Kia Sportage SUV
Price £17,500 - £29,505
- Great value for money
- Spacious interior
- Seven-year warranty
- Some cheap-feeling trim
- Lifeless steering
- Bouncy ride
At a glance
"The Kia Sportage is a good value, practical and smart competitor in the crossover market."
The Kia Sportage is a good-looking SUV that was built to take on the Nissan Qashqai, Honda CRV and the Hyundai ix35. It's arguably better looking than all of them, but the arrival of the new Qashqai meant the Sportage now features a number of revisions including bright LED elements in the front and rear lights, a revised grille, new wheels, and some subtle mechanical tweaks.
The Kia Sportage comes with a variety of engines including a 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.7-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre diesel. While the first two are front-wheel drive, the latter is the only model to feature four-wheel-drive, giving the Sportage reasonable off-road ability. Fitted with two-wheel drive the Sportage has less grip on slippery roads, but can achieve better economy figures.
No matter which model you choose, the Kia comes with an impressive range of standard equipment and all model feature air-conditioning and cruise control. Like all Kias, the Sportage also comes with an excellent seven-year/100,000 mile warranty; one of the most generous schemes offered by a car manufacturer.
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MPG, running costs & CO2
Economy and emissions aren’t a match for rivals, but servicing costs will be low
The Kia Sportage may have received some updates, but engines remain the same. As a result, it's the 1.7-litre diesel that is the one to go for if you’re looking to save money on fuel bills. It can return 54.3mpg and records CO2 emissions of 135g/km, meaning a £125 a year road tax bill. Even so, this model falls behind the most frugal new Nissan Qashqai, which can return more than 74mpg and emit such a small amount of CO2 that mean it qualifies for free road tax.
Go for the top-of-the-range diesel, with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, and economy drops just below 40mpg, while high emissions of 189g/km mean you’ll fork out £265 for road tax every year. It's the petrol engine that makes the least sense, though, because they struggle to get more than 40mpg and feels slow making it hard to recommend, despite its lower purchase cost.
Interior & comfort
Soft suspension is comfortable but leads to a bouncy ride
For the 2014 Kia Sportage the company has worked to increase mechanical refinement. The car's engines are quiet and the Sportage also gets a thicker windscreen that does a better job of keeping wind noise at bay. However, it is still not as refined as cars such as the Skoda Yeti, although its suspension does a good job of coping with bumpy roads.
The interior is constructed using good quality plastics, improving the environment for driver and passengers. A 4.3-inch colour screen that displays information such as miles per gallon is also fitted. The car's steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach, while the driver's seat is height adjustable so getting comfortable behind the wheel should be a given.
Practicality & boot space
Boot size is excellent and the interior is spacious
Thanks to a tall body, the Kia Sportage has plenty of room in the back for three tall adults. The floor is almost completely flat, so even the middle passenger has somewhere to put their feet. There's plenty of room for the driver and front seat passenger too, and there's an armrest in between the two front seats.
That armrest hides a useful central cubbyhole. There are also large door bins and a decent sized glovebox which are both big enough for a big bottle of water. Those bottles can stay cool too, thanks to a vent plumbed into the car's air-conditioning.
Loading items into the 564-litre boot is easy because there's no lip to lift things over. Dropping the 60:40 split-folding rear seats increases capacity to 1,353 litres, although the seats don’t fold completely flat. The boot also has a false floor, which is useful for storing valuables, or rarely used items, out of sight.
Reliability & safety
Excellent warranty guarantees the Sportage’s reliability for seven years
Our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey saw the Kia Sportage drop 23 places to 72nd out of 150 cars. Despite this drop, the Kia still scored well in areas such as reliability and practicality, but it was marked down for poor performance and not being a lot of fun to drive.
Good news comes in the form of the manufacturers’ side of the survey where Kia came seventh out of 33 firms. And, if that isn’t enough to reassure you, don’t forget that all Kias come with a seven-year/100,000 mile warranty that covers the replacement or repair of many of the car's parts.
Safety is another strong point for the Sportage and the Kia got a five-star rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. All models get a healthy list of safety features, which includes front, side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill-hold assist, and anti-whiplash headrests.
Engines, drive & performance
On-road ability marks a big improvement over Kias of old, but trails rivals
Considering the Sportage is a big SUV, it is enjoyable to drive, even if it isn’t as agile as the more car-like Skoda Yeti. Like most of its rivals, it suffer from its fair share of body lean in the corners. We found the Kia perfectly acceptable to drive in town – especially thanks to its raised driving position. Its refinement and smoothness at speed makes it a good motorway companion.
The engine range impresses, but the best of the bunch is the 2.0-litre diesel, because of the smooth way it drives. The 1.6-litre petrol and 1.7-litre diesel aren’t bad, but you’ll miss the extra power of the larger engine when you get up to motorway speeds.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine also comes with four-wheel drive, along with a host of electrical gubbins that mean it's a capable off-roader, providing extra grip on slippery roads.
Price, value for money & options
A low list price and a long spec list make the Sportage excellent value for money
The Kia Sportage is competitively priced when you consider the amount of equipment the car comes with. All models come with air-con, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, privacy glass, Bluetooth, a USB connection, and remote central locking. While opting for one of the top-of-the-range models gets you equipment such as leather seats and a handy rear-view parking camera. Servicing costs should be reasonable, too, and Kia offers a fixed-priced scheme for a three-year period.
What the others say
"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."
"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."
"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."