The Kia Sportage continues to impress, but how does it compare to its closest rivals?
Smitten by its imposing grill and large sweptback headlamps complete with LED daytime running lights, my head has refused to be turned.
However, good looks are not enough to justify its place on fleets up and down the country.
Instead, the devil is in the detail and CO2 emissions, P11D value, its BIK tax bracket, running costs and fuel economy are all crucial comparisons for a forward-thinking fleet manager.
Kia boasts a 16-model line-up to choose from for the Sportage, with two and four-wheel drive variants powered by 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines and 1.7-litre and 2.0-litre diesel units.
Our test version is the 1.7 CRDi Sportage 2 2WD with a P11D price of £20,425. That represents excellent value for money coming as it does with a long list of standard equipment, as well as the manufacturer’s trademark seven-year warranty.
But what about its rivals, including: the popular Nissan Qashqai; the Hyundai ix35; and the Peugeot 3008?
Taking their respective P11D values, it is the Hyundai ix35 1.7 CRDi Premium which comes out on top with a P11D value of £19,280, compared to £19,525 for the Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta and £20,990 for the Peugeot 3008 1.6 HDi.
CO2 emissions are between 135g/km and 139g/km, putting all four models in the 20% BiK tax band.
As a result an employee paying 20% tax will expect to pay £771 for the ix35, £781 for the Qashqai, £817 for the Sportage and £840 for the 3008 during the current tax year (2011/12).
But what costs would an employer expect to pay and how do those all-important running costs compare?
Class 1A NIC is £532 for the ix35 and £539 for the Qashqai, which is slightly better than £564 for the Sportage and £579 for the 3008.
But when considering running costs, it is the Qashqai at 35.05p per mile which comes out on top. Its pence per mile rate consists of depreciation at 20.58p per mile, SMR costs of 2.83p per mile and fuel at 11.64p per mile.
Next is the ix35 at 35.24p per mile. Its pence per mile rate consists of depreciation at 18.26p per mile, SMR costs of 4p per mile and fuel at 12.98p per mile.
The Sportage is third with running costs of 37.44p per mile, consisting of depreciation at 21.92p per mile, SMR costs of 3.88p per mile and fuel at 11.64p per mile.
But in last place at 38.44p per mile is the 3008. Its pence per mile rate consists of depreciation at 24.15p per mile, SMR costs of 2.92p per mile and fuel at 11.37p per mile.
Food for thought, but I predict that with its eye-catching appearance, good performance and all-round practicality the Sportage will continue to be a popular choice with fleets.
- All cost comparisons are taken from the Fleet News Car Tax Calculator and are based on a 3yr/60,000-mile cycle.