The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 60 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS suv under $40,000 kia sportage awd sli suv over $40,000 hyundai santa fe elite THE KIA SPORTAGE is a solid, all-round package that is not only competitively-priced, generously-equipped and extremely competent, but also affordable to own and operate. There's a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, plus capped price servicing for five years and a free 24/7 roadside assistance program. Sportage is comfortable, relatively space efficient and easy to live with. The cabin has an invitingly modern presentation, with all the switches and controls laid out in a logical fashion, while the instrumentation is clear and simple to read. The steering column features reach as well as tilt adjustment and the SLi driver's seat has plenty of adjustment, including lumbar support. The 2.4-litre petrol engine, which produces a handy 130 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 227 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm, is coupled to a smooth-changing, six-speed automatic and delivers good performance. Kia has put in a lot of work into refining the suspension for Australian conditions, and has done a solid job with the ride, while the handling is ideally set up for city and suburban use, which is where most Sportages will spend the majority of their time. Sportage's on-demand AWD system, with a diff-lock, hill- start and hill-descent modes, does a competent job off road, though ground clearance is limited. MLP: $32,990. LAUNCHED IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, the new Santa Fe brought with it sharply-styled bodywork (to match the design language of the rest of the Hyundai range) draped over the Korean company's familiar and excellent 2.2-litre R Series engine. The turbo-diesel pumps out 145 kW of power at 3000 rpm, along with a hearty 436 Nm of torque available from 1800 rpm. It makes acceleration from standstill smooth, effortless and efficient and that muscular torque helps the Santa Fe maintain good progress off road. The powerplant sends its grunt through a six-speed automatic. Combined fuel economy is 7.3 litres/100 km. Standard safety equipment includes rear view camera and rear parking sensors, seven airbags, automatic dusk-sensing headlights and all-wheel-drive. The Elite has all the electronic safety helpers you would expect, plus a couple more. These include ESC, ABS with EBD, traction control and a torque vectoring system which monitors and mechanically controls the torque going to each wheel to improve the vehicle's stability. Safety is five star. There are also airconditioning vents with their own fan speed controls for the third row of seats. That third row is also of the split-fold variety and, importantly, folds flat. The second row can be folded from the rear cargo space with the pull of a lever. MLP: $45,990. SCORES SCORES TOTAL: 954. 2nd: VW Tiguan 103TDI, 942. 3rd: Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2WD, 940. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 4C, Depreciation 5M, Running Costs 9H, Fuel consumption 3C, Warranty 8H, Insurance 8L, Standard features 8M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 8C, Comfort 8H, Space 7M, Practicality 9H, Ergonomics 9H, Build & finish 8H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 7M, Ride 7M, Handling 7H, Braking 7H, Smoothness & quietness 7L, Off-Road Ability 7M. TOTAL: 1084. 2nd: Mazda CX-5 Grand Tourer, 1020. 3rd: Kia Sorento Platinum, 1006. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8H, Depreciation 8M, Running Costs 10H, Fuel consumption 7C, Warranty 9H, Insurance 6L, Standard features 8H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 6C, Comfort 8H, Space 8M, Practicality 9H, Ergonomics 8H, Build & finish 8H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8M, Ride 8M, Handling 7H, Braking 7H, Smoothness & quietness 8M, Off-Road Ability 9M. LEVEL OF WEIGHTING IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L = LOW, M = MEDIUM, H = HIGH, C = CRITICAL.