What we like: great at shifting higher gears; stunning infotainment/dash display; elegant interior; striking exterior.
What we don’t like: not enough soft touch interior items; slow on take off; no wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Tough, dare we say it aggressive looking from the front, with a muscular and athletic body. No we’re not describing some fancy sports car, but rather the re-modelled and rather stylish Kia Sportage, tested here in GT-Line all-wheel drive specification.
Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel packing 137kW of power, it’s at the top of the veritable pecking order, and comes loaded with all the bells and whistles, including LED headlights, and some pretty darn good looking boomerang style daytime running lights look good.
Those are paired with some iffy looking fog lamps, but the combination sort of works. The whole package rides on some neat looking 19-inch alloys, giving 181mm of ground clearance.
Open the door and your eyes will immediately be drawn to the stunning dual 12.3-inch curved display, before easing off onto the appealing mixed interior with some soft touch leather and hardened wood-like material.
Complementing this is a dial gear shifter and touch climate control screen, as well as an ambient mood lighting setup offering 64 different colours. An eight speaker Harman Kardon sound system adding to the overall goodness.
Unfortunately, connectivity in the new Sportage has really swung and missed, and we’re a little miffed that the base Sportage S gets wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, yet here you’ll need a cable. Exclusive to the GT-line though is a decent sized wireless charger.
There’s USB-A, USB-C and a 12 volt outlet in the front too, as well as a single USB C port on each of the front seats, positioned on the inner sides for those in the back to utilise. If you enjoy a long drive, the Sportage is a little on the average side for leg comfort as well.
After several hours behind the wheel, we weren’t overly impressed with the left and right leg pillars being hard plastic, but if your trips are shorter, it won’t bring you great discomfort.
That aside, the GT-Line offers a lot of exclusives, in this case, Terrain mode. It’s an adaptive driving mode with three built in functions for snow, mud or sand. Eco, Normal, Sport and Smart are the standard modes.
Now if you thought heated seats were cool, this car may surprise you with its ventilated function too. Despite other models and brands delivering this feature, it hasn’t totally taken the car industry by storm, but it’s a welcome addition for our hot summers.
The comfortable memory seats, which come only as black leather appointed, with an artificial suede upper, are fully electronic and are able to be pre-set to two different drivers arrangements.
Much to our excitement, this vehicle does not have the Idle Stop and Go system (or stop/start), which can be found on some Kia models. We don’t love stop/start as a thing, even if it does save a little fuel (although at current prices, we might have to like it).
The electronic tailgate, which will open by itself after three seconds of standing behind it and having the key in close proximity, reveals up to 543-litres of storage, or 1829-litres with the 60:40 rear split seating folded. Under the false floor is a full-size spare tyre.
The eight-speed automatic transmission’s acceleration isn’t initially great, but forgiven being a diesel, however in later gears, it’s smooth and sharp, and exactly what you’d expect from the Sportage’s decent powertrain.
Despite having a stack of excellent safety features, some now standard across any new car, blind spot monitoring has reached new heights. The GT-Line has cameras built into the mirrors that activate when the indicator is used.
For the uninitiated, this means the live vision is shown right in front of you on the dash, to confirm a safe lane change. We think this is a total knock out feature and another reason to consider if you’re weighing up options.
On top of this is remote smart parking assist, giving you the ability to control your vehicle forward or backwards from outside, with the key, which is perfect for tight spaces. This function isn’t available in Western Australia as it breaches some traffic codes. Weird right?
With a panoramic sunroof as part of the package, the 2022 Kia Sportage GT-Line starts at $52,370 plus on-roads. It’s available in a host of colours, including Clear White, Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey, Gravity Grey, Fusion Black, Dawning Red and Vesta Blue.
Rounding out the colour palette is the gorgeous Jungle Wood Green of our test vehicle. Like the rest of the Kia range, it comes with a generous 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and 7-years capped price servicing.
Up to 8-years complimentary road side assistance is available if you service your vehicle through a Kia dealership.