A hybrid car is especially efficient in the city, is it efficient on long journeys as well? During the “journey” between Paris and Monaco, we managed to take control of the new hybrid Kia Sportage.
While registrations for petrol and diesel vehicles are declining, the hybrid is becoming a real trend in the automotive market, along with electric vehicles, which currently account for 20% of new car sales. Praised in urban areas, is hybrid technology also relevant on long journeys where the electric motor is less in demand? To find out, we got behind the wheel of the new top-of-the-line Kia Sportage GT Line hybrid and set off on a “journey” between Paris and the Principality of Monaco.
The new Kia Sportage in terms of style: a revolution!
Forget the very consistent lines of the previous generation. Like the rest of the Korean brand, the Sportage is undergoing a revolution. Aesthetically, the changes are radical. The completely redesigned front end features a larger grille with a new brand logo and surrounded by boomerang lights. Same at the rear with shapes reminiscent of the Kia EV6, recently voted Car of the Year 2022. Very controversial aesthetic decisions, reminiscent of those made by Toyota a few years ago. At a time when design is the first consideration when buying a car, the Korean crossover plays on emotion. We like it or dislike it, but we do not remain indifferent.
In terms of dimensions, the Korean crossover has gained a few centimeters over its predecessor and is now over 4.52 meters long. A way to get closer to the Peugeot 3008 and Ford Kuga, two European benchmarks in this segment.
Inside, the layout is largely inspired by the one introduced in the Kia EV6. Thus, there are two 12.3-inch screens, which, placed side by side, form a single slightly curved slab. At the level of the on-board computer, the design of various menus has been redesigned. In general, everything is pretty smooth, and the navigation is correct. We still prefer to connect our smartphone to access apps like Waze or Google Maps, which are always nicer to use over long distances.
Choice of hybridization
100% electrified, the Sportage’s new engine range spans from mild hybrid to plug-in hybrid. For this first long range test, we have a “full hybrid” version of the kernel.
Accumulating 230 horsepower, it combines a 180-horsepower 1.6-liter T-GDi petrol engine with a 60-horsepower electric unit. Accumulating 1.49 kWh of energy intensity, the battery operates in a constant charge-discharge cycle. A configuration that allows the electric mode to intervene on a regular basis, especially in the city where the deceleration and braking phases make it easier to recharge the battery.
Between Paris and Monaco
For this long-distance challenge, we’re taking a trip between Paris and Monaco, where the 17th EVER show took place. The epicurean journey that took us between national roads and highways to discover sometimes quirky places like the Croix de Molphey service station run by a fan of Johnny and old American cars takes us back to the 1960s.
When it comes to driving, this new Sportage is a true sedan. Quite comfortable despite the rather stiff suspension, the Korean crossover also benefits from an electric motor that brings its total theoretical output to 230 horsepower. Without being blinded by the declared power, accelerations remain sufficient for overtaking.
With good sound insulation, it also offers a range of driving aids. Everything fits easily in your hands thanks to the well-thought-out layout of the controls on the right side of the steering wheel. However, you will need to pay attention to the selected finish. While lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, sign recognition and cruise control are standard, the rest are reserved for our top-of-the-line GT Line Premium trim. In particular, this applies to adaptive cruise control and blind spot display system. Quite practical, it displays the rear view of the car from the side in real time on the dashboard. A device that we were already able to experience during our Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid test.
Fuel consumption: 6.4 l / 100 km
When we arrived in Monaco, our overall balance was 6.4 l/100 km. The correct value for this beautiful baby weighing 1.7 tons, which remains in the nails of the figures put forward by the WLTP cycle. Of course, the Sportage isn’t the most economical hybrid car out there. The Toyota Auris and Hyundai Ioniq will do better, but we don’t play in the same league when it comes to roominess. This is where the Kia model comes out on top. While most hybrids sacrifice some of their trunk for the battery, the Sportage hybrid claims 587 liters, the highest average in the segment. To this is added a pulling force of up to 1650 kg.
As for the price, the Korean SUV is also in good standing. Selling from €37,490 in its base Active version, it’s more affordable than the Ford Kuga hybrid offered from €40,650. Developed on identical mechanics, the Hyundai Tucson hybrid performs better, but its basic version costs from 32,950 euros.
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