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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Kia Sportage puts safety first in revised Mzansi line-up

While Chinese rivals might offer more kit for less money, they haven't quite figured out the drive part yet.

All Kia Sportage models now come standard with the carmaker’s in-house-developed advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technology which was only previously included on the GT-Line derivatives of the medium-sized SUV.

This is in addition to the raft of active and passive safety features, including an anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution and electronic stability control, hill-start assist, downhill brake control and trailer stability assist.

ALSO READ: Diesel is dead, long live diesel – All hail the Kia Sportage!

Safe as a house

ADAS translates into lane-follow assist, lane-keep assist and forward collision-avoidance assist.

Lane-follow assist and lane keep assist work alongside the standard blind-spot warning system, with the former using cameras and radar to ensure the vehicle is electronically aided to stay in its lane. Should the vehicle veer over into the adjacent lane without indicating, the system automatically assists steering to prevent the vehicle from entering the adjacent lane.

Kia Sportage exterior rear
The Kia Sportage looks the part. Picture: Kia

If the lane markings are of poor quality, the lane-follow assist system automatically reverts to following the vehicle ahead of the Kia Sportage to aid steering for a certain period of time.

Forward collision-avoidance assist helps to avoid collisions with objects in front of the vehicle while driving. If the preceding vehicle suddenly slows down, or if a forward collision risk is detected, such as a stopped vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist in front of the Kia Sportage, forward collision-avoidance assist provides a warning.

After the warning, if the risk of collision increases, it automatically assists with emergency braking.

ALSO READ: Space-age new Kia Sportage a big tour de ‘force

Korean prowess

The launch drive with the LX derivative gave The Citizen Motoring a chance to experience how well these systems function in the real world. And served as a timely reminder of just how well the Kia Sportage drives, even in entry level spec.

Kia Sportage cabin
The cabin of the Kia Sportage. Picture: Kia

The likes of the Chinese might be offering more kit for less money, but they haven’t quite got the drive and feel part of the experience completely figured out yet and Kia has them beat.

The Kia Sportage also outguns most of the competition’s substantially less economical turbo petrol offerings. The Korean carmaker does this by remaining true to diesel power. Claimed fuel consumption number is a mere 4.9-litres per 100 kilometres from their 100 kW/320 Nm 1.6-litre turbodiesel. Kia claims it will hit 100 km/h in 11.4 seconds while going onto a top speed of 180 km/h.

The one thing South Africans love is a torquey, light-on-fuel turbodiesel. And this alone will keep the revised Kia Sportage right near the top of any shopping list – like it should.

Kia Sportage pricing

CRDi 1.6 LX – R637 995

CRDi 1.6 EX – R691 995

T-GDi 1.6 GT-Line – R713 995

T-GDi 1.6 GT-Line Plus – R741 995

CRDi 1.6 GT-Line Plus – R765 995

T-GDi 1.6 GT-Line S – R798 995

Pricing includes five-year/unlimited km warranty and six-year/90 000 km service plan.

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