Review

Kia Sportage SUV

Price  £17,500 - £29,505

Kia Sportage SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

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

At a glance

The greenest
1.7 CRDi 2 2WD 5dr £21,200
The cheapest
1.6 GDi 1 2WD 5dr £17,500
The fastest
2.0 CRDi KX-2 AWD 5dr £23,600
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 a crossover SUV like the Nissan Qashqai, Mitsubishi ASX, Skoda Yeti, and Hyundai ix35 and it's an extremely good one, too. It was the first car to win the CarBuyer Car of the Year award, back in 2011. And we named it Best 4x4 in 2012. It looks fantastic – far more stylish than you’d expect from a budget brand and a lot slicker than rivals like the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti. But a pretty face is not is the extent of the Sportage's talents, its equipment levels are outstanding. Even entry-level models get alloy wheels, tinted glass, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing front windscreen wipers, Bluetooth, USB and aux-in connection as standard, which is remarkable given its price. The interior is great, too, it looks stylish and is well laid out. The engine range is excellent and it comes with a seven-year warranty. It's not all good news tough, as the Sportage does have its problems; some of the materials in the interior feel a bit cheap, and it isn’t the best car to drive – the steering feels a bit lifeless and it bounces around a bit. Despite these gripes, the Sportage is still a superbly accomplished car.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.0 / 5

Economy and emissions aren’t a match for rivals, but servicing costs will be low

For a big SUV, the Kia Sportage is reasonably efficient, but some of its rivals have managed to cut emissions a lot further. The most economical model is the 1.7-litre CRDi EcoDynamics diesel model fitted with stop-start, which will do 54.3mpg and emit 135g/km CO2. That's some way behind the Skoda Yeti Greenline, which boasts figure of 61.4mpg and 119g/km CO2, and even further behind the Nissan Qashqai which is capable of 98g/km CO2 and 74.3mpg.The top-of-the-range 181bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel Sportage will only do 46.3mpg and emit 158g/km CO2. Opting for an automatic gearbox or a four-wheel drive system will drive up emission figures and reduce economy still further. On the other hand, Kia's seven-year warranty means you’re guaranteed not to face a major repair bill for the best part of a decade and the Sportage's servicing costs are less than most rivals, too.

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

Soft suspension is comfortable but leads to a bouncy ride

The Sportage has definitely been set-up to prioritise comfort over sporty handling, so the suspension is very soft. As a result it soaks up bumps and potholes in the road, but it also bounces around quite a bit, which could be an issue if you or a family member suffer from car sickness – you’ll need to test drive it to be sure. The seats are supportive, firm and comfortable, though – and help to reduce the effect of the bumpy ride. There is plenty of adjustability in the driving position, plus leg and headroom to spare for front and back passengers, so nobody in the car will feel cramped. The engines can get a little noisy at motorway speeds, but road and wind noise are well insulated from the cabin, so the Sportage is fairly relaxing over long drives. Interior quality is pretty good, given the Sportage's price, and the cabin is certainly attractively styled, but there are some cheap materials used.

Practicality & boot space

4.0 / 5

Boot size is excellent and the interior is spacious

The Kia Sportage is very much a family car, so it features a sizeable interior and spacious boot. There is plenty of head and legroom in the rear seats, so even tall adults can sit comfortably, and the door bins and glovebox are all big and very useable, plus there's a whole range of useful cubbyholes. The boot has 564 litres of storage capacity, which is more than both the Yeti and the Qashqai.

All Sportage models come fitted with 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard, and load space increases to 1,353 litres when you fold them flat. The boot opening is wide and easy to load – although it is a little high up to the height of the car – and there's a removable boot floor to store valuables out of sight. Four-wheel drive KX models are very capable off-road, too, and can handle the worst weather conditions the UK can throw at you.

Reliability & safety

4.4 / 5

Excellent warranty guarantees the Sportage’s reliability for seven years

Kia clearly has a lot of faith in its products since it offers them with a market-leading seven-year warranty. This basically guarantees that you’ll be free from big repair bills for almost a decade – not too bad at all!

Kia, as a brand is proving to be very popular with customers, too. It had a phenomenal result in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, moving up five places and cracking into the top 10 most highly rated manufacturers for the first time ever by finishing seventh out of 32. That puts it above companies like Volvo, Audi, BMW and Ford – a seriously impressive result. And the Sportage got the thumbs up from customers, too, just sneaking into the top half of the Top 100 cars with a 49th place finish.

The Sportage's safety levels are impeccable and it received a five-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP. All models are fitted with an incredible list of safety equipment including: front, side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX points for anchoring child seats, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill-hold assist, a roll-over sensor and anti-whiplash headrests that protect occupants’ necks.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

On-road ability marks a big improvement over Kias of old, but trails rivals

The Sportage drives pretty well for a big SUV – it's got plenty of grip and handles well too. It's not as agile or as sharp as the Skoda Yeti, though. And it does have a bit of a bouncy ride and you’ll find it leans a bit if you corner at speed. But it's a good motorway cruiser and comfortable around town. The engine range is decent, too. Best of the bunch as far as we’re concerned is the 2.0-litre diesel engine. Why? Because you don’t have to rev it hard to get any power out of it – it’ll move the car briskly from the moment you put your foot down. The entry-level engines are a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.7-litre diesel – both are fine for everyday use but you may find them a bit underpowered on the motorway. There's also a 2.0-litre petrol engine, which is as good to drive as the 2.0-litre diesel but isn’t as efficient. Both the larger petrol and diesel engine models come with an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system, which gives them more traction than the smaller-engined versions. The Sportage's high driving position gives a great view out of the front, but the view out the back is restricted by a small window, which makes rear parking difficult.

Price, value for money & options

4.6 / 5

A low list price and a long spec list make the Sportage excellent value for money

The Sportage has a very reasonable price when you consider the truly impressive list of kit that comes as standard. Even base spec models get air-con, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, tinted glass, Bluetooth, USB, aux-in connection and remote central locking. And higher up the range you’ll find heated leather seats and a rear-view parking camera. Kia also offer a great value-for-money servicing pack that fixes the cost of maintaining the car for the first three years, and of course there is the superb seven-year warranty. With all that, it's no surprise that the Sportage has excellent resale value – so you won’t take a huge financial hit when it comes time sell it on.

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 3 reviews
  • 5.0 / 5

    "The amount of equipment fitted as standard in First Edition trim is astounding, with the Kia boasting heated leather seats all round, a rear view camera, cruise control and iPod connectivity. There's also decent legroom for passengers, comfortable seats and a flat transmission tunnel. This all helps the rear feel more spacious than the Qashqai's, despite its narrow window."

  • 3.0 / 5

    "The Sportage isn't as classy as a Nissan Qashqai inside, but it's not too far off. The cabin is attractive and uses some appealing materials, while the controls have a precise, sturdy feel, and the build quality is good. It's too early to predict long-term reliability, but there's the reassurance of Kia's seven-year, unlimited mileage warranty."

  • 3.5 / 5

    "Kia's rivals now have something to truly worry about: the latest Sportage, looks the part and with generous kit levels, acres of space and a decent choice of engines it is raising the bar even higher in the crossover sector."

Last updated 
10 Feb 2014

Disqus - noscript

It's a bit odd that what car think its an unlimited mileage warranty as its 7yr / 100k mile

I've got the KX-4 Auto, it's by far & worst car that I've ever owned.

It guzzles diesel like crazy, it uses an old fashioned & to be quite honest rubbish "Slush box" or torque converter box, instead of a decent dual clutch type one.

As for the review don't believe it, the boot is small & the handling is inert and horrible, I can't help but wonder if the reviewer was on a commission by Kia.

Whatever you do, don't buy one, buy a Tiguan or something else, because this car is an absolute farce.

I just wish I could sell it or Kia would take it back.

What were u on the day u supposedly bought it then.Did the boot actually shrink after you test drove it.If your doing a knocking comment spend a few brain cells on trying to make your rant sound feasible.

The one I tested was an older model & lesser model, which actually handled & drove better than this so called "Top of the range" piece of crap called a KX-4!

There's not a single redeeming feature about it.

Kia customer service is dire, the dealer is just a damned useless who wants a small fortune to do anything to the car, an example of which is a 90 minute job to fit the side steps they want £325 for.

And uptonmanor, I think that you are nothing more than a supercilious little jerk who should crawl back under his little pebble. Now run along...

Lol

I found out that uptonmanor is actually a member of the kiaownersclub, who don't allow any fun, banter or remarks that degrade their precious Kia Sportages on their website.

Sad & pathetic lot.

I forgot to mention there's a problem with the steering on these cars, there's a considerable number of them which for some reason pull to the left, instead of staying central.

It's something that's a well known phenomenon that's regularly discussed on the forums,

Something that needs to be addressed.

Lol bitching and arguing on a review site pathetic children.

Totally over rated junk, as for mpg I think mine has a hole in the fuel tank.

Oh, perhaps someone may be interested in the long running saga of the 1,7L Sportages, which all of a sudden lose power you get no warnings, the power just drops out & leaves you high & dry.

Rather strangely it's something Kia doesn't like to discuss much.

I'm buying a new car next year and can't decide between the Kia Sportage because I like the height of it or the audi q3. One thing we noticed about the sportage is the indicators are quite low down. Has anyone had a problem with this?

How much do you want to sell it for?

I know that trade it's worth around about £24k, I'd want about £22k for it, as it's only got about 1850 miles on it,

I've had my sportage for 6 months now and absolutely love it. I have the 2 litre CRDI which is a little bit thirsty, but then I do a lot of motorway driving (20k miles so far in it). I chose it in arctic white and it looks stunning, and has also been given a lot of compliments by strangers. A lot of people have mentioned the lack of visibility through the rear view mirror. Yes it's small, but I actually find the car easier to reverse into a space than nose first due to the rear view camera (which is extremely accurate by the way). The heavy snow we've experienced this winter gave me a chance to push the 4x4 to its limits and it didn't disappoint! Fantastic but of kit and extremely fun to drive. Don't knock it until you have tried it! 10 out of 10 from me.

Tested an older model and then spent over £20k on the newer model that you wasn't very familiar with?

Sportage won the JD Power survey 2012.

Just ordered a KX-4 as a replacement for my aging Kuga, can't wait until it arrives.

Are you people serious? For one western yeoman you had by law 14 days to return it after you bought it. For two are you adults that are actually arguing and acting like kids on here? Everyone has an opinion and is entitled to it. But for goodness sake be adults. Stop acting like this is a playground.

Test drove the 1.6 petrol Sportage yesterday, will definitely be placing an order over the next few days after a bit of price checking.

Yes! To replace the indicator bulbs on the rear you need to be double jointed and undo bits & pieces that you should never need to touch.

I hope you never have to do it after rain or you've been through mud & water because you will get absolutely filthy. Pi$$ poor design.

No one ever told me that I had such a right to return it. The dealer had already sold my trade in, so I would have had no car.

Be warned and don't be fooled when buying a Kia Sportage - I'm on my second replacement Sportage, first Kia was pulling to the left, they couldn't fix it, the second car I have received has a problem with the central locking and the alarm keeps going off - stay away - don't buy

don't be fooled - don't buy a Kia Sportage

Kia are bringing out some seriously great looking cars.

The appointment of Peter Schreyer was pure genious.

Hi. Had a 1.7 and got rid of it. lots of niggly problems, very rough diesel and surprise surprise the new Sportage is now well down in the Autoexpress 2013 JD Power!

In the process of buying my next car, Sportage or Kuga.

Sportage wins in the looks department.

Given your critic of the vehicle I suspect a 2K offer would
be acceptable ? Why should anyone else pay more ?

Oh not another anonymous Internet troll/pleb.

i work at kia only one i would buy i the ceed all kia care about is money nothing else there is so many other good well built cars out there they simply not worth the money. if you push to hard on the panels you will dent them. what ever you do do not buy one not sure who they paid off to get that rating but they paid someone

Have had Sportage for 6 weeks now, no problems, has averaged 45mpg with mixed journey distance. Engine slightly noisy when accelerating, but no veering to left or any other problems details

I have had a Sportage 1.7 crdi 3 with sat nav in white for 5 months. It is superb, looks gorgeous and drives as I would expect for an SUV which remember isn't a skateboard type of car so the handling won't be Golf GTI like. It's very comfortable, looks good inside and out handles well when driven properly and gives me 46 mpg with minimal motorway work. I have heard that some (a few) cars pull to the left and also have fuel filter issues but I believe the dealers have a fix for the former and the latter is under review. Ignore the Owners Club Forum comments as people will and do like to complain about some very strange things. I love my car and so do those who have been for a drive with me, it has so many features that for the money it was a steal 7 year warrenty as well I could have bought a simple Ford Focus for the same money! I got a sizeable discount from a dealer of more that £2500 and lots of freebies thrown in as well, (try Lookers Stockport) and I also chose the 5 year service package with a £30 first MOT included, I think that package will save me hundreds of £s over the period. It is a good car comfortable, roomy, easy to drive full of features that you would not expect for the price eg leather heated seats front and back, full sat nav package inc reversing camera and a great audio system, panoramic sun roof and dual climate control air con. Yes the boot is a little shallow but that's because this car comes with a full size alloy spare wheel another plus, you can also store some stuff in the compartment under the boot floor. Oh and a 7 year warranty as well.

It does look great but is built to a budget. It is not as premium as its external looks suggest. Some significant quality issues, poor interior with hard plastic doors, poor trim fit and rather dull looking hard textured faux leather seats. Very unrefined diesel and panel sheets seem very thin - twist/rock the door gently on its hindge to see what I mean. But you get lots of kit in a stylish package. The 7 yr warranty was a big plus for me suggesting that Kia was a quality product but when I had to keep going to the dealer for faults I soon got rid of it.

Very easily pleased of blind, one or the other.

I've now sold my KX-4 and gone back to VAG cars, where you get better quality and less niggles.

I made the mistake of leaving VAG for Kia, it's a mistake that I won't make again.

And if you are so daft as to buy one of these, do yourself a favour, don't buy the DAB module for it, it's awful, as is the Sat Nav that kept sending me around in circles in the Bridgwater/Taunton areas this weekend.

I used a Garmin instead to get me out of both loops & it's superior to the built in unit.

Will I miss the KX-4? Maybe a tiny bit, but generally overall no.

It's a gutless piece of rubbish.

Must be completely insane!

I test drove a Sportage today and I loved it. Absolute joy to drive and put a deposit on it , there and then. Will be delivered to the dealer by the end of November so I'll have a brand new toy this Christmas.

Says the blind person who claims they spent over £20,000 on a car they hate.

This car is excellent value for money. I take back everything I have said.

Everyone makes mistakes and buying one of these was the biggest one I've done when it has come to buying a car.

I take it that with that attitude you're just another member of the UK s worst internet car owners club, good job it's free to join because it's rubbish.

Nope, it was good enough for me to buy.

Considering you test drove an older model to the car you bought and then realised the boot was a different size I think I'll ignore your rubbish comments.

Bought a KX-4 a year ago. Other than slightly less MPG than I was expecting I'm satisfied with the car, however if MPG was going to be an issue I wouldn't have bought an SUV in the first place, I would have gone for something smaller. At the time it was a choice between this and a VW Tiguan, but I just didn't like the design of the Tiguan.

You test driving an 'older model & lesser model' was your biggest mistake.

Luckily many Sportage owners test drove the car they wanted and are happy with their purchase.

That's where you are completely WRONG! It was a KX-3.

And some people like you are very easily pleased aren't they!

So why don't you just go back to the woeful kiaownersclub forum with the rest of the easily pleased people with their gutless Sportages' and I won't be stopping when your tin can stops due to fuelling problems which dog the car & then there's the pulling to the left problems which the media have ignored & Kia have "swept under the carpet".

I picked up my new car today, so I really don't give a damned about the cr4p that's called Kia & the Sportage.

You've completely contradicted yourself.

You said 'boot is small' and when someone questioned why you didn't notice this when you test drove it, you told them, 'The one I tested was an older model & lesser model', the KX-3 and KX-4 have the same sized boot.

I really & genuinely don't care anymore!

It's gone and I am supremely happy to see the back of it!

And as far as I'm concerned you have to be a mug to buy a gas guzzling, barge style handling SUV (Better SUV's are available!) that only rates at No.49, when you can pay similar cash for a Yeti (No.1 for the 2nd or is it 3rd year running?) which will have far better residuals than the Kia.

You may say about the 7 year warranty?

Who cares I don't I never keep my car more than 2½ - 3 years and I can always buy an extension should I ever decide to keep my car longer than that.

The Sportage is poor! It has poor handling, poor engines, poor gearboxes, poor boot, poor lighting, poor radio/sound system (No RDS text facility) and as for the complete and utter farce & joke that Kia call DAB radio upgrade! I really can't put into words what I think of that.

Then there's the pitiful excuse for a Sat Nav as well, which does an excellent job of sending you around in circles and is missing 1000's of postcodes.

Like I said I've got rid of it, it was an expensive mistake and one that I won't be repeating especially in buying a Kia!

So what piece of crap new car did you buy today or is that another lie?

For someone who doesn't care, you sure have gone to a lot of trouble to make a lot of pointless posts about a car you 'don't care' about.

Only because I have the common courtesy to answer you, however this will be my last reply to you.

I have bought a new car and I took delivery of it today and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

What car it is, is none of your business and as I have said I no longer care about the Sportage or your opinions.

So with that I'm off and I will not be responding to your trolling and baiting any further, so please don't waste your time & effort in doing so.

Bye!

What a coincidence, on the day you bought a 'new car', I bought a new super yacht.

You have been anything but courteous, calling people who disagree with you 'trolls' or 'plebs' is somewhat childish.

I hope you enjoy your yacht. Now if you'd kindly plot a course to these coordinates I'd be eternally grateful.

25.0000° N, 71.0000° W

May you get as much enjoyment from your fictional new car as you did with your Sportage.

I recommend you travel to your chosen coordinates in your new car or trundle back under that bridge you came from.

Did you check the boot size of your new car before you bought it or did you test drive a different model again and will piss and moan about it being too small...

Again.

Nah... You're not worthy of a put down.

Off you go back to the kiaownersclub!

I know why the boot of your Sportage KX-4 was smaller than the boot of the KX-3 you test drove, you test drove a Sorento KX-3 but ended up buying a Sportage KX-4.

In future when you test drive a car, ask the dealer whether you are test driving the right car. It's really not that difficult, well for you it sounds like it might be...

So I take it you lost your sight when you bought your Sportage.

I can't believe all the critical comments I'm reading. I had a sportage for 5 years, covering some 110,000 miles & it never missed a beat. My son bought it from me & it's stoll going strong 3 years later. I replaced it with an A4 Audi simply for the better economy whilst commuting & hand on heart, it doesn't drive any better than the sportage did. Maybe I was just lucky, but I thought the Kia was brilliant.

Kia are making good cars today , much better than 5 years ago.

My Sportage has arrived at the dealer. Picking her up on Monday.

A few years ago I wouldn't have looked twice at buying a Kia but the brand has improved significantly, especially with cars like the new Cee'd and Optima.

Can anybody tell me why my KIA sportage 2011 model started vibrating and stopped responding to accelerator while re-starting at red light.

Strange how the above post has got here considering I never put it here.

I stand by my criticism of the car, in that it's rubbish, poor VFM, poor MPG, poor handling, poor quality, excruciatingly poor auto gearbox, exceptionally noisy engine.

I'm glad I got shot of it.

Cancel the order & get a Yeti!

Not as stupid as your driving examiner who gave you your licence.

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