Kia Sportage GT Line delivers a new state of sportiness

Kia Sportage GT Line delivers a new state of sportiness

Kia’s compact crossover probably has one of the most enviable names in my opinion. The way Sportage rolls off the tongue is like nothing else out there. It sounds overly outlandish for a badge but what it stands for is pretty straightforward, "sporty age" or simply put, a state of sportiness.

Kia Sportage GT Line side 850 x 420

I’ve heard amazing things about its performance so I arranged for a review of what should be Kia’s top-drawer for this segment, the GT-Line AT 4x2, and let me tell you, it truly lived up to its name.


A 2016 Red Dot Award for Car Design winner, the Sportage combines elements from the Macan and Cayenne, and to know why, all you have to do is find out who’s at the helm of the company. One of Kia’s three presidents is Peter Schreyer, who just so happens to be a former Audi designer (Porsche and Audi are under one umbrella company, the Volkswagen Group).

Kia Sportage GT rear quarter 850 x 420

Flat surfaces, corners, and edges were swapped out for a shapelier surface exemplified by elevated strakes on the hood that lead to those gorgeous LED auto-levelling headlights (with LED position lamps).

While I do miss the sleeker body of its predecessor, I highly favor this sexier, albeit plump, shape it sports. Maybe it’s a guy thing but I have a huge appreciation for its curves, especially the ones in the right places, and the Sportage has quite a few good angles.

The best view would be from the rear quarter panel, which captures just the right look of its profile starting from the incline of the windshield to the sloping roof and how it trails to a stop right where it connects to the extra wide spoiler.

The side glass is framed very nicely in chrome and is a good break from the "Mercury Blue" body color, and even matches the shine of the front bumper trims, roof rails, the rocker panel trim, plus the front and rear lower panels.

There a gentle arc where the character line should be which produces a playful reflection of light when it bounces of the vehicle’s doors. It’s a subtle feature that ups the Sportage’s level of élan by a few notches.


Except for the chrome accents, the interior is mainly black yet offers a variety of textures between the dashboard, seats, panels, and the center stack that takes away the monotony while enhancing the cabin experience.

Kia Sportage GT cockpit 850 x 420

Immediately noticeable yet discreetly positioned is the GT-Line badge at the foot of the flat-bottom, leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel. I love its size too — not too big, not too small. Just the right size, which makes it great to handle.

The layout is excellent as well. The wide eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, which also doubles as reverse monitor, is angled to shield from the sun's glare while also being at an optimal position of the driver’s peripheral. Buttons and switches use white alphanumeric markings that stand out beautifully against the glossy background so they can be easily seen.

Kia Sportage GT gear shift 850 x 420

Approach the vehicle and the inner part of the handle lights up to make the button to lock and unlock the unit more visible.

A built-in air ionizer marked by the words "Clean Air" negatively charges ions as air passes through the system. This process removes pollen and other allergens, including odors, in the air. It comes with dual-zone air-conditioning and second-row vents.

Kia Sportage GT USB 850 x 420

The pedals with a metallic finish and black non-slip pads keep up with its GT heritage and complete the look, but if I were to be picky, it needs a few more of are USB ports as there’s only one on the holder along the center stack.


A start/stop button engages the 2.0-liter diesel engine that has a Bosch third-generation common rail direct injection and variable geometry turbocharger. Its 182hp and very healthy 400Nm of torque makes the 2.17-ton body feel very agile. I only needed to gently nudge the throttle and the torque does the rest.

To reduce vibration and noise, this engine uses a lower balancer shaft encased in a stiffened ladder frame housing to increase rigidity, and for weight, a reduction serpentine belt with isolation pulley, a plastic head cover, plastic intake manifold, and oil filter housing.

The automatic transmission — with manual mode via the paddle shifters (behind the steering wheel) — is quick and smooth, and does a great job of making the unit feel very light and nimble through all of its eight gears.

A close-coupled diesel particulate filter and an exhaust gas recirculation with by-pass valve helps reduce emissions to make it Euro 5 compliant.

Ride and handling

Ride comfort is without reproach. Even with the 19s, I barely noticed how bad streets in the metro actually are, especially parts of Elliptical Road. Its level of noise, vibration and harshness is extremely low.

Kia Sportage GT rear seats 850 x 420

Rear multilinks and the front McPherson strut & stabilizer suspension gives it a proper crossover personality — sedan-like with a decent ground clearance.

It holds its poise very well around corners for a relatively tall vehicle even when I took it at speed.

Drive modes are Eco, Normal, and Sport but with the way its tuned, you’ll hardly ever have to leave Eco because aside from being fuel-efficient, it’s actually too powerful for the city, and a superb performer on the expressway.

Average consumption in pure city driving is 8.7 kilometers per liter.


It’s expensive for a crossover at P1.820 million, but it certainly packs more power than its Japanese counterparts. While its Korean competitor mimics its power, it’s not even close to being as refined and well-appointed.

There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a host of proximity sensors, a full complement of airbags (front, side and curtain), plus hill-start assist and downhill brake control.

The Euro styling will certainly make it stand out in the metro that’s overcrowded with SUVs and crossovers, and its performance underscored by finesse and power makes the drive exciting and fun.

Ready or not, Kia ushers in the “new age of sportiness” with the Sportage GT-Line AT 4x2.

Photos by Eric Tipan

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