Mark’s Six Family-friendly Features of the Kia Sportage
Our group’s Marketing Manager, Mark, has been driving the new Kia Sportage this week, and it’s proving to be a significant leap from his family’s 2014 model. Six key features have stood out as being particularly handy for those on the search for a family SUV.
While my family car is in the workshop at Miles Kia for repairs I’ve been given this 2023/2024 Kia Sportage LX Urban… which is proving to be worlds apart from our family’s 2014 Kia Sportage LX Urban.
The Kia Sportage has seen some significant design overhauls since our model, with this latest iteration – sporting the new Kia logo – looking exceptionally stylish. So much so that when my wife first saw it on the road (while inside the same-but-older model) she had no idea what it was.
Her comments on seeing the interior were that it felt comfortingly familiar, but it’s certainly seen quite a lot of development in the last 10 years.
Many of the latest features are tricky to take in on a short test drive, so I thought I’d list a few that stood out to us in the three days that I’ve been driving it.
1. Quick Access ‘Favourite’ Shortcuts
With more and more safety, comfort, and entertainment features, car manufacturers and their designers are resorting to new ways to allow drivers to access their vehicle’s controls. These don’t always hit the mark and can often be overly complicated, or can mean too many distracting clicks/taps to get to the feature that you need. In my opinion, amongst the worst are those that remove all buttons (and even dials) entirely and replace them with one single centre tablet-style screen.
Kia has balanced their touchscreen functionality with well-placed physical buttons and controls for the best of both worlds. Many cars have this, but Kia takes it a step further with two ‘favourites’ shortcut buttons; one on the steering wheel and one to the left of the touchscreen.
These two buttons can be customised to your preference, allowing you to activate your function of choice with one single touch. While I didn’t think much of this at first, it’s proven to be very handy. Which brings me to…
2. Quiet Mode
Kia has created a mode for their media system called Quiet Mode. When activated, this shuts off the rear passenger speakers – moving the sound to the front speakers only – and drops the sound volume to a maximum of 25 (out of… something. It’s quiet). This is highly useful when either:
- the kids have fallen asleep
- someone in the car is trying to tell you something and the music is too loud
- you’re like me and need quiet when either reverse parking or looking for your turn-off
I like to have Quiet Mode connected to the shortcut button to the left of the touchscreen. A quick tap can reduce the volume and turn off the speakers in the rear of the car when you need it.
3. Voice Memo
I’ve been in a few cars and this is the first time I’ve seen an audio recording and playback function in the vehicle’s in-built media system. The use of this is maximised when you assign it to the shortcut button on the steering wheel. With a quick shift of the thumb you can record a message for yourself to play back later.
This could be useful when either:
- You need to remind yourself of something and (of course) can’t use your phone while driving to write yourself a note
- The kids are singing and you want to record if for prosperity
- Your partner is saying something that you know they’re going to deny later (I mean… I would never do this)
The only down side is that I don’t believe there’s a way to export the recorded sound files from the media system, so if you wanted to do that you’d need to play them while stopped and record them to your phone using your phone’s own sound recorder.
Still, quite a useful function and one that I believe I’d use quite a lot.
4. Traffic Has Started to Move Alert
With so many safety features now being a standard requirement in modern cars, it’s becoming harder for manufacturers to find features that standout from the pack, either in terms of safety or added driver convenience. Kia’s found one that’s rather handy.
I’m sure we’ve all been there. You’ve stopped in traffic and something has caught your eye to the left or right of the car, or you’re looking in the mirror to tell the kids that perhaps the fourth rendition of Let it Go is three too many, and then… the driver behind you hits the horn. You look forward and traffic has started moving again. Worse… you’re too late and the traffic lights have changed back to red and now you have to stare straight ahead while you wait for the lights to change again, avoiding the glare of the driver behind.
Of course, this has never happened to me (ahem) but if it did, the Kia Sportage would pick up that the car in front has moved off and you haven’t yet and it alerts you with a pleasing tone and a message on the dashboard, “Leading vehicle is driving on.” It does this through its front radar system. Pretty clever stuff, and quite a useful feature. And impressively available from the base model upwards.
Note: photo above taken while stationary in our car park. Please do not use your phone while in control of a vehicle.
5. Retractable Cupholders (and generally just lots of storage)
The interior of the Kia Sportage feels very spacious, and the door pockets, centre console storage, and other centre storage areas provide ample space for you to store anything that you’d want to keep easily accessible and to hand.
The centre area itself features a space with two cupholders that can be retracted to provide large areas of extra space, or – with the push of the release buttons – can spin around to provide a holder for pretty much any size cup or bottle. You don’t always have a cup with you while driving, so the ability to turn this back into a more usable space for larger items is very handy.
This is a feature I first saw in the Volkswagen Tiguan, and it’s been just as well implemented here.
6. Heaps of legroom in the back
I’m 6ft 2 and positioned the driver’s seat as usual. I later pulled over and jumped into the back seat to take one of the photos earlier in this article, and I was amazed by how much legroom I had. Such a spacious interior makes for very comfortable long journeys, especially for those with teenage children, or even for kids in child seats that have backpacks by their feet.
I’ve tried to capture this in the photo above. This shows the rear seat legroom noting that the driver’s seat is in the position I need as a driver of 6ft 2.
I could go on, but one last thing I’ll add is that the driver and front passenger headrests are ridiculously comfortable. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s highly relaxing to sit in traffic and push your head back into the headrest.
That strange addition aside, the above features combined with a wealth of other reasons makes the new Kia Sportage quite an easy purchase decision. And to top it all, the Kia Sportage is now available as a hybrid.