No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – and we didn’t make a typo either. We checked. Twice.
Fact: The 185bhp, 2-litre turbo-diesel that powers this Sportage makes it the most powerful variant on sale in 2013 (versus the petrol-powered version’s 166bhp). The new engine also brings with it a four-wheel drive system that isn’t offered with the petrol version, the latter being front-wheel drive.
The added power, and the traction of an all-wheel drive architecture, also makes it the fastest-accelerating Sportage here. It dispatches the century sprint in 9.9 seconds, versus the petrol’s 10.6 seconds.
This 0.7 of a second may not seem like the diesel is that much quicker, but its beefy 392Nm of torque from 1500rpm helps it score big over the petrol. In the latter’s case, the comparatively thin peak torque of 197Nm comes in at 4600rpm.
From a standstill, and in the mid-range, that rich vein of torque helps the Sportage positively leap forward, which puts paid to the stereotype that diesel engines are slow and pokey. This grunt makes the diesel Sportage quite a weapon for “point-and-shoot” driving (such as exploiting small gaps) in city traffic.
Sadly, that urgency doesn’t last too long, petering off quite dramatically after 2500rpm. As one approaches its redline of 5000rpm (quite rapidly, if we may add), the motor feels increasingly strangled.
Despite all this added speed, the diesel Sportage is friendlier to the wallet at the pumps. You get 13.8km/L over the petrol Sportage’s 11.5km/L.
And now, for the bad news – the pumps are about the only place it’ll be friendlier to your wallet. The car is $10,000 more expensive than the petrol version’s price of $129,999 with COE. And if you were wondering what sort of fat CEVS rebate you’ll be getting with it, there won’t be any, because this Kia emits 189g/km of CO2, which is on the high side for a diesel.
At least it comes with a few more items of interest over the petrol variant. Bum coolers for the driver’s seat are standard, though oddly enough, seat warmers have been specified for both driver and front passenger. A reverse camera integrated into the rear view mirror is also typical fare for the diesel Sportage.
The diesel Sportage has better kit, greatly improved performance and (slightly) better fuel economy. But whether these are enough to warrant the higher buy-in and annual road tax ($1210 versus $2006) is a little harder to gauge, especially given the current climate of high COE premiums and prohibitive legislation on new car loans.
This story was first published in the June 2013 issue of Torque.
2013 Kia Sportage 2.0D (A)
ENGINE 1995cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 184hp at 4000rpm
MAX TORQUE 392Nm 1800-2500rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 9.9 seconds
TOP SPEED 195km/h
CONSUMPTION 13.8km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 189g/km