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Kia Sportage

KM Sportage

Kia logo1 Apr 2005

By CHRIS HARRIS

A complete redesign, the second-generation Sportage was co-developed with Hyundai’s Tucson light SUV, and so the two are essentially the same vehicle underneath different clothes.

This time the Sportage switched to V6 power, offering 131kW at 60000rpm and 242Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

A Tiptronic-style four-speed automatic gearbox drives the front wheels until any wheel spin activates a torque-on-demand 4WD system. It may also be manually selected.

But it is on-road that the Kia shows the most improvement, offering safe, stable and benign dynamics in a smooth and powerful compact wagon package.

Keen pricing, high equipment levels and wagon versatility – including multi-configurable seating, a spare tyre placement under the cargo area floor and an upward swinging hatch and flip-up tailgate glass – made the second-generation Sportage a much better vehicle.

In September 2007 Kia added two four-cylinder variants.

The new LX 2.0-litre has a significant price advantage and answers the V6 automatic's heavy fuel economy problem (even if it's not competitive with the market for power).

It dispenses with all-wheel drive but keeps the high-body SUV stance that appeals to buyers with easier entry point and high driving position.

The diesel will please rural buyers and is a surprisingly good package and, as a bonus, will appeal if you want to save money at the bowser.

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, the turbo-diesel develops 103kW at 4000 rpm and 304Nm at 1800-2500rpm and has a fuel consumption figure of 7.1L/100km.

The CRDi is linked to a six-speed manual no automatic is offered because the focus for CRDi sales has been Europe, where manual is preferred in this class.

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