Sportage-2WD-front side view

After brochures surfaced on the Internet earlier today, Naza Kia has finally announced the availability of the Kia Sportage 2WD. This cheaper base variant of the once-popular C-segment crossover comes in presumably in an attempt to nip the success of the burgeoning B-segment – which includes the popular Honda HR-V – right in the bud.

Its arsenal starts with a very attractive price – RM118,888 on-the-road inclusive of insurance, GST and a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. This undercuts the current AWD Sportage (facelift launched early last year) by nearly RM19,000, and is within RM1,000 of the best-selling, range-topping HR-V 1.8 V. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, what do you lose by putting close to RM20k back into your pocket? Doesn’t seem like much, actually, at least on the outside. The projector headlights still feature LEDs, but they’re positioning lights rather than the brighter daytime running lights on the AWD (although this writer feels they’re actually better looking, as they form a seamless light guide rather than the DRLs’ individual diodes).

Sportage-2WD-rear side view

Elsewhere, the alloy wheels (in a Y-spoke design) are an inch smaller – measuring 17 inches – while the tail lights are now of a bulb type rather than LEDs. There’s less kit inside, too; the driver’s seat loses electric adjustment, dual-zone automatic climate control has been swapped for simple manual air-conditioning, and leather upholstery has given way to good ol’ fabric.

We’re not finished yet – there’s no Bluetooth, sunroof, keyless entry, push-button start or the rather gimmicky Flex Steer variable steering weighting system, either, and the Supervision 4.2-inch colour TFT LCD multi-info display has been ditched for a monochrome dot matrix screen.

However, you still get automatic headlights, power-folding side mirrors, a 4.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with reverse camera, an Infinity seven-speaker sound system, a cooled glovebox and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Most importantly – and unlike the similarly basic Cerato KX – you still get six airbags, stability control, hill start assist and Downhill Brake Control (DBC).

PMA-SPORTAGE-2WD

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Whether you choose two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, power comes from a 2.0 litre Nu MPI four-cylinder petrol engine developing 154 PS at 6,200 rpm and 191 Nm at 4,700 rpm, sent through a six-speed automatic transmission. Although putting out the same amount of power, the 2WD’s lower weight should enable it to edge out the AWD model in terms of performance and fuel economy.

As for colours, the Sportage 2WD is only available in Clear White, Bright Silver and Mineral Silver. What do you think, guys – this or the HR-V?


Kia Sportage AWD facelift