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Kia Sportage: Our Fleet Test Drive - 1st Report

Date: 11 February 2011   |   Author: Tony Rock

[3] "Tiger's nose grill surround"
Category: Small 4x4
P11D price: £20,300
Key rival: Nissan Qashqai

This month sees the arrival of the Kia Sportage onto the BusinessCar fleet, a sort of big sister 4x4 to our ix35 long-termer from parent company Hyundai with which it shares the same underpinnings..

We've picked a 1.7 diesel two-wheel drive model (Kia also manufacturers AWD versions of the Sportage) in '2' trim, which builds on entry-level features - such as LED daytime running lights, heated door mirrors, Downhill Brake Control (DBC), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), cruise control, leather-covered steering wheel [1] and gearlever knob, USB/aux ports with iPod cable and Bluetooth - by adding such features as roof rails and privacy glass for the rear windows and tailgate, panoramic sunroof, reversing sensors and part-leather upholstery.

As part of Kia's EcoDynamics label [2] the car is also equipped with stop/start technology, which the Korean brands claims helps the Sportage return 54.3mpg. CO2 emissions for our model, meanwhile, stand at 135g/km (chk!!).

Looks-wise, Kia's intention with the new Sportage is to make it an "object of desire", and one member of the BusinessCar team, editor Paul Barker, believes the brand has achieved its aim, particularly with the front end, which features what Kia calls a "tiger's nose grill surround" the company says it is turning into a trademark characteristic on its vehicles [3]. On the other hand, another member of the team, news and features editor Rachel Burgess, thinks the rear end is "unattractive".

It's early days and it could be down to its rarity on the road, but the car has certainly been receiving enquiring and admiring glances, with several people wanting to know what it's like to drive/own. Early impressions are largely positive, but we'll discover a great deal more ourselves over the next six months of our long-term test.

Kia is pitching the car as an alternative to the Nissan Qashqai, a long-termer that was hugely popular with both BusinessCar and my family. The Sportage will have to go some if it's to displace that particular model from our affections, but so far it seems as if it's more than up for the challenge.

Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 2
Claimed combined
Our average
P11D price£20,300
Model price range£17,015-£25,745
CO2 (tax) 135g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month£64/£129
Engine size/power1685cc/114PS
Top speed/0-60mph107mph/11.9secs
Why we’re running itCan it genuinely take
on Nissan’s Qashqai?
PositiveFront-end looks, high-up
driving position
NegativeRear-end looks,
fit and finish issues