Each car manufacturer offers several different models, but there is always a bestseller. With Kia, there is no doubt about their “numero uno”, it is the impressive Sportage, which represents around 40% of their total sales. The Sportage has sold over 18,000 units since its launch in Ireland in 1993.
The all-electric EV6, which was voted Irish Continental Car of the Year earlier this year, is probably Kia’s brand ambassador, but the Sportage is undoubtedly their number one.
Kia has been one of the major success stories of Irish motoring over the past 30 years. In 2002 Kia sold 400 cars in the Republic of Ireland, now the South Korean company is the fourth bestseller in Ireland, behind Toyota, Hyundai and VW. They are definitely up there with the big boys and playing senior hurling now!
At the launch of the fifth generation Sportage in January, Kia MD Ronan Flood said he expects the new version of the car to attract many more new customers to the Kia brand. And with that famous seven-year warranty, I think Mr. Flood will be right.
I liked the Sportage’s high seating position because it gives you a good view of the road. Unusual to see two USB C-port charging points on the side of the front seats which can also be used by the rear passengers. For the driver and front passenger, there’s a standard USB port, a C port and the old car-style charger.
The dashboard is well laid out with the infotainment cluster dominating; it’s a dashboard similar to the electric EV6. All controls are easy to use and the handbrake is not located near the center console, but is placed to the right of the steering wheel. This is a good idea because you won’t accidentally apply the handbrake with your left hand.
I normally like to use a knob to control the radio volume, but there are several slave controls on the steering wheel, and that’s where I tended to control the radio volume from.
The interior is very spacious and the trunk is huge, but no spare wheel. In this case, the hybrid technology takes up the space where you would normally place a spare tire.
The jury is still out on plug-in hybrids. When there was a €5,000 grant, plug-ins were attractive, but now, unless you have a home charger and a short daily commute, plug-ins are hardly worth the extra money. You will get about 50-55 km in pure electric mode when the battery is fully charged.
Pricing for the regular Sportage starts at €35,500, the hybrid version will set you back €43,150 and the plug-in K3 version I drove last week will set you back €46,000. The road tax is €140.
The Sportage is a very impressive engine, but if I was buying new I’d rather go for a regular petrol or diesel version. There will come a day when we may, we repeat, all have to buy fully electric cars. But for now, I think we should enjoy life and not worry about “range anxiety” which is part of the package when buying fully electric cars.