From May 2008 issue

List price when tested: £18,995
Kerbweight: 1842kg
85% match: 1566kg
Max towing weight: 1800kg
Towball limit: 75kg
30-60mph: 17.1seconds
30-0mph: 10.9m

DON’T OVERLOOK the Sportage in favour of its better-known big brother, the Sorento. Kia’s smaller 4×4 has an awful lot going for it.

In terms of practicality, the Sportage gives little away to the larger car. There’s plenty of head and legroom, front and rear, and a huge boot. You won’t need to travel light with 667 litres of luggage space to play with. Fold the rear seats down and that increases to 1887 litres.

The cabin is well made, the standard of finish is much improved compared with your average Kia of five years ago, and the list of toys fitted as standard is a long one, especially when you consider the price.

A rather good towcar

All this wouldn’t count for much if the Sportage were a bad towcar. Fortunately it’s really rather good, so long as you can live with acceleration which is steady at best. We hitched the Kia to an Abbey Expression 480 with a Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass of 1322kg, and the Sportage needed 17.1 seconds to drag car and caravan from 30-60mph.

The Sportage stops better than it goes, taking a respectable 10.9 metres to bring the outfit to a halt from 30mph. Through the lane-change test the Kia stayed firmly in control of the caravan, although the numb steering gives the driver little idea of what’s going on at the front wheels.

Firm suspension gives good stability when towing, but it’s too stiff for comfort when driven solo. Even so, we think the Sportage deserves to come out of the Sorento’s shadow.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 3/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 4/5 – Good stability and a practical cabin, but rather slow.

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