Sprint Review: 2023 Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi GT Line Plus  

The Kia Sportage is not one of the newbies on the burgeoning SUV block, but it certainly feels like one of the freshest with its hip design and crazy model line-up. Let me explain…

Some images: Kia Motors South Africa

You should know: For starters, you have the choice between two 1.6L engines: a 132kW and 265Nm turbo-petrol or the 100kW / 320Nm turbo-diesel we tested in this grey metallic press demonstrator. To keep up with the hordes of stylish and colourful newcomers, Kia S.A. offers their new Sportage with a 12-strong colour palette.

More info: We’ve already tested the vivid “Splash Lemon” or “Orange Fusion” and the mere sight of such a vibrant hue usually sends shockwaves through the verbal filters of our conservative car buying public. After gasping for air because someone didn’t buy a white car (…the horror!) they tend to dismiss these colours as a terrible idea come resale time.

Great, so you buy your cars for someone else, not you?

Why you shouldn’t: All Kia Sportages sold in southern Africa only have front-wheel drive and a 7-speed DCT (automated manual) gearbox. The drive-train response is perfectly acceptable by modern standards, which means that it has low-down lag and a great big wallop of mid-range torque; with decent cruising abilities and good consumption. 

Some technophobes in our team went a bit lock-jawed when we demonstrated this vehicle’s multi-level ventilation and audio controls. However, they are quickly learnt and actually became a talking point. The media system, multiple drives modes and various creature comforts are most welcome in this class of vehicle and at this price point.

Our best 0-100km/h time in this diesel was 10.13 seconds (Kia claims 11.4) while the petrol equivalent managed 8.53 vs. a claimed time of 8.8 seconds. Alleged top speeds are 180km/h for the diesel and 200km/h for a petrol equivalent, while average claimed fuel use from the 54L tank is 4.9 (diesel) and 6.5L/100km (petrol).

Why you should: For reasons we’re unaware of, the diesel and petrol Sportages are not available in every trim level. Instead, this diesel appears to power most of the entry-level stuff while the petrol unit is reserved for the sporty-looking and –sounding GT-Line, GT-Line Plus and GT-Line S.

What else? The difference between all these ill-name Grand Turismo models is merely spec level. Prices start around 656k and rise to almost ZAR 820,000; with this GT Line Plus sitting just below that at 784k. Each new Sportage is sold with a 5-year unlimited-mileage warranty and 6-year/90,000km service plan.


Engine:1,582cc in-line 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
Transmission:7-speed DCT, FWD
Max. Power:100kW @ 4,000rpm
Max. Torque:320Nm @ 2,000rpm
Avg. cons.:4.9L/100km/h
0-100km/h:10.13 (claimed 11.4)
Top Speed:180km/h (claimed)
List Price:R783,995

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