Do you want one. I want one. There was a shiny new car parked outside the house. Clean as a needle, shout success in a short time. Until it gets as dirty as any car you’ve ever owned.
It’s amazing the logic loop we go through when buying something expensive, whether it’s a new car or the latest phone. Chances are the ones you already have will still do the job well.
However, it’s easy to convince yourself that the alternatives will be better, more reliable, and less expensive in the long run. But will it?
I’ve been thinking about this. Our Kia Sportage is a 2014 car and it replaced our 2013 model solely because I got a good deal, and the 2014 version has a one-off driver’s power window – up and down! Yep, my index finger no longer sits on the switch when I want to close the window. It feels like the future.
Well, even that doesn’t seem like enough of a reason for change, and the whole new-car ordering and parts-swapping process is so tedious that we’ve hung on to that car for nine years now. It comes with a seven-year warranty, didn’t have any real issues until a few months ago, and still looks pretty sleek compared to other family SUVs, if that’s your thing.
However, the latest 2023 Kia Sportage has my attention in a good way. So is it time to make a change, from my £9,000 model to a new £33,000 model? While we’re comparing two Kias here, the lessons learned are similar across all car makes and models.
New car warranties can’t be ignored, especially the seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty that Kia offers. That’s a big guarantee, though it will usually connect you with prime dealer service. Personally, I don’t think it’s a bad thing and have been sticking to the schedule. Still, once the warranty expires and you get annoying vibrations that are hard to track down, it’s easy to conclude that it’s time for a change.
Your best bet, though, is to buy a reliable car in the first place. You’ll likely find that a 6-year-old but super-reliable Lexus is more likely to go wrong than some brand new car.
This is the biggest change. Nine years ago, diesel was king. Diesel engines are considered the work of the devil these days, so even heavy vehicles like the Sportage are powered by gasoline.
The biggest surprise is the new hybrid petrol engine Better in almost every way. Fuel economy for the 2023 Sportage will easily exceed 40mpg, figures I can only dream of in a diesel. Both have automatic transmissions, but even though my car is new, it feels old school compared to the best cars like Audis.
I can only get 28mpg when sprinting in winter. The new Sportage 1.6-litre petrol hybrid is at least 5mpg better. Of course, diesel is much more expensive than gasoline these days.
Both cars have six-speed automatic transmissions, but the Kia Hybrid is capable of a half-mile in electric mode (there’s also a plug-in hybrid model with a claimed 43 miles of electric range).
The latest Sportage has an electronic gear selector – a centrally located rotary control that you turn to select drive, reverse and park.Sounds easy, but it can trip and not always find
A gear that doesn’t have a lot of fiddling.
Once driven, the new hybrid is much better than the diesel. Smooth and quiet, the noise level is greatly reduced, and the performance is on a different level.
There’s no question that the 2014 Sportage’s seats are firm, a problem Kia has addressed in the uglier 2016 model. Still, we’ve gotten used to them, and while I think the new version’s front seats are much better, not everyone agrees.
The biggest disappointment with the new Sportage is its stiff suspension. Where I’m expecting a big step forward, the ride isn’t any better than the old car – and on the exact same size wheels and Continental tyres.
Wisely, Kia has made the new Sportage bigger, but it’s still a manageable four- or five-seater. Boot space is much better on the new model, partly due to the lack of a spare wheel (although there is room for one).
My old Kia here seems prehistoric, with a very simple dashboard, and the simplest navigation system and touchscreen controls. However, it’s remarkably simple to operate, whereas the latest Sportage, like almost all new cars, is far better…and more complicated.
In fairness, you’ll probably get used to it, enjoying the digital radio and fancier sat-nav. But I still don’t understand why I have to physically plug the phone in for Apple CarPlay to work.
So, like it or list it?
The answer is not as clear-cut as I thought it would be. I love the latest Kia Sportage Hybrid. It drives very well and combines performance, economy, and refinement far better than our 2014 car. Styling stands out, too, especially when so many car brands seem to be heading down a scary dead end (hello, BMW).
Still, my old Kia has proven to be a supreme workhorse and is more than capable of holding up, provided I fix the vibration issues. I’ll continue to have it serviced on a regular basis and enjoy more attractive ways to spend my money.
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