Kia Sportage SUV

£17,500 - £29,510

It looks like a compact SUV – and indeed it is – but look beyond its chunky profile and high driving position and you’ll see the Kia Sportage is closer to a regular hatchback when it comes to usability and running costs.

If that isn’t tempting enough, there's also Kia's attractive support package designed to keep the costs of ownership down further still, including fixed-price servicing and a generous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.

But the Sportage offers more than just reasonably low running costs in a trendy SUV body. It's also an attractive and distinctive-looking car that's packed with standard equipment. What's more, the four trim levels it comes in are called, simply, 1, 2, 3 and 4, with four-wheel-drive versions identified by a KX prefix.

Two-wheel-drive versions are powered by a choice of 1.6-litre petrol and 1.7-litre diesel engines. A more powerful 2.0-litre diesel, available in two power outputs, is reserved for models with four-wheel drive. This engine is also offered with an optional six-speed automatic gearbox.

The diesels are relatively cheap to run, but newer rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5 are more affordable still. With that in mind, we’d advise choosing the smaller 1.7-litre diesel.

Sportage drivers want for very little, with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and LED daytime running lights all provided as standard from trim level 1 upwards. On top of these, there are also rain-sensing wipers and a USB connection for music players and mobile phones.

Just moving up to trim level 2 brings rear parking sensors and half-leather seats while level 4, the highest, has the kind of kit you’d expect to find in a car costing twice the price: xenon headlights, sat nav, heated seats and a panoramic sunroof.

Well equipped and easy to own, the Kia Sportage is also a safe car, receiving the maximum five-star rating from the crash-test experts at Euro NCAP to prove it. Look deeper and you’ll find a full set of airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, anti-whiplash headrests and ISOFIX child-seat mounts.

However, despite the Sportage's long list of attributes, its brilliant rival the Nissan Qashqai remains our favourite mid-size SUV. Even then, if you can do without an SUV's high seating position and occasional off-road ability, you might be better off looking at conventional hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Honda Civic.

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