Kia Sportage SUV review
“The latest Kia Sportage has a high-quality interior and impressive versatility, while a seven-year warranty adds to its list of selling points”
- Practical and spacious inside
- Impressively well equipped
- Good to drive
- Running costs are only average
- Styling may put some buyers off
- Some rivals are more fun to drive
The Kia Sportage is a large family SUV that shares its mechanical underpinnings with its in-house rival, the Hyundai Tucson. The Sportage also counts the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 among its competitors.
Since its introduction in 2016, the current Sportage has undergone several updates, which have included the introduction of revised petrol engines, mild-hybrid diesel engines, and tweaked interior and exterior styling. A mid-2020 update introduced a reorganised model line-up, with additional standard equipment across the range.
The punchiest of the petrols is the 174bhp 1.6-litre T-GDI, which propels the Sportage to 60mph in 8.9 seconds when equipped with front-wheel drive, but its average WLTP fuel consumption of 34.9mpg means it's perhaps best suited to those who make short journeys or cover a relatively low annual mileage.
The 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine uses a 48-volt electrical system to provide hybrid power assistance when accelerating. This is claimed to reduce engine workload, bringing a reduction in CO2 emissions and allowing fuel economy figures of up to 52.3mpg for the front-wheel drive version and 46.3mpg for the four-wheel drive version. The 182bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine has been discontinued for 2020.
Despite its size, the Sportage handles very tidily and is more than capable of making the most of even its most powerful engines. There’s not as much body lean as you’d expect from a large SUV thanks to the firm – but not uncomfortable – suspension. In fact, the Sportage offers a great balance between ride quality and handling.
Inside, the Sportage boasts a well designed, high-quality interior that puts previous Kia efforts to shame but is still some way behind premium rivals like the Audi Q3. Space is good, the seats are very comfortable and there’s lots of storage space. The Sportage has a large boot (439 to 491 litres depending on the model), which becomes even larger with the rear seats folded.
There are four core trim levels, ranging from ‘2’ to GT-Line S. Even the entry-level trim has pretty much all the kit you’ll need, including 17-inch alloys, privacy glass, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a DAB digital radio, dual-zone air-conditioning, sat nav, a rear-view parking camera and rear parking sensors.
The Kia Sportage finished 13th out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK. Also reassuring is that Euro NCAP awarded it five stars for its crash-test performance, not to mention Kia’s famous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty – which eclipses even the five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty offered by sister brand Hyundai.