Car Review: 2019 Kia Sportage Petrol Australian Open Edition.

This Car Review Is About:
Kia’s Australian Open Edition Sportage. The brand is a major sponsor of the Australian Open tennis, and releases a number of special edition cars to further associate the brand with the sport.

Like other companies that have similar arrangements the special edition cars are cosmetic in nature. Kia lists this particular at $30,990 plus on roads.The Outside Has:
A very mild facelift was given in mid late 2018, and for the AO Edition, Kia has made one very visible decision. That’s to not go overboard in visible additions or changes.

Side steps have been added, and they are properly designed in, not sourced from a parts bin. The lower door sections have a graceful curve between front and rear. The steps added, mirror and, fill that curve beautifully.There are AO specific black painted alloys that have been partly machined to provide a silver and black contrast. On the Sportage AO EditionĀ  they are 18 inch diameter wheels with Nexen 225/55 rubber that give ground clearance of 172mm. The wheel design itself is one that asks for a second look. Hidden in plain sight is a simple five spoke star motif.

On the rear left of the non-powered tailgate is a discreet AO Edition badge which was almost lost on the review vehicle’s Sparkling Silver that wrapped the 4,485mm length. On top of the 1655mm height Sportage are handy roof rails as standard.That’s pretty much the extent of the exterior additions to the AO Edition, and it’s a bit of a shame. Kia though have a great canvas to paint and have Clear White, Steel Grey, Sparkling Silver, Fiery Red, Mercury Blue, Cherry Black, and Snow White Pearl. Non standard paints are a $520 cost option.Under The Bonnet Is:
A mechanically unchanged Sportage. Using tbe Si version has the free revving 2.0L petrol engine and six speed auto driving the front wheels only. Peak power is 131kW, and peak torque is 197Nm. Both require the typical petrol high revs in order to be of any real benefit with 6,200rpm and 4,000rpm required. Economy finished on 8.2L/100km, a reasonable figure given Kia’s quoted urban figure of 10.9L/100km for the urban cycle. Combined is 7.9L/100km.On The Road It’s:
Not a vehicle that deserves to be driven in anger, nor is it one that enjoys it. It prefers a gentle stroking off the line, building up to highway velocities rather than being forced to see the tacho needle swing north of 3500rpm.

The Kia developed auto isn’t a bad thing by any measure however isn’t as smooth or refined in its changes as expected. It did benefit the engine occasionally on uphill runs with manual shifting making a better fist of its abilities and harnessing tbe engine characteristics more efficiently.Ride and handing are typical Kia quality. Steering’s never anything less than very good, with the ride dialing out most road imperfections and excessive rebound. The Nexen rubber hangs on well enough and in the lower Blue Mountains there are plenty of long sweepers that test lateral grip. The footprint of the Sportage is such that it’s not far off being slightly square (1,855mm track versus 2,670mm wheelbase) and the rubber shows no inclination to break free under normal driving, and pushed hard, merely shrugs.

On The Inside Is:
Plenty of space inside considering the Sportage’s size and the segment it slots into. Front seat room was more than adequate for a 175cm frame, rear seat leg room just fine for people of 150cm and would only really cramp taller people if the front seat passengers themselves were of a similar height. Kia added a specific weave to the cloth for the five seats, with a subtle herringbone style look. It actually did seem to add extra grip whilst seated and powering the car through some testing, twisting, roads.The upper dash lining has that black “pleather” look and feel, with the vertical surfaces a mix of smooth and slightly textured plastic. As always the switchgear is ergonomically spot on. There is even aircon vents at the rear of the centre console, a rarity in entry level vehicles. At the other end is a single USB port and a pair of 12V sockets to allow the aftermarket USB adaptors. There is one more under the rear sear aircon vents.Audio was AM/FM only but the seven inch touchscreen had app access for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which also have a voice recognition feature. Overall sound quality was good enough from the six speakers considering the FM tuner quality. The driver has a 3.5 inch monochrome display, with info accessed as per usual via the steering wheel tabs.

The second row seats fold forward, adding plenty of extra storage space for either 466L or 1,455L (seats down). Left in situ there’s plenty for a weekly shop, and shopping bags sit above a full sized spare. The doors have space for a bottle and there are two cup holders up front, two in the rear seat’s centre section.For electronic items there are a pair of USB ports (one front, one rear) and three 12V sockers, with two up front. This isn’t a bad idea as there are adaptors that provide twin USB sockets, meaning up to five for the front seats.

What About Safety?
A very good package of passive and active safety systems. There are the mandated traction control, brake distribution, and ABS systems, plus rear parking camera and dynamic guidelines. Lane Keep Assist is standard but the car doesn’t have at this level the Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert/Lane Change Assist. AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with FCWS (Forward Collison Warning System) is on board though. Kia adds in dusk sensing headlights, auto dimming rear vision mirrors, and a standard six airbags.
And The Warranty?

is Kia’s standard seven years. Servicing costs are capped for the seven years, with the intervals being 15,000 kilometres. First service is $252, with year four the most exxy at $604. Year seven is current at $300.

At The End Of The Drive.
Aside from the sidesteps and wheels, there’s nothing else to have the AO Edition stand out, there’s not even a badge inside. And that’s a golden marketing opportunity missed.
Otherwise its the same solid performing Sportage with a petrol engine. Head to kia.com.au for information on the Kia car range.

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