Review

Kia Sportage SUV

Price  £17,465 - £29,510

Kia Sportage SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Spacious interior
  • Seven-year warranty
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • Some cheap-feeling trim
  • Lifeless steering
  • Bouncy ride

At a glance

The greenest
1.7 CRDi 3 2WD 5dr £23,085
The cheapest
1.6 GDi 1 2WD 5dr £17,465
The fastest
2.0 CRDi KX-4 (181HP) AWD Auto 5dr £29,510
Top of the range
2.0 CRDi KX-4 (181HP) AWD Auto 5dr £29,510

"The Kia Sportage is a good value, practical and smart competitor in the crossover class."

The Kia Sportage is a good-looking compact SUV available with a choice of punchy yet economical engines and the reassurance of a long seven-year warranty. It's popular on the used-car market, so doesn't depreciate badly, meaning you'll get more of your money back when you sell it. It also comes with Kia's Care-3 or Care-3 Plus fixed-price servicing packages.

Rivals include the newer, stylish and more popular Nissan Qashqai, as well as the efficient and fun-to-drive Mazda CX-5. If you prefer the superior ride and handling characteristics of a conventional hatchback, your options include that excellent all-rounder the Ford Focus and the classy, smooth-riding Volkswagen Golf. These are very different cars, though, lacking the high-ride height and great all-round visibility of a compact SUV such as the Sportage.

There's a choice of three engines: a 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.7-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre diesel. The 1.7-litre diesel offers the best blend of performance and economy, although the petrol is impressively efficient, too. The 2.0-litre diesel is reserved for all-wheel-drive versions of the Sportage and comes in two different power outputs. It's the only engine offered with an automatic gearbox, so if you must have an auto, it'll be at the expense of the 1.7-litre diesel's superior fuel economy.

Regardless of engine, the Sportage is a comfortable car with a soft ride that means it leans in corners and can bounce a little on poor roads. If you want a sportier yet still comfortable drive, you'll be better off with a Mazda CX-5. The petrol engine is a little underpowered, while the 1.7-litre diesel is a relaxed cruiser and offers good overtaking performance.

Trim levels couldn't be simpler. There are four of them and – true to Kia's common-sense appeal – they're simply called 1, 2, 3 and 4. Plentiful equipment forms a big part of the Sportage's appeal. Even the basic 1 trim has alloy wheels, body-coloured handles and mirrors, Bluetooth phone connectivity, rain-sensing wipers, a fully adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat, cruise control and air-conditioning.

You only have to go to trim level 2 for an electrically powered panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, reversing sensors, part-leather seats and dual-zone automatic air-conditioning. Trim 3 brings bright zenon headlights and black leather seats, and top-spec 4, LED rear tail-lights, smart entry, satellite navigation and a powered driver's seat.

Generously equipped but also safe, the Sportage received the maximum five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP, plus it has a good roster of safety equipment, including a full set of airbags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. It's not perfect reliability-wise, but owners seem to be generally happy and in any case, the model comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is more than can be said for any of its rivals.

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best SUV by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

Fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t a match for rivals, but the Kia Sportage’s servicing costs will be low

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

The Kia Sportage’s road manners are a big improvement over Kias of old, but it still trails rivals for driving satisfaction

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

The Kia Sportage boasts an interior that’s quiet and well built, if not as stylish as the best that rivals can offer

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

The Kia Sportage has a large boot and the interior is spacious, but its rear window is small, making park sensors a must

Reliability & safety

4.4 / 5

An excellent seven-year warranty shows Kia has a lot of faith in the Sportage’s reliability. The car has a very good safety rating, too

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"If you opt for the front-wheel drive entry-level diesel model, you’ll benefit from low emissions and more the 54mpg fuel economy, which although isn’t as impressive as the faster Mazda CX-5, it's worlds ahead of the Land Rover Freelander."
3 / 5
"The Sportage isn’t as classy as a Nissan Qashqai or VW Tiguan because some of the cabin plastics are comparatively lightweight, and the switches don’t move with the same precision."
3.5 / 5
"The Sportage is Kia's best-selling model in the UK and keen to keep it that way, Kia has tweaked the design and fine-tuned equipment lists for 2014 to help keep the model in-line with the competition."
6 / 10
“Kia's funky crossover is good-looking, but a bit disappointing to drive.”
What owners say 
4.0015625
4 /5 based on 128 reviews
61%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
1 Jul 2015
Own this car? Leave your review.