Feb 1 2010 Peter Hayward
Kia's impressive Sportage
THERE'S only one drawback with the latest automatic Kia Sportage - it only comes with two wheel drive.
The lower order cars in the range, available with 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines, have 4WD or 2WD as an option.
But the excellent diesel automatic I drove only comes in 2WD. In normal circumstances, that would be a bonus by saving fuel on the road for the many who never need all wheel drive.
But that week it snowed, and the whole country ground to a halt - not me!
It would have been better to have 4WD under me, but amazingly, despite taking the Sportage along many roads that had only been passable by 4x4 previously, I only got stuck once and was soon pulled out by a passing Range Rover - god bless him whoever he was.
The diesel automatic Sportage has plenty of power for fair acceleration, a comfortable ride and tidy, safe road-holding.
With a gentle foot on the accelerator it kept going in the snow without any problem and was very impressive.
The range-topping XS is the most expensive but comes very well equipped, with cruise control, heated door mirrors and an excellent six speaker stereo on top of the more usual electric windows etc.
It has automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, leather, front side and curtain airbags, an alarm system and an excellent five year warranty.
Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,991cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine driving the front wheels via a 5-speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 108mph
0-62mph: 14.6 seconds
Combined mpg: 35
Insurance group: 10
CO2 emissions: 210g/km
BIK rating: 31%
Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited miles
Main rival: Daihatsu Terios, Suzuki Vitara