I had been feeling mildly useless as six inches of snow tumbled down while a thoroughly practical 4x4 sat idle on the driveway.

I was happy to heed the advice to stay off the roads unless travel was vital, but surely the vehicle could be of help to someone in such treacherous conditions – then the call came.

My niece was stranded and needed a lift to her home in snow-covered West Oxfordshire. She had been safely delivered to work before dawn courtesy of a Land Rover, but it had developed a fault and was briefly off the road.

The Sportage had its chance to shine and it made a rather polished job of travelling in potentially perilous conditions.

Anyone expecting an exhilarating ride of nerve-wracking skids, slides and squealing brakes would have been disappointed, as the 182 horsepower diesel-powered Sportage trod calmly homewards through the snow and ice, passing a number of abandoned mangled vehicles, clearly displaying the wounds of earlier mishaps.

The Sportage has been around for more than a quarter of a century and is Kia's best-selling model in the UK, with 21 versions of the more distinctively styled, sleeker Slovakian-built car available, based on five engines, three gearboxes and six trim lines.

The five-seater is spacious, comfortable, well-built and properly well equipped. You can get behind the wheel of a Sportage for just over £19,000, or you can spend more and move into the realm of serious luxury, like the sporty specification GT-Line S model driven here.

Winter comforts alone on the leather-trimmed test model included heated front and outer rear seats, a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, front wiper de-icer and LED ‘ice cube’ front fog lights. Not to mention adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats and a powered tailgate.

The dashboard is dominated by an eight-inch touchscreen controlling satellite navigation, an eight-speaker JBL sound system and the helicopter-style, 360-degree view monitor that makes parking in tight spots a doddle.

The instrument cluster has been revised and there are all the tweaks you expect from a modern car with 12v power sockets and USB ports front and rear and a wireless mobile phone charger.

All models have a reversing camera built into the touchscreen and all models from grade ‘2’ have a lane keep assist system, high beam assist to switch between full and dipped beam automatically and a speed limit information display in the instrument cluster.

The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine on the test car has been mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and a ‘mild-hybrid’ 48-volt lithium-ion battery, mounted under the floor of the sizeable boot, that gives a boost to the engine under acceleration, and recovers energy when braking, or coasting towards a junction or downhill, to deliver a claimed four per cent increase in fuel efficiency.

The diesel mild-hybrid powertrain is the first of Kia’s electrification strategy, making it the first manufacturer to offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and 48-volt mild-hybrid technology across its model line-up.

It plans to launch 16 advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five battery-electric vehicles and, in 2020, a new fuel-cell electric vehicle.

Auto facts

Model: Kia Sportage GT-Line S 2.0 CRDi

Price: £34,545

Insurance group: 25 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 48.7mpg

Top speed: 125mph

Length: 448.5cm/176.1in

Width: 185.5cm/72.8in

Luggage capacity: 17.3 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12.1 gallons/55 litres

CO2 emissions: 152 g/km

Warranty: Seven years/ 100,000 miles