Monday, May 9, 2016

Used Car Review - Kia Sportage (2011-2016)

Seeing cars evolve is one thing Myk Belmonte does and is curious of this one.

2011-2016 Kia Sportage

Kia's first attempt to the sport utility race is the truck based first generation Sportage, which shares its underpinnings with the Mazda Bongo. It never caught on (even in its home country, it wasn't a best seller in the first place), especially that the Japanese excelled in this category and having a diesel engine didn't attract buyers. The second generation model which is now based on the Hyundai Elantra platform and is the sibling of the Tucson, was a better attempt and didn't have the teething problems of the past but was relegated to the second tier level. It wasn't until the third generation model that its appeal became mainstream and now in the playing field.

Released months after its Hyundai Tucson platform-mate, the Sportage is virtually the same in every aspects except for several items inside and out. Just like its corporate cousin, it was a home-run for Kia in every country it was available and sometimes outselling Hyundai.

Filipino consumers had to wait until the middle of 2011 to grab their hands for the local release of the Sportage. Unlike the previous generation model, it became a first class choice among buyers of the segment. First models were the EX sporting the 2.0 engine in either front or all wheel drive while 2012 saw the launch of a sub-million pesos LX paired to a manual transmission in June, a more powerful 2.4 4WD having more options in July, and a front wheel drive diesel variant in October. LX models were made available as a downgraded model (which we will discuss in total later).

Value and Costs
Similar to the Hyundai Tucson, the cheapest models that you can find and buy is priced at P550,000 while choosing a late release model (2014 onwards) hover at the P900,000 thereabouts. As always, gasoline models do cost less than their diesel counterparts and Kia has their five year warranty, which makes things less worrisome. We'd warn you as early as now, equipment in several model years are less as you get in an old model.

If you're aiming for the front wheel drive models (which mostly comprise), do keep an eye on the stabilizer link and in general, some suspension quirks and drivetrain noise. Thankfully, parts are Hyundai derived and you wouldn't need to worry about it since the H badge sells more than the Kia.

Exterior and Interior
Audi's Peter Schreyer was a wise investment Kia had done, especially that his design language had done good to overhaul the image of the Korean brand; and the effect for the Sportage is a more sharp exterior which is complemented by aggressive looking head and tail lamps, daytime running lights (removed in 2014 models), and a rear window which has poor rear visibility. 2014 models had its DRLs and side mirror signal lights deleted and the following year had 16 inch wheels (than the 17 ones of the early ones), fog lamps, and roof rails gone.

As we said with the Tucson months ago, the Sportage suffers the same fate: a modern interior that is of high quality and a well assembled dashboard that has some of the bad pieces mixed in. Another niggle inside is the lack of storage space at the back, which is a trade-off for more space for humans than materials. Later downgraded models do not anymore have the trip computer, steering wheel controls, and make do with a plastic steering wheel.

Straight from Hyundai's engine stockyard is what powers the Kia Sportage. Initial models have the Theta II 2.0 having 165hp at 6,200rpm and 197Nm at 4,600rpm that was offered between 2011 to 2013/4 and an upgrade to the NU 2.0 resulted to 156hp at 6,200rpm and 192Nm at 4,600rpm. If you are aiming for the DLX it has a Theta II 2.4 that gives you 176hp at 6,000rpm and 226Nm at 4,000rpm while the diesel uses the R 2.0 engine which displaces 174hp at 4,000rpm and 392Nm at 1,800-2,500rpm. When it comes to overall performance, the 2.0 gasoline performs decently if you're picking the front wheel drive but somewhat struggles when paired to the all-wheel-drive, the 2.4 has much better power delivery even when combined with AWD. Choosing the diesel will reward you ample power and wide powerband, which is good especially it has power from two wheels only.

Driving Impressions
Yes, it may have the word "sport" in its name but driving impressions is far from it, especially that it has electric power steering that makes steering light but driving experience numb. Although the cabin has ample space inside, backing up is a trouble and the ride is firm for some people. Same symptoms with its Hyundai brother here, of course.

The spot light all went to the Hyundai Tucson, but this alone does not make the Sportage a lesser model. Sure, parts are similar to each other as well as the good and bad traits, but differences inside and out make things interesting for the buyer and that makes it also an appealing option.

The Good:
  • Impressive diesel engine
  • Handles good
  • Cheap to buy
The Bad:
  • Limited rear visibility
  • Poor ride quality
  • Some cheap touches inside
The Pick: Any diesels

Engines: 1,998cc (2011-2013/4) and 2,359cc Theta II, 1,999cc NU (2014/5-2016) I4 gasoline, 1,995cc R I4 diesel
Power: 165hp @ 6,200rpm (2.0 gas, 2011-2013/4), 156hp @ 6,200rpm (2.0 gas, 2014/5-2016), 176hp @ 6,000rpm (2.4 gas), 174hp @ 4,000rpm (2.0 diesel)
Torque: 197Nm @ 4,600rpm (2.0 gas, 2011-2013/4), 192Nm @ 4,600rpm (2.0 gas, 2014/5-2016) 226Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.4 gas), 392Nm @ 1,800-2,500rpm (2.0 diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 7-10km/L (city), 9-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual (2.0 front wheel drive, 2012 only), 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear multi-link

Price (New): P990,000-P1,600,000
Price (Now): P550,000-P900,000
Rivals: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota RAV4
On Sale: 2011-2016

Kia Pasay - (02) 852-1490

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