Staying relevant is more important than ever these days. It’s why you’ll find middle-aged people on TikTok or why many companies are allowing employees to continue to work from home. Ahead of the fifth-generation Sportage landing locally in 2022, Kia South Africa has decided to keep the midsize SUV in the public’s gaze by unveiling a flagship GT-Line version. The limited-edition model sports a more powerful petrol engine, new transmission and a plethora of standard features.
With some of the Western Cape’s finest roads at my disposal, it was the perfect opportunity to stretch the legs of the South Korean brand’s turbopetrol 1,6-litre four-cylinder engine which produces 130 kW and 265 N.m of torque. The latter is available from 1 500 – 4 500 r/min, a broad range that offers a healthy dose of gusto from a standing start and more impressively during overtaking situations. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts might seem gimmicky in this application, however, it adds playfulness to the experience and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission offers slick changes with little delay.
Fitted with an all-wheel-drive system, the GT-Line keeps itself honest with power sent to the front wheels all of the time and only split down the middle when traction is required to the rear wheels. Hill descent control is fitted as standard. Kia’s says the GT-Line is capable of reaching 0-100 km/h in 9,1 seconds and has a top speed of 201 km/h. To be fair, it feels swift than the sprint time suggests, something we’ll confirm once we performance test it. As for the ride quality, there’s little to complain about as the impression is that of composure the fitment of 19-inch wheels which could be seen as a handicap. The steering (even in sport mode) is not overly artificial and there’s an expected amount of body roll one expects from this type of car.
At just shy of R650 000 the GT-Line features an impressive list of standard kit, including six airbags, front and rear park assist with a rear-facing camera and electronic stability, downhill brake and hill-start assist control. Further comfort and convenience are provided via keyless entry with a push-start button, electrically adjustable front seats, heating for both rows of seats, a powered tailgate and dual-zone climate control. Entertainment in the cabin is provided by an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Exterior inclusions consist of LED headlamps, a panoramic sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels. In addition, the front artificial leather-covered pews sport a two-tone, diamond-patterned and have seat heating functionality, GT-Line-specific flat-bottomed steering wheel, and a comprehensive 4,2-inch colour instrumentation cluster.
Decked out in an Infra Red hue the GT-Line looks the part and its design has aged well since its global launch seven years ago. Standout points are the strong turbo engine and spruced up interior with the solid perceived build quality. Its ‘full-house specification list attract those seeking a crossover with lots of value. With the new Sportage headed our way in the second quarter of 2022, is the GT-Line worth forking out for? It certainly ticks all the boxes needed from a crossover and is sweetened by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and a five-year/90 000 km service plan. It’s hard to ignore.
Model: Kia Sportage 1,6 T-GDi AWD GT-Line
Price: R649 995
Engine: 1,6-litre, four-cylinder, turbopetrol
Power: 130 kW at 5 500 r/min
Torque: 265 N.m at 1 500 r/min – 4 500 r/min
0-100 km/h: 9,1 seconds
Top Speed: 201 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 7,7 L/100 km
CO2: 178 g/km
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch
Service Plan: Five-years/90 000 km