Kia is the value-for-money leader in a lot of vehicle classes, and while the top-of-the-range Sportage Platinum is the dearest car in this category it’s loaded with features. Certainly the likes of heated and cooled front seats, which are the best front seats in the class, are a pleasant surprise. Of all the South Korean car makers, Kia really has its styling language sorted, making very classy-looking cars. So the combination of good looks, great value and Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty will always have it towards the top of the shopping list for most people looking in this category. Sportage also has one of the best small diesel engines around, and besides performing well it is also fairly fuel-efficient. And this is a diesel which is quiet even when lugging up the steep sections of the 4WD track used for off-road testing during the final judging at Anglesea. Also a sign of the engineering maturity of Kia products is the level of both active and passive safety equipment, which in this Sportage includes autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring. Sportage was only beaten out of top spot by a nose but in the values for money stakes it’s a clear winner.