Review: 2013 Kia Sportage SLi Series 2

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews

The 2013 Kia Sportage SLi Series 2 has been named the Australia’s Best SUV under $40,000, and brings over 20 new features compared to the previous Series 1 model. This makes this one SUV that gives us a lot of high hopes.

To power the All-Wheel-Drive Sportage SLi, you have the choice of two engines. There is a 2.0-litre Petrol producing 122kW of power and 197Nm of torque, and a 2.0-litre Diesel with an output of 135kW of power and 392Nm or torque.  So, in reality, this means there’s a little bit of power there to do almost everything you would be wanting to do in a SUV like this. 

As part of the growing trend, you’ll find safety playing a big role in the design and standard list of features. This includes 6 airbags with a rollover sensor, a Electro-Chromic rear-view mirror which automatically dims at night to stop glare from headlights. 

Built in is also the rear-view camera, which assists when reversing. A few handy safety features include Downhill Brake Control, Hill-start Assist Control and Active headrests that spring up to minimise head travel from a rear-end collision. Awesome idea and no doubt helped it achieve its 5 Star ANCAP rating. 

Extending the feature list of the Kia Sportage SLi is the warranty. There’s an unlimited kilometer 5 Year Warranty as well as Capped Price Servicing to make the ownership experience as easy as possible. So let’s see what Australia’s Best SUV under $40,000 is really like on the road.

Initial Impression

The Kia Sportage SLi does a great job in looking like an SUV, which should be priced more than it should. Now former Kia Designer, Massimo Frascella designed the Kia Sportage and comes from a history of designing for Ford, Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Audi. With that in mind, you can start seeing the inspiration for the design. 

For the Series 2 of the Kia Sportage, the SUV is also built at Kia’s Zilina production plant in Slovakia. The same plant that builds the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT. This means, that you get the great benefit of European design and production quality on the inside and out, but all of the benefits engineering and value adding features from a modern Korean car. 

The stitch pattern in the seats made for some eye-catching moments from all passengers that we had in the vehicle, and when settling in for the first time, you’ll feel how comfortable these seats are.

Optioned in our test vehicle is the $1500 navigation system, which turns out to be a pretty smart system. Packing a high-res screen from LG and the SUNA traffic service, the system can help you avoid traffic jams, road works and even accidents. A great feature that Mercedes-Benz uses that helps you get the kids to the performance night on time during that peak-hour rush. 

We were keen to get driving, so we departed Motorama Kia Moorooka with ourselves behind the wheel, phones connected via Bluetooth and navigation at our finger tips.

Target Market

It’s easy to tell that the compact SUV market has not only become appealing for young families, but it also holds a lot of attraction for anyone who wants a feature packed vehicle that will get them through most road situations. With the AWD system, you can take on basic off-road duties when camping to get everyone down to the beach or when the time calls, you can tow up to 1600kg with the optional towing package. 

As expectations grow for higher quality materials in this segment, Kia’s use of materials throughout are thoughtfully done. That is, they’re great for all of the places you’ll be touching on a frequent basis. The leathers and plastics are soft and have that premium feel. Start touching outside of those areas and you’ll find hard plastics, but most won’t find that a problem. 

For small families, the inclusion of the reversing camera is great for watching out for little ones wandering behind the car. Especially when the rear isn’t perfect for visibility. The inclusion of parking sensors for the Si and SLi would have been an added bonus to make parking easier than it already is.


Thanks to being a compact SUV, not only do you have the benefits of having vehicle that can navigate car parks easily, but you also do have the added cabin space. 

A tough test for vehicles this size usually is fitting four decently sized adults in. We were pleasantly surprised to have no troubles in having everybody in the Sportage without a hassle and with plenty of room and comfort. One comment from a passenger was regarding how comfortable to the seats were. We must agree, they were great.

Boot space in combination with the fold down seats would allow most adventurers to pack their car full of gear or boxes for the big move. In the Platinum, you also have the bonus of keyless locking and ignition which makes the whole experience even better.


What’s important to us is ensuring that we, as the driver, are comfortable and able to do everything we need to do as easily as possible. 

The steering wheel is great in size and the leather used makes the feel to the hand perfect. When you add easy to reach buttons and controls for audio, cruise control and other essentials, the seating position is great. 

The AWD systems for regular situations won’t make much of an impact, however as soon as you start taking it out of its comfort zone you’ll find that the clever chassis does a great job. It will automatically engage all wheels when it senses that the road conditions call for it. This is great, as most drivers won’t know when the best time to activate the AWD system will be. 

A feature much welcomed in the Kia Sportage, is the organ-type accelerator pedal. It allows you to rest your entire foot on the pedal and it moves in the same trajectory as your ankle. This means you experience less fatigue and a much more comfortable experience when driving. 

The automatic gearbox found itself in the right gear almost all of the time to get the most out of the engine whilst being conscious about fuel economy. This helped us achieve a reasonable 8.9litres per 100km during our test, which had a combination of highway and city driving.


One of the biggest attractions to the Kia Sportage is the competitive price. The SLi we reviewed will set you back between $33,000 and $35,000, which compared to some of the other competition is a compelling deal.  

Combined with the already mentioned unlimited kilometer 5 Year Warranty, Capped Price Servicing and the knowledge that it is the current best SUV under $40,000, we’re hard pressed to give you a reason not to like it.


Kia has come a very long way since launching in Australia originally, and that has meant that we now have vehicles at awesome price points with quality finishes much better than you’d expect.

We didn’t really want to hand the Sportage SLi back to the dealership because of how capable it was and the enjoyment we had whilst in our possession. It’s great for young families wanting a car flexible in its duties and providing a great level of safety for everyone.

With two great Motorama Kia locations including Moorooka and Browns Plains there’s no excuse for not being able to experience the Kia Sportage SLi for yourself.

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