After 28 years since the first generation of the Sportage hit local shores, Kia has pulled the wraps from the all-new, fifth-generation Sportage in Cape Town, for local media to sample. Here is what South African Sportage-fanatics can look forward to.

Kia’s Sportage is back, looking svelte and sporty, with a spec sheet longer than my forearm and a price tag that is very much justified.

The Sportage has come a long way since its debut in 1993. Fast forward to 2010 when Peter Schreyer took over as chief of design and all of a sudden, the Sportage was on everybody’s lips.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

The third-generation Sportage put Kia on the map for good.

The third-gen Sportage became instantly recognisable, and when the most recent, 4th-generation Sportage appeared, everyone was in agreement that it looked almost like a Porsche Cayenne.

With the new, 5th-generation Sportage, the brand focuses on families and especially females with a taste for the finer things, because we all know there’s plenty of truth in that old adage, “happy wife, happy life”!

And, since the GT-Line trim in Kia’s other models is doing so well in the sales charts, there are now 3 variations of GT-Line trim to choose from, along with the more affordable LX and EX variants.

Styling

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

The new Sportage has a visage like no other.  Large, boomerang-shaped LED lights that extend from the outer edges of the bonnet down to the lower corners of the upper, glossy black grille are the main attraction here, making the Sportage look edgy, futuristic, and sporty. As we rolled en masse into the parking lot of Haute Cabriére in Franschhoek, we could see multiple phones being lifted to record the occasion.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

The avant-garde theme continues around the back with sharply styled, wraparound LED taillights that make the car’s rear end seem as perky as a 23-year-old Olympic sprinter’s. The Sportage’s side profile is equally appealing; it’s the perfect combination of curves, character lines, and indentations. This completely reimagined appearance is the result of a collaboration between Kia’s main global design network in Germany, Korea, the USA, and China, led by Kia’s Senior Vice President and Head of Kia’s Global Design Centre, Karim Habib.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

17- to 19-inch alloy wheels are standard, depending on the variant of your choice. As you can see from the photos, the exterior colour choices are rather exciting. There’s Experience Green, Orange Fusion, and Splash Lemon (my personal favourite!), as well as the more run-of-the-mill hues such as Casa White, Black Pearl, Blue Frame and Infra-Red Metallic.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

Interior

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

Kia pulled out all the stops when putting the Sportage’s cabin together. A massive, 12.3-inch, curved touchscreen forms a virtual cockpit that extends all the way to the driver’s direct field of vision, becoming the digital interface for the rev counter and speedometer. These two interconnected screens feature the latest-generation TFT liquid-crystal display for crystal-clear graphics. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces look spectacular on the large screens and using Google Maps or your satnav app of choice is rather pleasant when you don’t have to squint at a small screen to make out where you need to go.

One of the infotainment system’s party tricks is a toggle function that enables you to select between audio or air-con settings with a single touch, negating the need to delve into multiple on-screen menus just to make the cabin cooler or to turn up the radio’s volume. This helps to keep the cabin visually uncluttered, and also serves to make life a little less complicated. Not all my colleagues agreed that this was convenient to use, however.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

As for build quality, typical of Kia, things look and feel upmarket, and the finishes and switchgear are quite glamorous. Even in the second-from-the-bottom EX-trim which we drove first, the interior looks good enough to rival premium contenders from Germany and Japan! (Please note that the interior images above belong to the GT-Line S model.)

Driving the Sportage

As I’ve already mentioned, our first drive of the day took place in the Casa White Sportage 1.6 T-GDi EX, pictured below, priced at R593 995. Kia undoubtedly chose to have this model on launch as it offers a high number of features at a very competitive price. Even the textured cloth upholstery feels luxurious to the touch.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

The Kia Sportage is absolutely effortless to drive, although the suspension is probably a little firmer than expected, especially if your Sportage’s wheels are bigger than the standard 17-inches. Our launch route comprised mostly smooth tar, which is why I took the GT-Line S (the flagship model, in the image below), for a quick spin on a dirt road after lunch.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

It certainly is no serious off-roader (one is aware that it’s only a 2×4, and the 19-inch wheels aren’t ideal for rough surfaces), but I doubt whether the Sportage will see much dirt-road action when executing its duties as the family’s daily driver. All models have stability control to prevent wheels from skidding as well as other sophisticated safety specs such as trailer stability assist, downhill brake control and hill-start assist.

Drive mode select (standard on all models) was also employed – I opted for Smart Drive mode where the Sportage’s system adapts to the road conditions and your driving style for the ideal balance between fuel efficiency, performance, and comfort – and what’s a drive back into the city without trying out the adaptive cruise control? This Smart Cruise Control functionality, specific to the GT Line S variant, is a semi-autonomous driving assistant that keeps the Sportage nicely centred in its lane, and also allows the car to stay safely in the tracks of the vehicle in front, slowing down or stopping when the vehicle in front reduces speed.

The collision avoidance system in the GT-Line S also has a junction-turning function that will bring the car to a stop if it detects a potential collision when you turn at an intersection.

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

All variants of the Sportage are fitted with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that’s sufficiently smooth and well-suited to the Sportage’s turbocharged engine with a spritely 132 kW and 265 Nm. The Sportage will take 8.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h from 0.

I’ll admit that I am a little disappointed that there is no diesel model in the South African line-up, as I was looking forward to a 2000 km+ road trip in the diesel which is a lot easier on the pocket at the fuel pumps than the petrol models. Not that the turbocharged 1.6 is a heavy drinker – according to Kia, you’re looking at an average consumption of 6.5 litres per 100 km, which sounds fantastic, albeit a little ambitious. When we have the Sportage on test we’ll be able to give you a more realistic idea, so watch this space!

Grade walk

LX models have the following features as standard:

Six airbags • ISOFIX Child Seat Anchors • ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) • Hill-start Assist (HAC) • Downhill Brake Control (DBC) • Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) • Smart Entry with Push Button Start • Electronic parking brake with Auto Hold • LED Headlights with Auto Light Control • LED Daytime Running Lights • LED front fog lights • LED Combination Taillights • Electrically adjustable folding side mirrors with integrated side repeater lamps • 17-inch alloy wheels • Drive Mode Select. Blind Spot Collision Warning • Cloth upholstery • Height-adjustable driver’s seat with two-way adjustable electric lumbar support • Integrated clothing hangar on front seatbacks • Leather-clad steering wheel and gear shifter • Rake and reach adjustable steering column • 40:20:40-split folding rear seatback • Illuminated sun visors with vanity mirrors • Electro-chromatic rear-view mirror • Auto electric windows with safety function • Dual automatic temperature control • Curved 12.3” touchscreen infotainment system • Reverse camera • Bluetooth with Voice Recognition • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto • Steering wheel-mounted remote controls • 2 USB-C rear charging points.

EX models have the following equipment added:

​​Gloss black front grille • Front parking sensors • 18” alloy wheels • Cloth / artificial leather upholstery • Electrically adjustable front seats • Heated front seats • Heated steering wheel • Remote control for folding rear seat-backs • Rear privacy glass • Rear heated seats.

GT-Line models have these additional features:

Deluxe scuff plates • Alloy pedals • Electric tailgate • Paddle-shifters • Combination artificial leather/suede upholstery • Lane Follow Assist (LFA) & Lane Keep Assist (LKA) • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA).

GT-Line Plus models have the following specifications added:

LED interior lighting • A panoramic glass sunroof • 19” alloy wheels • Gloss black exterior trim.

The GT-Line S, the flagship model, gets this equipment too:

Ventilated front seats • Interior mood lamps • E-SBW (electronic shift-by-wire) with rotary gear-shift dial • Intelligent Front Lighting system • Smart Cruise Control (SCC) • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Junction Turning.

Verdict

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

Compared to rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson and even the BMW X3, the Sportage offers more features and better value for money overall. You’d be silly not to shortlist the Sportage if you’re in the market for a mid-size SUV. Well done to Kia for creating a product that puts the customer’s needs first.

Pricing for the Sportage is as follows:

Sportage 1.6 T-GDi LX R 539,995

Sportage 1.6 T-GDi EX R 593,995

Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line R 649,995

Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT-Line Plus R 677,995

Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT-Line S R 734,995

Ané AlbertseAné was bitten by the motoring bug at a very young age. Her mom recalls her sitting in her stroller as a 3-year old, naming every car that came past. She was working as a freelance motoring journalist for publications such as Rapport and City Press, when AutoTrader nabbed her for good. She lives in the Western Cape with her two kids and two cats.View News & Reviews

android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town
android, 2022 kia sportage, driven in cape town

Keyword: 2022 Kia Sportage, driven in Cape Town

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