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Car reviews - Kia - Sportage - 5-dr wagon

The Car

16 May 2001

Power comes from a 2.0-litre, 16-valve engine that develops 94kW at 5300rpm and 175Nm at 4700rpm

Kia says a new cylinder head and revised engine management system have improved the Sportage's driveability and fuel economy

Air-conditioning, central locking, power windows and a driver's airbag are standard even in the base model

Kia has equipped the latest Sportage with low-pressure gas shock absorbers to improve its ride and handling

The spare wheel release mechanism has been simplified greatly, allowing easier access to the luggage compartment

Vacuum-operated front hubs enable four-wheel drive to be engaged or disengaged on the fly at speeds of up 80km/h

Like the Suzuki Grand Vitara, the Sportage is built on a ladder- frame chassis, making it well suited to regular off-road use

Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic

The braking system uses ventilated discs at the front but only drums at the rear

Front suspension is by independent double wishbones while the rear uses a four-link set-up with coil springs

The base of the split/fold rear seat can be flipped to form a flat load area that can accommodate up to 1570 litres of cargo

Sportage has approach and departure angles of 36 degrees and 33 degrees respectively.

Kia claims the Sportage can traverse sideways slopes of up to 45 degrees

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A standard limited-slip differential minimises wheelspin in slippery conditions

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