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”
- Roomy interior
- Lots of standard equipment and tech
- Long warranty
- Average fuel economy
- Not very exciting to drive
- Styling isn't for everyone
The Kia Sportage is very easy to recommend as a used family car, because it ticks all the boxes that most people will be looking for. Most importantly, it’s really practical - there’s a big boot and plenty of room for people in the back seats - and nice and easy to drive no matter which engine and gearbox you choose. It’s also well equipped and most used models will have all the technology you need, plus the Sportage came with a seven-year warranty from new so many used models will still have plenty of cover left over even if they are a few years old.
The Kia Sportage is a family SUV that’s practical, good to drive and comes with an excellent warranty that means it’s a top used buy. There are both petrol and diesel engines, manual or automatic gearboxes and even four-wheel-drive versions, although we’d avoid these if you care about running costs.
Alternatives on the used market include the Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008, so if you’re shopping around then you should check those models out as well. The Sportage’s main selling point in that company is its seven-year warranty, meaning even three-year old models have four years of cover left.
The fourth-generation model we’re covering in this review came out in 2016 but there were some changes to the model over the years. Kia added some different petrol engines, mild-hybrid diesel engines, and tweaked interior and exterior styling. In 2020 the car was updated with some differences in the equipment you get, too.
What’s the history of the Kia Sportage?
The Kia Sportage Mk4 first arrived in 2016, following an unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show in late 2015. The initial version can be spotted by its more rounded styling on the front bumper, with a smaller grille area. Both petrol and diesel models were available.
In 2018 Kia updated the car with a new look – it’s easy to spot because of the larger grille at the front and the trim pieces on the sides of the front bumper had a new bit of silver detailing that links to the number plate area. The main reason to go for a later model isn’t the exterior look, but the improved interior and more efficient engines, including a mild-hybrid diesel.
In 2020 there was another update but this was mainly for the trim range, changing which equipment was available in which versions - it was pretty minor but it’s worth checking to see if a model you’re interested in is part of the updated range or not.
Which is the best Kia Sportage to choose?
We’d go for a post-2018 model with the 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, which is a mild hybrid. This means it has a 48-volt electrical system to provide a small amount of power assistance when accelerating. In practice, it’s not noticeable while driving but it means fuel economy is 47.9mpg for the front-wheel-drive version, which is the one we’d go for (the four-wheel-drive model is less efficient).
If you don’t do a lot of miles, the 174bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine could be a decent alternative to the diesel. It’s smooth and quiet, but doesn’t feel as fast as we would expect from a 174bhp engine.
What are the alternatives?
There are absolutely loads of family SUVs that are of a similar size and price to the Kia Sportage. The most closely aligned ones are the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq, which all have a similar focus on practicality.
If you want something that’s more enjoyable to drive, then a Ford Kuga or a Mazda CX-5 could be worth considering, or if you want something with lower running costs there’s the Toyota C-HR or RAV4, both of which are full hybrids.