Kia Sportage diesel: A successful and aggressive anti-Renault Austral
It is the oldest Kia model imported into France. But, compared to the rustic Sportage of 1992, what a change! Manufacturer of low-end models at low prices in those years, the Korean wants today to be a specialist in vehicles at the cutting edge of technology, close in their finish and sophistication to German “premiums”. Nothing less. And the brand’s new SUV bears witness to the breathtaking progress made in thirty years. Launched at the start of 2022, the Sportage V is indeed pulling out all the stops with no less than four versions, diesel and petrol with 48-volt auxiliary electric motor, hybrid and rechargeable hybrid. Acclaimed, it also beats all order records in France, according to the manufacturer. It is also the best-selling Kia model, of which 57% in hybrid version, 13.5% in rechargeable. A major rival for the Peugeot 3008 or the next Renault Austral.
Aesthetically, this Sportage sports a very original dress. It looks like nothing known… except the Hyundai Tucson cousin. Surprising, as the two sister brands had done everything to diversify so far. Finished in any case the curves of the previous version! Make way for sharp, fashionable beveled lines! This Sportage imposes. Even if he does not shine with his discretion. It is wanted, no offense to the followers of sobriety. The front thus appears to us to be too complicated and overloaded, lacking distinction. But, after all, Mercedes have become rowdy as well. The general silhouette is also a bit unbalanced. The stretched version for the US market looks significantly better proportioned.
Inside, it’s also impressive, with an ultra-modern and very “high tech” design, cold but rigorous. We will be immediately surprised by the leap forward in the finish, excellent and worthy of a… Mercedes. Too bad that some materials detonate. Artificial leather and profusely lacquered faux wood are indeed out of place, although unfortunately they are also found at Mercedes. The large digital slab will impress fans of the genre. It preserves a good readability of the counters, even if the caricatural multiplication of the icons makes the ergonomics more muddled than previously. We have certainly seen worse elsewhere. But gadgets galore clutter.
Once you understand the logic of the settings, you can certainly configure what you want. But, like the Germans, this Korean automatically cancels some of the choices at the restart. For pseudo-security reasons. We salute in any case the driving position, judicious, the generous habitability and the well thought out modularity. The trunk is also welcoming.
On the other hand, we have trouble with the beep-beeps aplenty! It starts with the electronic chime, thunderous and vulgar, which occurs when the doors open, then a second time when starting. An old Korean habit, to be avoided urgently for European customers! We are also entitled to a beep when we turn off the engine with the ridiculous question: did we forget anything on board?