THE 2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line is really quite something, and having undergone a bit of a face lift, along with scoring a host of technology inclusions, it could just be the noise maker the mid-sized SUV market needs.
Fighting for the top spot is going to be difficult though. Think of it as being akin to the WWE’s Royal Rumble – the all in brawl tournament that sees 30 men enter (one every two minutes), and only one winner, the last man standing.
That roster includes the likes of the Ford Escape Titanium, Holden Equinox LTZ-V, Hyundai Tucson Highlander, Mazda CX-5 Akera, Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed, Nissan X-Trail TL, Renault Koleos Intens and Toyota RAV4 Cruiser. That’s nine mid sized diesel AWD SUVs.
Now in its fourth generation, the Sportage has received some well deserved uplifts, while remaining affordable. It also comes with some great technology inclusions in both safety and convenience that other manufactures fail to deliver at the same price point.
With a drive away price of $49,490 for the GT-Line diesel, the Kia Sportage features autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, an overzealous lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, park assist and rear cross traffic alert.
Add adaptive cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring, driver attention alert, push button start and key proximity sensor, a JBL premium sound system with DAB+ digital radio, and a hands free power tailgate, and you can see why the Sportage GT-Line is jam packed.
But in reality this giant list is not done yet, because there’s also an actual full roof glass panoramic sun roof, wireless phone charging, auto-leveling LED headlights and LED fog lights. Okay, now we’re done.
Did we mention the 8-inch touch screen infotainment system, large door pockets to throw your belongings in, and a bevy of hidey holes to stash stuff in. It’s a superbly outfitted vehicle, that’s easy to get in and out of.
We’re not just talking front doors either, as the second row is equally as accessible, with large and wide rear doors. It’s great for families with child seats, although if your kids are a little older those doors might prove troublesome in car parks.
Plenty of leg room everywhere, even in the back seats, and a good amount of head room too. The only downside to the interior is the outdated red glow lights supporting the dash buttons. They just make it feel a little dated.
Under the hood, the engine remains unchanged from the previous model, with the GT-Line powered by a 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo diesel, producing 136kW and 400Nm. Plenty of punch, and claimed fuel economy of 6.4-litres/100km.
Unfortunately we didn’t get close to that, only managing a best of 8.5-litres/100km. The GT-Line definitely moves briskly off the line though, and with the 8-speed auto working effortlessly and quietly, you’re gliding along the road in no time.
In fact, you’d be hard pressed to pick this as a diesel until you stomp on the go pedal. That’s the point at which the Kia reminds you, under decent acceleration. It’s a little rattly and obnoxiously loud; a little tractor-like if you will.
The on demand all-wheel drive system keeps the Sportage solid and planted on the roadway, with freeway driving a breeze in the comfortable and spacious cabin. If you need to hit a dirt road, the AWD system will keep you and the family safe.
It might even get you out of a mud patch, thanks to the centre differential lock. Cabin noise is minimal under standard driving conditions, which is great for long-periods of driving. It was genuinely hard to notice wind or tyre noise.
Overall the 2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line is an outstanding vehicle, making it a strong contender against some tough rivals. It’s available in seven colours; Clear White, Steel Grey, Fiery Red, Mercury Blue, Sparkling Silver, Cherry Black and Snow White Pearl.
Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Kia Sportage GT-Line, contact your local Kia dealer.