Despite the protests we hear some punters are waiting up to nine months to take delivery of Kia's new diesel Sportage.
Launched in August last year, it says something about the regard this vehicle and the brand are now held. We were fortunate to get our hands on a diesel before the big 'dry' which we have been driving for the past three months. Unfortunately, it's almost time for our Sportage to go back.
In this time, we've covered just over 7,000km and I've got to say, if I retired tommorrow, I could quite happily live with one of these cars on a full time basis.
The compact all roader ticks all the boxes, with its dramatic styling, all-wheel drive, a powerful but economical diesel engine and a slick six-speed automatic, together with a five-star safety rating and long list of standard equipment.
Priced from $39,490 plus on-roads, it's a lot of car for the money.
It's easy to understand why the demand for the diesel Sportage is so great.
In combination with the six-speed auto, the diesel engine offers an almost perfect combination of economy and performance, in a package that is super smooth to drive. It will change the way you think about diesels forever.
Over the course of the last three months, the Sportage hasn't missed a beat.
The fit and finish is first rate and the ride quality is superb thanks to the time and effort that Kia has put into local tuning for Australian conditions. Close your eyes and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were driving a BMW ... it's that good.
With fuel economy rated at 7.5 litres/100km, we have been regularly seeing between 7.1 and 9.8 litres/100km, although the latter figure seems to have been a one-off. Our overall the average consumption has been 8.2 litres/100km.
With a smallish 55-litre tank, the Sportage has a theretical range of 743km. The most we got was 646km, which is not that different to many petrol vehicles these days. In this regard, a slightly large tank would be handy.
The 2.0-litre turbo diesel is smaller version of the 2.2-litre unit in the larger Sorento. It packs a wallop with 135kW of power and, more importantly, 392Nm of torque from a low 1800 revs. Weighing in at 1705kg the all-wheel drive diesel model can tow a 1600kg load. The diesel is hooked up to a six-speed automatic that's tailor-made for the job and that allows you to change gears manually if desired.
With seating for five people, it's quiet and comfortable inside, with a height and reach adjustbale steering wheel and a driver's seat that has eight way power adjustment, that can be either heated or cooled. Leather upholstery and dual zone climate control are standard in this model, along with a LCD reversing camera and six-stack CD changer and high end sound system with separate subwoofer, as well as two power outlets in the centre console with AUX and USB inputs.
Standard equipment includes six airbags, rollover sensor, hill start assist, electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, active front headrests and 18-inch alloys, with a full size spare.
What's not to like?