Kia Sportage 2016 First Drive

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3 generations down the lane and the world sees the Sportage having played a major part in changing KIA’s image from a dull and boring manufacturer to a developer of eye-catching fashionistas. The 3rd generation Sportage has been so successful that it has retained for 6 years. So, it is obviously a huge task to bring a successor that will fill those shoes. In other words, it is THE car for KIA this year and it has to succeed. So let’s have a look at it in detail.

KIA Middle East, in association with Al Majid Motors, organized a full-day event which included fancy hotels, food and a lot of test cars. The group was divided into two sets. One set had the 2.0 liter FWD Sportage whereas the other set was driving the 2.4 liter AWD variants. I was handed the FWD trim.

Kia Sportage 2016 Exterior 

Kia Sportage 2016 GCC

Well, from the first look, you will notice that the new Sportage is more of an evolution rather than a revolution. They have changed the visual details but the sloping roofline and shape of the car resembles the previous generation. The big change, however, is at the front and the rear. The rear taillights remind me of the S-Class Coupe while the rear tailgate reminds me of the 1-Series. Overall, the rear gives a well-built look. 

Coming to the front, this is where I got stuck as the car looks a lot like a mix between the Porsche Cayenne (the headlight shape) and the Nissan Juke (the front fascia). The design doesn’t look clean and KIA can look forward to changing the front in the mid-cycle facelift.

Kia Sportage 2016 Interior

The interior is where the new Kia Sportage 2016 completely outclasses the previous generation. The interior is roomier than the old one. It is because the new model has a 30mm longer wheelbase. This doesn’t seem much on paper but it feels nice in the 2nd row seating. There is more leg room and I found getting in and out of the car relaxing as well compared to the older Sportage.

Now coming to the boot space, well, as per specs, you get 26 liters more than before. This is good news and I would say, from first look, it will satisfy most consumers.

You might be also interested in: First drive Kia Carnival

Another key aspect in the interior improvement is the build quality. The new interior looks classy and the build quality is top notch for this segment. There is soft touch plastic almost everywhere and the buttons don’t feels sloppy. Moreover, there are no squeaky sounds nor there is any engine noise heard while stationary. Also, there is negligible wind and road noise as well. So overall, the insulation is of high standards and KIA should be given a pat on the back for that.

The Sportage I drove had almost all the necessary goodies one asks for. The car had leather seats, park assist, panoramic roof, seat coolers, blind spot detection, climate control, TFT touchscreen, navigation and Bluetooth. It also had heated rear seats as well.

Overall, the interior made me glad and I believe consumers will be glad as well.

Kia Sportage 2016 Drive

Kia Sportage 2016 Dubai

The Sportage I got was a 2.0 liter FWD variant. This means the car produces 150 BHP and rough 200 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. There was a 2.4 liter AWD version as well but I could not get my hands on that so I will be discussing the 2.0 liter variant only. 

The drive, I would say, is satisfying. Like, you know, what you’re paying for, but there is a pleasant surprise once you get the engine rolling. The first thing you feel on the road is the rigidity of the Sportage. It is sturdy and increases driver’s confidence. Keep in mind though, the 2.0 liter engine feels sluggish and has a weird vibration when RPM reaches the red line. But you’re not buying the Sportage for performance satisfaction, so it shouldn’t matter. This is a family car to go from point A to B and it does that – in a fun manner. That fun largely comes from the steering system. Yes, the new and improved steering gives good response and the Sportage comes alive on the twisty roads. However, there is considerable body roll which has an impact on driver fun (but that was expected, right?).

Overall, given the segment and pricing, 2.0 liter engine will fulfil most consumers’ demands as this setup is right there with the Rav4s and the CX-5s. However, if the engine doesn’t suit you then there is a 1.6L turbocharged option available as well.

Kia Sportage 2016 Verdict

Kia Sportage 2016 UAE

The new 2016 Kia Sportage is a great all-rounder. It checks almost all the right boxes. If you’re tired of dull and boring designs and want a certain funky look – with seating for 5 and enough space – then look no further. Also, if you already own a Sportage then this is definitely a worthy replacement.

Also see: Pirce & spec Kia Sportage


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