Kia Sportage SUV (2010-2014)
"The Kia Sportage is a good value, practical and smart competitor in the crossover class."
- Great value for money
- Seven-year warranty
- Spacious interior
- Bouncy ride
- Lifeless steering
- Some cheap-feeling trim
The Kia Sportage takes on a host of rivals in the compact family SUV class, including the extremely popular Nissan Qashqai, the Hyundai Tucson, the Renault Captur, the Ford Kuga, the Mazda CX-5 and the Skoda Yeti. It’s certainly not the newest contender of the bunch (a new Kia Sportage is on the way in early 2016) but it still offers reasonable value for money, standard equipment, running costs and interior space.
As with all Kias, the market-leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty is a big part of the Sportage’s appeal, especially for private buyers. It means you can hold on to the car for longer, safe in the knowledge you won’t face any huge repair bills, or alternatively it can boost the Sportage’s value if you’re selling it with a couple of years’ warranty cover remaining.
The Sportage has a three-strong engine line-up, with a 1.6-litre petrol, 1.7-litre diesel and 2.0-litre diesel (with two power outputs) to choose from. The 2.0-litres are only available with four-wheel drive, while the cheaper-to-run front-wheel-drive Sportages are powered by the smaller petrol and diesel.
We think the 1.7-litre diesel is the best of the bunch, as it’s quite economical but also capable of moving a fully loaded Sportage briskly. Four-wheel drive isn’t really necessary unless you live in a fairly rural area or expect to be dealing with snow and ice on a regular basis in winter. It should be noted, however, that if you want your Sportage to have an automatic gearbox, you have to go with the 2.0-litre 4x4 diesel setup.
Despite its name, the Sportage isn’t what you’d call sporty. It’s a heavy enough car that leans a bit in corners and can be unsettled by a poorly surfaced road. Comfort is the name of the game here, so if you want a more satisfying driving experience, we’d steer you in the direction of the Mazda CX-5 or maybe the (admittedly more expensive) BMW X3.
Interior space is one area where the Sportage doesn’t come up short: the boot is huge, with extra luggage space under the floor. This is an easy car to see out of in general, but rear visibility could be better. Fortunately, parking sensors are available to eliminate the need for guesswork.
Choosing your Sportage’s specification is fairly simple. The two-wheel-drive models are simply known as Sportage 1, 2, 3 and 4, while four-wheel drive adds a ‘KX’ prefix to those names. As standard, the 1 and KX1 get alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control and air-conditioning, which is pretty generous.
We’d recommend stepping up to the 2 or KX2 if you can afford it though, as that means you get to enjoy a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone air-conditioning, half-leather seats and those all-important parking sensors.
The Sportage is reliable enough to ensure that you probably won’t need to call on that seven-year warranty. It also boasts a five-star Euro NCAP crash-safety rating, along with standard electronic stability control, hill-start assistance and ISOFIX child-seat mounts.