Kia Sportage SUV

Price  £17,500 - £29,505

Kia Sportage SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

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

At a glance

The greenest
1.7 CRDi 1 2WD 5dr £19,100
The cheapest
1.6 GDi 1 2WD 5dr £17,500
The fastest
2.0 CRDi KX-4 (181HP) AWD Auto 5dr £29,505
Top of the range
2.0 CRDi KX-4 (181HP) AWD Auto 5dr £29,505

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

The Kia Sportage is the SUV that thinks it's a hatchback. That means you get rugged good looks and a high driving position in a package that's no bigger or more costly to run than a regular family hatchback.

The Sportage excels in so many pragmatic areas: fixed-price service plans keep the cost of maintenance down and Kia's seven-year/100,000-mile warranty provides the ultimate peace of mind. But that's not to say that it doesn't offer wider appeal. The Sportage is handsome to look at and comes loaded with standard equipment. There's an easy logic to the trim levels, too – they're simply named 1, 2, 3 and 4, with the KX prefix designating four-wheel-drive models.

The entry-level model is offered with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and two diesel engines are also available: a 1.7-litre powers the front-wheel-drive models and a 2.0-litre powers the four-wheel-drive cars. Running costs for both diesels are reasonably good, yet it's worth remembering that newer models such as the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5 are even cheaper to run, if not necessarily cheaper to buy. But if you fancy a Sportage, we'd recommend the smaller 1.7-litre diesel engine.

Not only is the Kia crammed with equipment such as alloy wheels, air-conditioning and LED daytime running lights, but every car also gets rain-sensing wipers as well as USB and a Bluetooth connection for MP3 players and mobile phones. Step up from the basic 1 specification to the 2 and you'll benefit from rear parking sensors and half-leather seats. Top-spec 4 models arguably rival cars costing twice as much – they get bright xenon headlights, sat nav, heated seats and a panoramic sunroof all as standard.

Yet it's not just gadgets and technology that the boost the Sportage's appeal – safety is top-notch, too. A five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating is just the start – all cars come with a full set of airbags, electronic stability control (ESP), anti-lock brakes (ABS), ISOFIX child-seat mounts and anti-whiplash headrests. All this means that the Kia Sportage is not just safe in principle, but in practice, too.

Although the Qashqai is our favourite car of this type, it's also worth considering models like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf or Honda Civic if you are happy to do without the Sportage's high seating position and mild off-road ability.

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 /5 based on 126 reviews
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
24 Sep 2014

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