Kia has been a strong but silent player in the Nepalese automotive market for a long time now, taking sure and certain steps to create a strong empire. Maintaining a low profile over the years while dishing out some of the nicest, feature rich and most durable cars in the market, an example of this is the Sportage. Younger brother to the mighty Sorento, the Sportage has made a name for itself without blaring its own trumpets.

In a market where every other crossover and compact SUV is making itself heard, it is time someone spoke up for the Sportage. This is why we are here to find out if it should be on your radar for your next buy.

EXTERIOR

The Kia Sportage exterior gets a very confident stance and looks well proportioned from all angles. The front grille gets a high-gloss black material, which works well with the styling. There are Bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights that sit in the nicely sculpted bumper.

The tiger nose grille works well with the entire design. Also, electrically-foldable ORVMs with integrated turn indicators, body colored outside door handles, roof rails, stylish alloy wheels and several other features add flare to the car.

There’s body cladding across the length of the vehicle, which adds the required SUV muscle. The rear end has a roof-mounted spoiler and beautiful tail lamp that stretches from one end to the other.

INTERIOR

The Sportage’s interior is where the car starts feeling like an SUV that is way bigger than it really is. There is plenty of leg space and headspace for all occupants, which is surprisingly more adequate than what the segment offers. From the driver’s perspective, you get excellent visibility from the windshield because of the seating height. There are heated seats for the driver and front passenger as an added bonus to the already comfortable seats. This ensures the utmost comfort on long journeys.

The center console is a 5-inch touchscreen unit, which isn’t big but looks very smart. The same tidiness can be observed in the layout of the buttons and dials, and the chrome lining on the AC vents. The Sportage also comes with JBL sound system with Clari-Fi technology that elevates the audio experience inside the car. One of the features that surprised us was the 6-disc DVD player that you don’t get to see in the modern cars today. The dashboard adequately uses soft touch materials to provide a sense of quality. The hard plastics that are used have excellent fit and finish.

There’s a 3.5-inch display in the instrument cluster that provides notifications of ajar doors, fuel consumption, driver seat belt reminder, average speed and a few others. The boot is decently sized without a loading lip and the rear seats can be folded in 60:40 split, aiding in practicality. Apart from this, the interior gets you a catalog of features that if we decided to list out, would make this review too long of a read. All in all, the interior is absolutely the star of the show here.

In terms of keeping the occupants inside the Sportage safe, Kia has thrown in every safety feature you can think of such as dual airbags, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Downhill Brake Control (DBC), ISOFIX child seat top tethers and Anchor fixings, all-round 3-point seatbelts, remote central door locking, advanced anti-theft system including immobilizer and alarm, child safety door locks, etc.

PERFORMANCE

While it is true that you focusing on good interiors is important because you spend your time inside the cabin, but to really enjoy the experience the performance of the vehicle also needs to impress. To undertake these responsibilities, the Kia Sportage has under its hood a 2-liter petrol engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox that puts out a 155 BHp and 192 Nm of torque. This engine is responsive and builds speed in a steady manner.

If you want to encourage the Sportage to move slightly more briskly, you need to work your right foot with a little more energy. You may need to shift down a gear to complete swift overtakes on the highway which is a letdown, but thanks to the gearbox the shifts come easy and smooth.

The light clutch makes quick and repetitive gear changes inside the city feel less tiring. The steering is fairly light and responds instantly to the driver’s directional inputs. The car gets an efficient braking and suspension mechanism, keeping it well balanced and stable at all times.

VERDICT

Kia Sportage is one of those cars that have successfully masked itself in the impression of a car that people would blindly consider expensive. While a price of NRs. 65.90 lakhs is not what you’d call cheap, it certainly surprised us when the price tag guesses our team made during our review period with the Sportage was much higher.

In this segment, the Sportage’s smart and practical interior accompanied by the stunning exteriors and exciting performance deems it more than suitable for anyone’s daily needs. The Sportage is a complete package, which ticks a lot of boxes and makes itself a formidable runner in the growing SUV market.