First Drive: Eddie Cunningham takes a spin in the new Kia Sportage
KIA unveiled their new Sportage crossover here today with a starting price of €27,995.
This is the fourth generation of the marque’s biggest seller (it accounts for 40pc of their total sales). So far 11,000 Irish people have bought one.
Around 2,500 were sold last year and they expect to sell 3,500 in 2016 as the general market surges.
If the current fortunes of its stablemate, the Hyundai Tucson, are anything to go by then that prognosis is far from fanciful as the latter is selling extremely well. No doubt comparisons between the two will be acute now that both are on the market.
The Sportage has two engines – a 1.7D for 2WD and 2.0D for AWD (arriving in early February). The 1.7 now has Stop/Go technology and annual road tax drops to €200 a year – from €280.
Entry level LX starts at €27,995 with the EX (€29,995) and GSE from €34,495.
The new price represents a lift of around €1,000 on the old one (not the heavily-specced ‘runout’ model). They expect the big seller to be the EX model. Standard equipment on that includes: 17ins alloys, sat nav/reversing camera, electric driver seat, half-leather seats, high-beam assist and Lane Keep Assist. Range-topping GSE adds 19ins alloys, full leather, sunroof, xenon lights,
The wheelbase is up 30mm (2,670 mm), and the car is 40mm longer (4,480 mm).
Passenger space is increased too with better headroom and legroom.
Boot space is up from 465 litres to 503 litres and there is a dual-height luggage floor which means you can get (slightly) taller items in that you might not normally expect.
One of the big complaints about the old model was the shallow rear window. That will not longer be the case; visibility is greatly improved through a much deeper one now.
Dealers took delivery of 2,000 Sportages at the weekend. It's going to be a busy time for buyers and sellers.