Kia Sportage LX Plus diesel model show, roof racks are an add-on accessory.
Driving the Kia Sportage
We took the Kia Sportage LX Plus and explored some of mid-canterbury’s finest scenery – through the Lewis Pass to Lake Lyndon and Castle Hill. Keep reading to learn more about our experience with the Sportage LX Plus.
The LX Plus diesel model
We picked up a striking Black Sea Blue Kia Sportage LX Plus diesel from the friendly team at Cockram Kia in Christchurch. Refreshed with a new look, its muscular stance and strong yet refined silhouette make it a stand-out vehicle on the road.
This LX Plus is the next spec up from the LX, and features a host of additional features, including 18″ alloy wheels, a composite leather gear selector, rear privacy glass, a 12.3″ touch screen infotainment system, wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, automatic dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing front wipers, and much more.
Let’s hit the road
The Sportage is Kia’s best-selling SUV – and as we soon discovered, for good reason. SUV, as you’re likely aware, stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. Touted as a go-anywhere and do-anything vehicle, the Sportage truly sets the benchmark in this ever-popular vehicle segment. As we navigated through Christchurch systems such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist made driving simply a breeze on busy, narrow streets. Meanwhile, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist ensured we stayed under the speed limit, which turned out to be rather handy with the ever-changing speed zones in town.
Whilst it was great for navigating the road-cone laden lanes of Christchurch, it really was in its element out on the open road. Once on the motorway, we activated the Smart Cruise Control – and from there it was a breeze. The Sportage’s advanced radar-based system kept us a safe distance from any cars in front of us by actively reducing our speed when they slowed down and returning to the pre-set speed when they speed up. Once out on the open road we had the chance to better explore (and enjoy) all the advanced interior features the Sportage has to offer.
The first thing to note is just how spacious the cabin is. With two adults in the front, we had three cameras and a tripod in the boot (and that barely made a dent in the storage capacity). There was plenty of leg room and the seats were incredibly comfortable. Inside, the styling is crisp and bold with touches of metallic and leather throughout. It’s easy and intuitive to navigate (there’s no pushing random buttons and hoping for the best here), and that’s not even mentioning the stand-out 12.3″ touchscreen infotainment screen and 12″ LCD instrument cluster. Technology and infotainment were clearly front of mind for Kia when designing the Sportage, with the wireless Apple Carplay providing music during our trip, and the Sat Nav making navigating simple.
The weather out on our drive was typical Christchurch, with four seasons in a day – but you wouldn’t have known that inside the Sportage. Automatic Dual Zone Climate Control kept us at a comfortable temperature the entire journey, as we encountered freezing rain at the top of Lewis Pass right through to the balmy 26 degrees we encountered on our return to Christchurch. As soon as we hit bad weather at the Lewis Pass, rain-sensing front wipers kicked in.
That’s great, but how does it drive?
Simply put, great! We put it to the test covering all terrains, from smooth motorways to the shingle roads at Lake Lyndon. Everywhere we went the drive was smooth and comfortable. From sunny Christchurch motorways to the windy wet roads through the Lewis Pass it took everything in its stride, as you’d expect from a true SUV. With 137 kW of power and 416 Nm of torque, there was plenty of power to boot as we effortlessly reached km/h – simply put your foot down and the AWD takes care of the rest.
The Sportage creates a fun, comfortable, and safe driving experience. The leather steering wheel is light to the touch, and even though it sits more on the mid-large size SUV scale we found it a breeze to navigate through tight parking spaces.
If I can sum up the Sportage in one word, it’s easy. If you’re after a vehicle that’s beautiful to look at, versatile yet fun to drive and all wrapped up with a very appealing price tag – you can’t go past the Sportage. In an increasingly popular SUV market, the Sportage comfortably holds its own amongst many (often pricier) competitors. Considering all the features the Sportage boasts, it’s incredible value for under $40,000. Plus, all new Kias come with a 5-year / 100,000 km warranty, 5-year roadside assist and 3-year scheduled servicing.*
*Terms and conditions apply.