle. Clearly a lot of flare and courage has obviously been put into producing what is quite a radical looking Kia.
It’s impressive that there’s fully digital instrument cluster, on a base model. The centre touch screen is only an 8-incher compared to the 12.3-inch found in the SX and SX+. The GT-Line has a euro standard curved display that links the 12.3-inch instrument cluster and the 12.3-inch centre touchscreen, that’s a real marvel.
Another bonus for base models is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Although there’s no wireless charging bay.
Finally another highlight is lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control with a semi autopilot system.
There’s any number of passive and active safety features, with highlights including;
- BC (Downhill Brake Control)
- HAC (Hill-start Assist Control)
- TSA (Trailer Stability Assist
- MC (Multi-Collision Braking)
- AB (Autonomous Emergency Braking)
- Car, Pedestrian, Cyclist & Junction
LKA (Lane Keeping Assist) with Line/Road Edge Detection
- LFA (Lane Following Assist)
- BCW (Blind Spot Collision Warning) with RCCW
- (Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning)
- BCA (Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist) with
- RCCA (Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance)
- DAA+ (Driver Attention Alert with
- Lead Vehicle Departure Alert)
- SEW (Safe Exit Warning)
- ISLA (Intelligent Speed Limit Assist)
- Rear View Camera with Dynamic Parking Guidelines
- Driver & Front Passenger SRS Airbags
- Front Side SRS Airbags
- Curtain Side SRS Airbags
It has cloth seats, they aren’t the most well-done poverty seats I’ve ever seen, but they are quite supportive. I did speak earlier about going on quite a long trip, and I never felt uncomfortable.
It does lack electronic adjustment on both sides in the front and lumbar support, but it seems to be a fairly decent one-size-fits-all setup. There’s a telescopic and height adjustable steering wheel, so finding the right seating position is relatively easy.
Convenience wise, don’t expect keyless entry. The number of times I grabbed the door handle expecting it to open was annoying, and you actually have to put the key into the ignition to start the vehicle.
This is a disorder that affects only those who drive too many new cars each week.
There is an electronic hand brake which is to the right and behind the indicator stalk, that still pisses some people off. At least it’s not a foot brake.
Manual air-conditioning is something that is becoming rarer than Karaoke, although in recent weeks I’ve had the chance to drive a few base models and to be frank, it’s not all that much of an issue.
I do miss dual-zone air-conditioning, simply because my wife tends to like it uncomfortably warm while I enjoy freezing her. Although having said that, this is a still around a $42,000 purchase, so hmmm.
There’s a USB-C fast and standard USB charging port up-front, along with a 12-volt charger. There’s no USB charger in the centre console or in the rear, although there’s an air vent, which is good for the often forgotten 2nd row occupants.
You’ll also find another 12-volt charger in the rather spacious 513L cargo area, which explodes to 1829L with the rear pew down.
All in all, it’s a pretty impressive place to sit, except for the number of blank buttons to the left of the gear shifter, which is a crime against humanity.
Value For Money
The as tested Sportage S Diesel AWD is offered at $42,690 drive-away. Fuel economy is rated at 7.7L/100km on the combined cycle.
Kia still have the enticing seven/year unlimited kilometre warranty. Diesel models fall under a capped price serving plans for seven years or 105,000 kilometres.
What I Love
It’s a great looking car that’s also incredibly efficient.
Bowen’s Report Card
The Kia Sportage is leap over another hurdle in the Olympic-scale race to the top of the more affordable SUV brands out there. It does everything required from the point of view of a family looking for a car that can easily accommodate five people, or a couple of kids preferably to keep things a little bit more comfortable, being a more mid-sized SUV. It’s safe and offers good space, practicality while being a head-turner. It’s an 84 out of 100 from me.