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Sportage is the big winner in battle of sexes

If there were ever a subject to prove the gender gap in John Gray's book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, then it's the SUV.

The Venus/Mars metaphor cropped up last week when I had the “bare faced cheek' to criticise the new Kia Sportage.

Firstly I’ll outline the Venus side. Now, there is no doubting how good looking the second generation carriage is and it bears all the hallmarks of star designer, Peter Schreyer, who was the genius behind legendary motors like the Audi TT and the VW Beetle.

It is also hard to beat the allure of her very green credentials which means it cost a mere €156 a year to tax and will be a lot easier on the juice than many similar models.

Forget the mega seven-year warranty from bumper to bumper which comes with the car not the owner - making it an irresistible second hand buy in the future.

And I wouldn't give a second thought to the opulence awaiting once you open the door with wall-to-wall leather (option) and full panoramic glass roof (standard on EX and GSE models).

No sir, and I wouldn't get too hot and bothered over the state-of-the-art drivertechnology including ABS, ESC (Electric Stability Control) Hill Start Assist and Down Hill Brake Control.


Real 4X4 fans will be well impressed by the 2.0 litre model which will automatically switch from 2WD to 4WD on poor roads or in adverse weather conditions.

And finally forget the acres of space both in the cabin, rear and boot - thanks to fold flat rear seats giving a gargantuan 1,353 litres of luggage area.

No, I'd be more concerned with the Mars side – a mere quibble about handling. You see, we motoring hacks get all pent up about these things, almost fretting about them. Now I know this is not a saloon and therefore won’t drive like one but we live in hope of one day finding an SUV that does.

The steering is a bit woolly and could be a good deal sharper, more connected. On winding roads it tends to roll around quite a bit. That said, pottering about town (where the Sportage is likely to spend most of its time on school runs etc) it is heavenly.

The elevated driving position and feeling of safety from the sheer size of the body is a winner, especially amongst the goddesses.

Kia’s biggest rival in this segment, the Qasuqai, is also getting on a bit and the fresh look of the the Sportage gives it a huge advantage. Prices start at €25,600.