In-depth reviews

Kia Sportage SUV review

“The bold new Kia Sportage offers a high-tech interior and plenty of hybrid options”

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£28,615 - £45,775

Pros

  • Cutting-edge interior
  • Economical hybrids
  • Big boot

Cons

  • Expensive top models
  • Engine can be noisy
  • Slightly firm ride

Verdict - Is the Kia Sportage a good car?

The Kia Sportage is now in its fifth generation and each new model has been an improvement on its predecessor. The first two versions were typically rugged SUV models, but the sleek third-gen model introduced the brand’s distinctive ‘tiger’-inspired styling and scooped our inaugural Carbuyer Car of the Year award in 2011. The outgoing model built on that car’s success and became one of the best-selling cars in the UK.

Kia Sportage models, specs and alternatives

There’s a lot riding on the new Kia Sportage, but that hasn’t stopped Kia from being bold with the styling. It may not please everyone but there’s no doubt that the car is eye-catching, with the front end dominated by a wide grille and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights.

The best family SUVs 2023Top 10 best family SUVs 2024

The GT-Line trims add a slightly sportier look, but any Sportage will stand out in the supermarket car park. You’re unlikely to mistake it for any of its numerous rivals, which include the Peugeot 3008, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5 and SEAT Ateca. Not to mention the equally strikingly styled and closely related Hyundai Tucson.

Inside, the Sportage is just as attractive, with a set of twin screens lifted out of the hi-tech, all-electric Kia EV6 fitted in top versions. They’re as good to use as they are to look at, with intuitive menus matched by crisp graphics. You don’t have to scroll through endless sub-menus to get to the settings you want, while the retention of physical buttons means the other minor controls are easy to use.

Equipment is generous, with even the ‘2’ trim getting LED headlights, a reversing camera, auto lights and wipers and a touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and digital radio. The ‘3’ trim features bigger screens, seat heaters and tinted glass; ‘4’ brings a sunroof, wireless phone charging and extra driver aids. Buyers can also choose from two GT-Line models.

The news is just as good if you’re sitting behind the front seats. Adults will find there’s enough room in the back seats, even if you pick a model with a panoramic sunroof, which can restrict headroom when fitted in rival cars. The boot is also pretty big for a car in this class. There are a number of other handy touches too, including built-in coat hangers on the front-seat headrests, suggesting Kia’s designers spent a lot of time considering how to make the Sportage as useful as possible.

Mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines are all available, along with conventional petrol and diesel motors, although diesels aren’t currently available in Kia’s configurator. There’s currently no zero-emission option (you can choose the Kia e-Niro or EV6 if you want to go electric), but the wide choice of engines should suit a broad array of customers.

The hybrid is likely to be the best-selling engine. You can feel the electric motor taking over when pulling away from a standstill or coming to a stop, when the internal combustion engine is switched off. You also get a boost from the batteries on the move, as the motor gives the petrol engine a little extra muscle when overtaking or powering up hills. The transition between electric and petrol power is smooth enough, but the 1.6-litre unit does get coarse if you demand a quick burst of acceleration.

Business buyers are likely to make up the biggest proportion of plug-in hybrid sales, because the lofty price is offset by a super-low Benefit-in-Kind tax band. Besides opting for an electric car such as a Kia e-Niro or EV6, you’ll struggle to find cars with a lower tax liability. But private buyers prepared to take the plunge on the plug-in hybrid will also be impressed, especially with its electric range of around 40 miles.

Refinement is great once you get up to speed and body roll is kept to a minimum. So is steering feel, but that’ll hardly be top of the priority list for buyers of a family SUV, and the Sportage always feels capable and composed. It's safe too, with a five-star score from Euro NCAP.

What about buying a used or nearly new Kia Sportage?

The latest Kia Sportage is so new that any you’ll find on the used market will be demonstrators or pre-registered models, so they will be good value next to a new version but perhaps not quite as appealing as some other used rivals that have depreciated a little more.

What’s its history?

The first Kia Sportage arrived in 1993 but it was never very popular – it was quite utilitarian and Kia was not the household name it is now. In 2004 a new model arrived that was not as good at off-roading, but was much better on the road and it found more customers as a result, though these Mk2 models are still fairly rare in the UK.

Kia Sportage old vs new headerKia Sportage: old vs new

The most notable models in the Sportage’s history are the Mk3 and Mk4, which arrived in 2010 and 2016 respectively. These cars were progressively more appealing to UK buyers, thanks to a focus on technology, comfort and practicality.

Used Kia Sportage (Mk4 2016-2021)

2016 Kia Sportage

The previous-generation Sportage was the Mk4, which was sold from 2016 to 2021. This model was available with petrol and diesel power, plus in later years there was a 48-volt mild hybrid model as well. All versions are comfortable and easy to drive, plus most were really well equipped as well. Read more about it in our full used review and buying guide.

Read our full Sportage Mk4 review...

Used Kia Sportage (Mk3 2010-2016)

Mk3 Kia Sportage

The third-generation Sportage was a huge step forward from the Mk2 model. It was affordable, reliable and the practical interior meant it found plenty of fans. It still makes a great used buy now if you have a limited budget but want a practical and easy-to-drive family SUV.

Read our full Sportage Mk3 review...

Older Kia Sportage models

The older Mk1 and Mk2 versions of the Kia Sportage are more of a curiosity than a serious purchase these days. Not that many were sold and the ones that remain are often quite worn out, having lived hard lives covering thousands of miles.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.6 GDi ISG 1 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,490

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6T GDi 248 PHEV GT-Line 5dr Auto AWD
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £39,795

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6T GDi HEV GT-Line 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £34,495

Recommended

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula
Volkswagen Tiguan drive
In-depth reviews
21 Feb 2024

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula

Fisker Ocean review – mid-size electric SUV with quirky features
Fisker Ocean SUV
In-depth reviews
21 Feb 2024

Fisker Ocean review – mid-size electric SUV with quirky features

Vauxhall Astra gets new mild-hybrid tech for improved fuel efficiency
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer front quarter
News
21 Feb 2024

Vauxhall Astra gets new mild-hybrid tech for improved fuel efficiency

Dacia Duster review – a great-value SUV that owners love
Dacia Duster SUV
In-depth reviews
20 Feb 2024

Dacia Duster review – a great-value SUV that owners love

Have You Considered

Land Rover Discovery Sport review - the family SUV for towing and off-roading
Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV
In-depth reviews
7 Feb 2024

Land Rover Discovery Sport review - the family SUV for towing and off-roading

Vauxhall Grandland review - a family-friendly SUV, but lacks flair
Vauxhall Grandland SUV - front 3/4 dynamic
In-depth reviews
6 Feb 2024

Vauxhall Grandland review - a family-friendly SUV, but lacks flair

Most Popular

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
octavia vrs hot deal
Deals
19 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month
cupra ateca
Deals
16 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong
KGM Torres front quarter
News
19 Feb 2024

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong

More on Sportage

Show me:
The UK's top 10 best-selling cars 2024
The UK's best-selling cars hero
Best cars
7 Feb 2024

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars 2024

With 2024 well under way and January’s car sales figures now released, we list the top 10 best-selling cars of the year so far
Top 10 best hybrid family cars 2024
Top 10 best hybrid family cars
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best hybrid family cars 2024

Need a practical car with very low running costs? Read our guide to the best hybrid family cars
Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2024
Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2024

Hybrid SUVs and 4x4s can be as cheap to run as family hatchbacks, yet also offer lots more space. Here are 10 of our favourites
Top 10 best mid-size SUVs 2024
Top 10 best mid-size SUVs 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best mid-size SUVs 2024

Mid-size SUVs offer everything most families could ever need from a car; we rank some of the best
Kia Sportage 30-year group test: every generation of an SUV family favourite
Kia Sportage all generations
News
29 Dec 2023

Kia Sportage 30-year group test: every generation of an SUV family favourite

As the popular family SUV celebrates 30 years, we get behind the wheel of all five iterations
Kia Sportage gets glowing five-star Euro NCAP safety rating
Kia Sportage - Euro NCAP
News
6 Jul 2022

Kia Sportage gets glowing five-star Euro NCAP safety rating

Euro NCAP’s latest safety tests result in top scores for Kia, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes
Used Kia Sportage review: 2016 to 2021 (Mk4)
Kia Sportage SUV front 3/4 tracking
Used car reviews
12 Apr 2022

Used Kia Sportage review: 2016 to 2021 (Mk4)

“The Kia Sportage is a practical, well equipped and easy-to-drive SUV with an impressive warranty covering it for seven years”
Nissan Qashqai vs Kia Sportage vs Hyundai Tucson vs Ford Kuga: which should you buy?
Nissan Qashqai vs rivals
News
1 Apr 2022

Nissan Qashqai vs Kia Sportage vs Hyundai Tucson vs Ford Kuga: which should you buy?

We compare the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage to find the most family friendly SUV
New 2022 Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid has 43-mile electric range
2022 Kia Sportage
News
15 Mar 2022

New 2022 Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid has 43-mile electric range

Kia Sportage PHEV offers higher electric range than most rivals
Kia Sportage: old vs new
Kia Sportage old vs new header
News
24 Feb 2022

Kia Sportage: old vs new

The latest Kia Sportage features bold styling and more hybrid engine options. We see how it compares to a used model
New Kia Sportage JBL Black Edition launched
News
16 Dec 2020

New Kia Sportage JBL Black Edition launched

Special-edition Kia Sportage gains darkened paint scheme and a high-spec stereo system
Updated 2020 Kia Sportage goes on sale
News
4 May 2020

Updated 2020 Kia Sportage goes on sale

Facelifted Sportage line-up includes a new mild-hybrid diesel, revised trim levels and updated tech
Kia models get upgrades for autumn 2019
Kia Proceed GT-Line Lunar Edition
News
2 Oct 2019

Kia models get upgrades for autumn 2019

Kia’s range gets extra equipment and trim levels, while all diesel Sportage models are now mild-hybrid
Kia unveils Picanto, Ceed, Stonic, Sportage special editions
Kia Ceed GT-Line Lunar Edition
News
8 Jul 2019

Kia unveils Picanto, Ceed, Stonic, Sportage special editions

Five new trims available across the current Kia range
2019 Mitsubishi ASX SUV: price, specs and release date
2020 Mitsubishi ASX driving
News
12 Jun 2019

2019 Mitsubishi ASX SUV: price, specs and release date

New Mitsubishi ASX on sale in September with new styling and optional four-wheel-drive
Kia Sportage GT-Line review
News
6 Nov 2018

Kia Sportage GT-Line review

The Kia Sportage is a popular SUV, but is GT-Line the best trim level to pick?
Mild hybrid Kia Sportage on its way
News
24 Jul 2018

Mild hybrid Kia Sportage on its way

Updated Kia Sportage SUV gets 48v mild-hybrid diesel technology
New Kia Sportage SUV: full prices and specs of updated model
News
2 Feb 2016

New Kia Sportage SUV: full prices and specs of updated model

New Kia Sportage gets more tech, comfort, space and technology
Kia Sportage SUV (2010-2014)
In-depth reviews
1 Dec 2015

Kia Sportage SUV (2010-2014)

"The Kia Sportage is a good value, practical and smart competitor in the crossover class."
Hybrid Kia SUV revealed
Kia Soul hatchback
5 Nov 2014

Hybrid Kia SUV revealed

Kia aims to take on the Toyota Prius with new SUV hybrid
Over 7,000 Kia models recalled
News
9 May 2014

Over 7,000 Kia models recalled

Kia Sportage and Kia Soul recalled to check faulty seatbelt pre-tensioners
Kia Sportage: Winter Car of the Week
News
12 Feb 2014

Kia Sportage: Winter Car of the Week

The Kia Sportage is a great family car, especially with grippy four-wheel drive
New 2014 Kia Sportage launched
News
9 Jan 2014

New 2014 Kia Sportage launched

Kia Sportage gets new looks and upgraded equipment for 2014

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024