Kia Sportage SUV review (2016-2021)
“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 stylish family SUV that offers plenty of space, reasonable running costs and excellent reliability. It's available with petrol and mild-hybrid diesel engines and, while we'd stick with the front-wheel drive version, it can even tow a fairly hefty trailer if necessary.
Another attraction is Kia's long seven-year warranty, which is transferable between owners, helping boost its value come resale time. Rivals include models such as the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5.
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 range, with additional standard equipment across the range. A replacement for the Sportage is already imminent, with the option of plug-in hybrid and hybrid powertrains for the first time, which should make it more appealing to business and eco-minded buyers.
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 fuel consumption of 34.4mpg 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 a small amount of 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 47.9mpg for the front-wheel drive version and 42.8mpg for the four-wheel drive version. The 182bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine was discontinued in 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. There's enough space for families, 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 main 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 an impressive ninth out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, with high scores in every category. 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.