Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Kia Sportage SUV - Engines, drive & performance

The Kia Sportage is refined at speed, although can be noisy when you’re accelerating

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Family SUVs aren’t really designed to cater for keen drivers, but the Kia Sportage is as agile and precise as most will need. It’s not quite as good to drive as a Ford Kuga or Mazda CX-5, but it’s not far behind.

There’s very little body roll, for a start, although this is achieved by a slightly firm ride. That means the Sportage will occasionally crash into bumps and potholes but for the most part comfort is acceptable. Direct steering gives you confidence despite a lack of road feel, while Sportage grips harder than you’d expect in corners.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Sportage doesn’t reward hard acceleration. The hybrid model we tested was noisy getting up to speed, with quite a harsh tone from the petrol engine. It’s much better if you stick to a relaxed pace and is impressively refined once you’re at cruising speed. Refinement is good at lower speeds, as then the car can run on electric power for short periods of time. 

Kia Sportage hybrid engines

Topping the Sportage range for the first time is a plug-in hybrid model, capable of over 40 miles of electric range. It also gets 261bhp, but isn’t the fastest in the line-up - largely because its larger battery makes it heavier. Below this is the 226bhp 'self-charging’ hybrid. Both use Kia's familiar turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine. The 226bhp version hits 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds, so it’s a little quicker than the equivalent Hyundai Tucson, while the PHEV sneaks in at around eight seconds. Both hybrid models come with a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard, while the PHEV gets four-wheel drive (it’s an option on the hybrid GT-Line S).

Petrol engines

While there was previously a conventional 1.6-litre petrol version with 148bhp, now all Kia Sportage models get some degree of electrification. The mild-hybrid assisted version of that engine is now the entry point into the range, producing 157bhp. This comes paired to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic. It doesn’t feel nearly as quick as the hybrid or plug-in hybrid, but it’s still well-suited for most buyers.

Diesel engines

The 1.6-litre diesel engine was carried over from the old Sportage and, like the petrol, it came with mild-hybrid technology on automatic versions, although it’s no longer available to buy new. Manual versions got 113bhp, while the auto boasted 134bhp.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Speed awareness course: what to expect and who’s eligible?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
17 May 2024

Speed awareness course: what to expect and who’s eligible?

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
24 May 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Cat S and Cat N cars explained: guide to buying an insurance write-off
Cat S and Cat N car
Tips and advice
15 May 2024

Cat S and Cat N cars explained: guide to buying an insurance write-off

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

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
21 Mar 2024

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
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 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