Kia: 2014 Sportage Urban Limited review

Kia: 2014 Sportage Urban Limited review

More and more private and fleet buyers are beginning to cotton on to the fact that they don’t need to have an all-wheel-drive SUV.

What they can have now is a front-wheel-drive version with all the bells and whistles, normally found on a top specification 4×4 variant.

Kia Motors New Zealand was among the first to introduce front-wheel-drive SUV models to this market segment with its second generation Sportage Urban in base LX and mid-range EX grades.

2014 Kia Sportage - Nu 2-litre GDi  petrol engineWith the latest third generation Sportage model there is now a top specification front-wheel-drive Urban Limited variant, which is a powered by the latest 2-Litre direct injection petrol engine.

This model which retails from $44,490 was recently introduced with the Model Year 2014 Sportage range which included a number of enhancements and upgrades.

The “Nu’ GDi engine replaces the formerly used 2-litre MPi (multi-point injection) unit. Thanks to a compression figure of 11:5, the Nu engine is engineered for improved drivability according to , with torque rising to 205Nm (but peaking at 2014 Kia Sportage4,000rpm, instead of 4,600rpm), whilst power is unchanged at 122kW.

Its a sprightly performer off the line, the six-speed automatic transmission manfully puts that torque through the front-wheels with little fuss or drama.

Kia quotes a combined consumption figure of 8.8L/100km for the Urban Limited. I must have enjoyed the sprightly performance a little too much because despite a few longer motorway journeys, our combined average over more than 450km was closer to 12L/100km.

2014 Kia Sportage - cargo areaDriving the 2014 Sportage is a pleasant experience, thanks to a number of changes designed to minimise noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). A new soundproof windscreen, with an interlayer film between the glass laminations, reduces wind noise.

Key engineering improvements have been introduced to counter vibration. Among them, the front subframe is now bush-mounted (rather than bolted directly to the body shell), an intermediate shaft is added to the drivetrain, resulting in symmetrical (equal length) front drive shafts and a new mounting bracket for the transmission has greater rigidity and reduced resonance.

The value proposition of this particular Kia Sportage is very 2014 Kia Sportage, NZ 16good, thanks to leather upholstery, heated front seats (with two heat settings), satellite navigation, bluetooth audio and telephone, remote controls on the leather bound steering wheel, cruise control, and reversing camera with gridlines for easier parking.

The European-sourced Euro V Sportage comes from the Kia Motors plant in Slovakia where all right-hand drive production is now built, but this does not mean that the ANZAC suspension package has been lost, far from it.

The engineers from Kia Motors have once again spent considerable time refining the suspension tuning for Australian 2014 Kia Sportage, NZ 17and New Zealand conditions, and this is catered for by the factory in Slovakia.

Kia has also fitted its adjustable electric assisted power steering system to the Sportage Urban Limited, which has three modes, comfort, normal, and sport. Comfort being the lightest mode and best used in places such such as parking buildings, normal for everyday driving situations, and sport for those drivers who prefer to have a heavier feel through the steering wheel.

I personally prefer to leave the car’s steering in normal mode for all driving situations.

2014 Kia Sportage, NZ 12Supposedly people buy cars such as the Sportage Urban Limited because of their practical nature, so how practical is this vehicle in everyday life? I had the car for an extended 10 day period and I have to say it delighted in some aspects and disappointed in others.

The delightful aspects are that four-up this car is a very comfortable urban and motorway cruiser, I spent one day at the wheel and covered more than 250km and didn’t have backache at the end of it, which is a tribute to the design of the seats as well as the heat settings.

Carting three rugby players and a coach as well as myself to a rugby match was no issue in the Sportage Urban Limited, although the three in the rear seat were quite cosy due to their width, but at least there was room for their legs.

While the rear cargo area easily accommodated my 96-litre chilly bin as well as numerous sports bags, an attempt to bring home a wing backed chair from a storage facility failed miserably. The aperture just wasn’t wide enough to squeeze the piece of furniture through sadly.

It was a minor disappointment, but in every other aspect the Sportage Urban Limited was hard to fault as a daily driver, it delivers refinement, practicality, a commanding driving position as well as a stylish presence and value-for-money proposition.

Just don’t have a lead right foot as I do!

Price: $44,490 

Pros:

  • Smooth and grunty engine performance
  • High level of specification
  • Easy to park thanks to front and rear sensors and reversing camera

Cons:

  • Won’t fit a wing backed chair in the boot
  • Fuel consumption not as good as expected

Words:

Pictures: Supplied by Kia Motors NZ Ltd.

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