BACK in the day, England only had one storm you could name once on the blue moon.
But in the last few years, the weather seems to have gone against the Bible.
Every other week we experience 120 mph winds, a month of rain in a day, or snow drift south of the Watford Gap.
I’m sure when Kia took me to Norway to drive the new Sportage plug-in hybrid (PHEV), they thought I’d talk about its electric range.
Impressive as it is 43 miles away.
But what I really like about this car is that it now has a Terrain Mode for driving in mud, floods, and blizzards.
Following the weather these days is one of its greatest assets.
An evil family car
It only took a five-minute drive in Oslo to realize how bad we were when it snowed in the UK.
A little icing on our way and everything will stop.
But for locals in Oslo, driving on ice is as natural as breathing.
I stopped at a supermarket and this old Volvo sped past, in one continuous glide, straight into a parking spot. I thought, “Wow, there’s a driver” – just for a 60-year-old woman to step out and toddle into the store.
Obviously tires are very important. That’s why I tell everyone who will listen that we should introduce all-season tires in England. Like Michelin’s CrossClimate.
They provide better grip in cold and rainy weather below 7 degrees Celsius, as well as on ice and snow. Mount this Sportage 4WD in Snow Mode and you’ve got extra insurance for your overtime car’s brain to keep you shiny.
It makes you feel comfortable on the ice rink roads very quickly. Like a Norwegian.
Just like a Norwegian, you will try to stop the world from melting.
Norway is the tram capital of Europe. There are Teslas and electric Audis and Porsches everywhere.
The Sportage PHEV will do most of the day-to-day tasks on battery power alone, but still has the versatility in the long run that most electric vehicles don’t.
Now for a bit that Kia expects me to write.
PHEVs are great for corporate car taxes and emissions. But for everyone else, it’s expensive compared to a regular Sportage without a plug.
That said, there’s a lot to like about this car.
It starts in EV mode. The interaction between electric power and motor is very smooth and tight. They are like best friends. And it went well too.
The extra weight of the battery pack helps accommodate the body roll. Steering is light. Easy progress. You will do north of 50mpg.
I should add that it takes two hours to charge the 13.8kWh battery pack.
Now let’s explore around inside. So beautiful. Very much like Merc with that wide curved screen. Very good thought out.
There are buttons to warm the back and little fingers, large cup holders, wireless phone charging and all the latest driving aids.
We also like the separate touch panel that alternates between stereo and air conditioning with the push of a button.
Luggage space is smaller than a regular Sportage at 540 liters but that’s still adequate for a family SUV.
To sum up, then. The Sportage is an evil family car that has just been vastly improved.
Partly because of the electric motor but mostly because it’s weatherproof.
KIA Sportage plug-in hybrid
Engine: 1.6 liter turbocharged petrol with electronic engine
Power: 265hp, 230Nm
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Max speed: 119mph
So economic: 50mpg
EV range: 43 miles
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8412151/kia-sportage-plugin-hybrid/ British biblical storms are no worries for Kia’s Sportage plug-in hybrid