The Sportage has long been on my list of favourite vehicles, and as such I was delighted to test-drive the new Sportage 2.0 AWD SX with Kia Goldreef. Sales executive Waseela Cassim shared my excitement and – proving to be extremely knowledgeable about the Kia Fleet – noted that the new Sportage is currently the only vehicle on the market with rear heated seats.

The exterior of the Sportage maintains it’s smooth, clean lines and pleasing shape, whilst I am told the height and length of the vehicle have been extended by 5mm and 40mm respectively, resulting in more head and leg room inside. The cabin, as expected, has the luxurious, comfortable feel one is accustomed to finding in Kia vehicles, with all leather seats and elegant dash design. The cockpit is driver-oriented, and it is clear that every convenience and necessity has been taken into account in design – everything is within reach, and ergonomically placed to make driving this vehicle an absolute pleasure. I do not feel at all out of place in such a big SUV, and instead feel confident and completely supported as I take it on the road.

The vehicle is an easy drive, responsive and powerful with its 2 litre CRDI diesel engine that puts out 130 KW and 400 NM torque between 3000 and 4000 rpm. With class-leading safety features that include 6 airbags and structural reinforcements to its advanced body shell, this vehicle has been awarded a 5-star euroNCAP rating which is the highest rating achievable. The Sportage handles beautifully, sits firmly on the road and switches from smooth SUV to sporty powerhouse in a heartbeat, reminding me that the design also has a playful, adventurous edge. I love the transition between the two, and enjoy the way the vehicle can adapt to harsher road conditions and still maintain its performance.

As a family woman, I find the spacious interior and massive boot space to be a huge plus (491 litre boot, and 1 480 litre with seats folded down); other features such as a cooling glove box, rear-mounted USB/Aux jacks and reclining back seats hint at trouble-free family vacations on the long road, which this vehicle will doubtlessly take in its stride.

The host of features available in this SUV seem unnecessary to mention in light of the overall impressiveness of this vehicle – the silky-smooth experience and drive are enough to make me believer, and the added extras (rear park distance control, smart power tailgate that closes at the push of a button, ISOFIX child anchors to name but a few) are the cherry on top of a very well-rounded sundae.

As the competent team at Kia Goldreef explain to me, the new Sportage is the whole package: powerful SUV, luxurious family vehicle and sporty adventurer rolled into one. As an added bonus, Kia’s famous hospitality is cemented in the customer care accolades won by this specific team in 2015 and 2016, earning them the title of CSI Aftersales Dealer of the Year. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

By Desh Pillay Bechan