The underrated Compact SUV

There’s a bevy of SUVs in the Philippine market today, almost all enjoying their rising popularity. All manufacturers have their own versions, and KIA is no different.  They have the popular mid-size Sorento, a 7-seater SUV and the compact SUV, the Sportage.

Although overshadowed by its competitors, and even by its own sibling, the Sportage GT-Line 6AT is actually a fine SUV. First off, its one of the few models that offer a big-displacement diesel engine, a powerplant that is in demand nowadays. The Sportage also boasts of fine accoutrements as standard, and of course, the design profile is handsome as it is.


The overall design profile of the Kia Sportage is a little different from others in its segment; a rounded hood and a sloping hatch that is accentuated with a roof spoiler. There are no sharp lines but more of curves and bulges at the right spot; even the rrof racks are arched. One particular design queue is the thicker C-Pillar, deviating from the “floating roofline” trend. The Sportage looks fast just standing still.

The ubiquitous KIA Tiger Nose grille dominates the front, combined with the larger swooping headlights, gives the whole fascia an imposing look. The bigger lower- valance panel suggests more of an air dam instead of an integrated bumper. The chrome trim across it is a nice touch; dividing the driving lights into two rows.

The rear features swooping angled taillights with a garnish that connects both sides. A silver-colored diffuser/scratch plate adds pizzaz by housing twin exhausts. Above it is the relocated back-up lights, now combined with the reflectors. The rear is just as pleasing to look at.


The seats are wider and more contoured for comfort. The upholstery is subdued but elegant; a combination of black fabric and leatherette, accented by silver piping and stitching. The footwell is wider for more legroom. Aluminum Scuff Plates & Pedals don’t hurt.

The dash is driver-centric, as you can see by the way all controls are angled; all within reach. The remote buttons on the steering wheel are more than expected, but provide instant control and access to vital information.

The infotainment system is smaller by today’s standard but offers clear and more importantly, not distracting display. Standard for the GT line are CD, MP3, Aux In & USB Port, iPod-Ready Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as navigation, with output channeled through 6 speakers.


This is where it gets really interesting. The R-2.0L, 16V TCI, (VGT) CRDi Euro 4, mated to a 6-Speed AT is a potent combination. Even without a turbocharger, it’s still powerful at 182hp, with max torque kicking in at an early 1,750 rpm. Even with a full load of five passengers and cargo, the performance of the Sportage is spirited and peppy. Also, the fuel efficiency is commendable; heavy Manila traffic is at a measly 11km/L. The big 19inch tire and classy rim combination also adds luxury to the Sportage.

The Kia Sportage has a lot going for it, design and performance wise. The GT-LINE is the priciest, but there are lower variants that may fit your budget. Either way, you get your money’s worth.

  • Engine: 1,995cc R-2.0L, 16V TCI, (VGT) CRDi Euro 4
  • Transmission: 6-Speed AT with Shiftronic and Shiftlock
  • Max. power 185 ps @ 4,000 rpm.
  • Max. torque 400 Nm @ 1,750~2,750 rpm


  • Front: MacPherson strut + Gas-type Shock Absorber MacPherson strut +High Performance Damper
  • Rear: Multi-link + Gas-type Shock Absorber Multi-link + High
  • Performance Damper
  • Tire Size: 245 / 45 R19
  • Wheelbase: 2,670

Fuel Tank Capacity; 62 liters

Seating Capacity: 5 persons

Dimensions: 4,480 x 1,855 x 1,655 (Including Roof Rack)

Price as tested: PHP1,820,000

Other Variants:

Sportage LX A/T 4×2 Gas: PHP1,290,000

Sportage LX A/T Diesel:PHP1,545,000


  • Airbag
  • Active Headrest
  • Immobilizer
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Keyless Entry with Burglar Alarm
  • Parking Assist System
  • Child Safety Lock
  • Child Anchor (ISOFIX)



  • Door Locks
  • Outside View Mirrors
  • Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Autolight
  • Audio Control
  • Rheostat
  • Trip Computer
  • Eco Mode / Drive Mode
  • Smart Key (push start/stop button)
  • Rain Sensor
  • Power Outlet 12v

Colors Available:

  • Black Cherry
  • Snow White Pearl
  • Fiery Red
  • Mercury Blue
  • Petina Bronze
  • Sparkling Silver
  • Mineral Silver

Warranty 5-Year 160,000km

For more information, visit

Text and images by Earl Manalansan


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here