Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to drive the Hyundai iX35 and Kia Sportage back-to-back. I’ve always wanted to do this, simply so I could pick my favourite between the two.
I’ll start by stating that both are very good options for anyone shopping around in that particular segment. It’s no small wonder the Koreans sell so many. If I were in the market for such a thing, I’d find it very difficult to walk away from either.
Having said that, I’d have a harder time walking away from the Kia. After driving both on the same day, I can comfortably state that it’s my personal pick.
My reason for picking the Sportage over the iX35 has nothing to do with the engine, comfort or handling prowess. The one is as good as the other when it comes to the above and both come with that silky smooth, yet powerful 2,0-litre turbodiesel with 130kw and 380Nm on tap. In manual or automatic, both cars are an absolute joy.
The reason behind my personal choice is more subjective, in other words, I just like the exterior and interior styling of the Kia more.
There’s no denying the fact that the exterior of this car is eye catching. It’s not just one of the best-looking SUVs out there; it’s one of the best-looking cars on the planet. I like those sharp, angular lines at the front, which contrasts nicely with the rounded rear end. In the right colour (I’d have mine in blue) it looks sensational.
The interior is even more stunning. I love the red mood lighting and funky dashboard layout. The controls are all where you’d expect them to be and it’s generally just a lovely place to be. It feels more modern than the iX35, even though they’re basically equipped with the same gadgets.
These two cars are basically the same, but they have two very different personalities. The Sportage is aimed at a younger, funkier crowd, while the Hyundai is aimed at the more discerning member of society. When it comes to elegance, the Hyundai is clearly in the lead, but since I’m still a year away from 30, I prefer the Kia.
It also recently underwent a minor facelift, but not much has been changed. The driving experience is still very good on a daily basis and can handle the average dirt road without much hassle.
It’s a great car, made even better by the recent upgrades. If you’re shopping around in the segment, it should definitely be near the top of your list.