Kia Sportage SUV
Price £17,995 - £31,645
- 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 latest fourth-generation Kia Sportage is a more spacious and ‘premium’ crossover SUV than the model it replaces. It's larger inside and out than the previous Sportage, while its redesigned looks are certainly distinctive, although likely to divide opinion. The Sportage competes with excellent rivals like the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson. While its exterior design certainly marks it out from those cars, the Sportage offers a bigger boot and more interior space than the Qashqai and Kuga, while neither Hyundai or Mazda can match Kia's seven-year warranty.
The engine range is largely familiar from the previous Sportage, although efficiency has been improved. There are two petrols available: the entry-level is a 130bhp 1.6-litre, which is only available with two-wheel drive, returns 44.8mpg and costs £145 a year in road tax when fitted with Kia's ISG stop-start system. It's not really powerful enough for the Sportage, though, and needs to be worked hard in order to make progress, managing 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds.
Kia has sensibly ditched the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the previous Sportage, as it was quite thirsty. In its place is a turbocharged 174bhp 1.6-litre petrol, which returns 37.2mpg and costs £230 a year in road tax, while the 0-62mph time reduces to 9.2 seconds with this engine. The slightly underwhelming economy figures are partly caused by the fact that the more powerful petrol engine comes as standard with four-wheel drive.
In truth, a diesel Sportage makes more sense. The entry-level 114bhp 1.7-litre diesel has the same 11.1-second 0-62mph time as cheapest petrol, but it actually feels faster than this on the road and suits the Sportage better. It's also the most economical engine in the range, returning 61.4mpg and costing just £30 a year in road tax, thanks to its low CO2 emissions.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine is available with either 134 or 182bhp. The less powerful of those takes 10.1 seconds to go from 0-62mph, returns 54.3mpg and costs £130 a year in road tax, thanks to CO2 emissions of 139g/km. The 182bhp model is (as expected) faster and slightly less economical, taking 9.2 seconds to go from 0-62mph, while returning 47.9mpg and costing £185 a year to tax.
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