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HomeFeaturesKia Sportage GT Line review – A real head turner

Kia Sportage GT Line review – A real head turner

The Kia Sportage is now in its fifth generation and it has made a remarkable transformation from the first model’s utilitarian appearance to the latest one’s chic persona.

Available in five specifications starting at R539,995 going up to R734,995, the popular new Kia presents a compelling package.

There are many competitors at this end of the market fighting it out for your hard-earned money, but with its stylish mug, generous features, and lively engine, we think the Sportage may be one of the better options.

A new engine to go with the new looks

The Sportage’s new 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine does not disappoint and is befitting of the sporty exterior redesign.

Offering 132kW and 265Nm in every specification, power is delivered smoothly to the front wheels with the turbo ensuring near-maximum torque from as little as 1,500rpm, letting you get ahead of traffic or out of a sticky situation without many issues.

In manual mode, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is a little slower to respond than other gearboxes of its kind, but for the most part it was left in full auto, and there were no unwanted cases of high revs or hanging gears.

Petrol consumption, meanwhile, is listed at 6.5l/100km but during our week it sat closer to 9.0l/100km which is acceptable for a vehicle with this footprint. Admittedly, going easier on the accelerator did see fuel usage come down quite rapidly, though the converse is also true and it peaked at 10.2l/100km.

High-tech interior

Compared to the older generations, the new Sportage’s build quality is noticeably improved.

The cabin is quieter, the doors sound more reassuring on opening and closing, and the fit and finish of the materials are excellent in the price range. We particularly enjoyed the suede patches around the cabin as well as the carbon fibre-esque door panel inserts which together supplied a sporty atmosphere.

The GT Line’s passenger compartment is as high-tech as they come, too, providing heated seats at the front and back, ventilated seats at the front with electric adjustment, a heated steering wheel, a wireless charger, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, intelligent high-beam LED headlamps, and lane-keep assist ensuring that the driver has to focus on little else but the pedals, steering wheel, and road.

Even the headrests were specially designed to hold tablets and large smartphones, and fast-charging USB ports are fitted to the sides of the front seats for passengers in the back to juice up their devices on longer journeys.

A sizeable 591-litre boot complements its road-tripping potential.

Continuing the modern affair is a new dual-screen setup on the dash consisting of a curved 12.3-inch central screen and 12-inch driver’s display, which is standard on all GT Line trims. The EX and LX get the same media display, but a smaller 4-inch gauge cluster.

Hyundai, and by extension, Kia’s infotainment systems are among the less feature-rich on the market, but they do support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a wired connection and if you don’t mind wires in the cabin you’ll probably be happy with that, but beyond it basically offers Bluetooth, phone calls, and a settings menu.

In terms of customisation, three drive modes bring up different skins for the speedometer and rev counter and this is rounded off by a fashionable ambient lighting bar spanning the edge of the centre console that changes colour depending on the chosen programme.

One inconvenience is that the media volume is controlled through a dual-purpose knob that requires first switching it over from its standard use, which is setting aircon temperature, to its secondary use, radio power and volume, before the action can be completed.

Sure, as the driver this can be done through buttons on the steering wheel, but it remains a hassle for passengers who sometimes want to control what everyone is listening to.

The six-speaker stereo also does not go very loud, though fortunately, the sound quality is good.


In the sea of mid-size SUVs that are occupying the R500,000-and-up price bracket, the Kia Sportage still remains a great option.

Depending on your tastes, the radical styling may be hit-or-miss, but it packs a healthy spec sheet and a peppy powertrain regardless of the chosen trim line.

With a good warranty to match, you really can’t go wrong with Kia’s new mid-size stunner.

Kia Sportage GT Line


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