Kia Sportage SUV
Price £18,000 - £31,650
- Good to drive and decent performance
- Practical and spacious inside
- Impressively well-equipped
- Running costs are only average
- Styling may put some buyers off
- Some rivals are more entertaining to drive
At a glance
“The new Kia Sportage is a well-built and practical mid-size crossover, with a high-quality interior and Kia’s seven-year warranty adding further appeal.”
The Kia Sportage is now in its fourth generation and looks more distinctive than ever before. The South Korean manufacturer has attempted to reposition the car as a more spacious, upmarket proposition compared to the previous model. The Sportage counts some excellent rivals among its competition, including the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson. These cars have their own strengths and weaknesses, but the Sportage is more spacious than the Qashqai and Kuga, and trumps the Hyundai and Mazda with its seven-year warranty.
Though the car may look significantly different to its predecessor, the engine range is essentially unchanged, though there have been some improvements in economy. Buyers have a choice between two petrol and three diesel options.
The entry-level petrol model is front-wheel drive only and has a 130bhp 1.6-litre engine capable of 44.8mpg and emissions that result in road tax of £145 per year. It's not an engine we’d recommend because it doesn’t feel powerful enough for the size of the car and you’ll really have to thrash it to match its official 0-62mph time of 11.1 seconds.
The alternative petrol choice is a turbocharged 174bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine that's capable of 37.2mpg and costs £230 in road tax. It's significantly quicker than the other petrol, managing 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds, and it's the extra power combined with four-wheel drive as standard that make the car relatively inefficient.
The character of diesel power suits the Sportage much better than petrol. The entry-level 114bhp 1.7-litre diesel engine matches the 0-62mph time of the 130bhp petrol engine but it has more pulling power and feels faster. It's the engine to choose for the best economy figures too, capable of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions low enough that road tax is only £30 per year.
A 2.0-litre diesel engine is available with either 134 or 182bhp. A Sportage with the former takes 10.1 seconds to get from 0-62mph and claims official economy of 54.3mpg while emitting 139g/km of CO2 for road tax of £130 per year. The more powerful 182bhp diesel model takes 9.2 seconds to go from 0-62mph, with economy of 47.9mpg and road tax increasing to £185 annually.
As with the previous Sportage, the least powerful petrol and diesel engines are two-wheel-drive only, while the more powerful petrol engine and the 2.0-litre diesels come as standard with four-wheel drive. Similarly, only four-wheel-drive models are available with an automatic gearbox; the rest of the range gets a smooth six-speed manual. On the road, the Sportage has comfortable suspension that does a good job of isolating you from poor surfaces, while body lean is well controlled in corners.
Climb inside and you’ll find the new Sportage has a larger and higher-quality interior than before, with rear-seat passengers getting noticeably more room. The seats are comfortable, while the dashboard feels well built and features plastics that are pleasing to the touch. With the exception of the limited ‘First Edition’ and sportily-styled GT-Line models, the Sportage's trim levels are called simply 1, 2, 3 and 4; four-wheel-drive cars are referred to as KX-1, KX-2, KX-3 and KX-4.
All versions are very well equipped. The entry-level 1 and KX-1 models come with 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control. If you choose 2 or KX-2 trim (which costs about £2,500 more) you’ll get sat nav, larger alloy wheels, a reversing camera, lane-keeping assistance and tinted rear windows. KX-3 and 3 models get a larger touchscreen and alloy wheels, as well as leather seats and an upgraded stereo.
While the fourth-generation Sportage is too new to have featured in our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, the outgoing model model's 73rd place (out of 150 cars) is reasonable, while its 46th-place finish for reliability is more impressive. Kia's seven-year/100,000-mile warranty provides unsurpassed peace of mind and the Sportage's safety credentials are equally reassuring, thanks to a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP.
Running costs for the new Kia Sportage are about on par with rivals’
The new Kia Sportage offers a good balance between fun and comfort
The new Kia Sportage interior may not excite design-wise, but its quality impresses
Kia has given this Sportage a bigger boot and more interior space than its predecessor
Plenty of standard safety kit makes the new Kia Sportage a very safe car