There’s healthy competition in the compact SUV crossover class, so cars at the front of the pack only 18 months ago have to raise their game to keep up with newer arrivals.
One such model is the Kia Sportage. When it was introduced in 2010, it caused quite a stir thanks to its cutting-edge styling, practical interior and decent amount of standard kit. Yet Kia has now decided the Sportage needs an update, and has introduced a subtly revised version.
But is it enough to keep Kia in class contention? To find out, we’ve lined up the new model against the new Nissan Qashqai, which was launched at the start of the year and has already beaten the pre-facelifted predecessor (Issue 1,301). We try both cars in efficient front-wheel-drive guise.
So can the Sportage hold its own against the newer Qashqai?
Click the links below for the full verdict on each car...
Now read our head-to-head group test results below...
The Acenta Premium-spec Nissan Qashqai and above get a fixed glass roof that stretches uninterrupted from the top of the windscreen to just above the C-pillars. It gives the interior a bright, airy feel, while a powered blind keeps the cabin cool when the car is parked in sunlight. However, the Kia Sportage goes one better: the front section of its roof slides back, creating a big opening above the driver and passenger.
BOTH cars have LED lighting tech, but the Nissan’s set-up is more sophisticated. It uses the energy-saving bulbs for the headlamps and daytime running lights (DRLs). The Sportage has distinctive LEDs in the indicator side repeaters and DRLs, but uses xenons for the dipped and main beam.
The Kia Sportage features an efficiency-boosting ecoDynamics kit which includes stop-start, and helps to peg the Sportage’s CO2 output at 143g/km – or 135g/km with 17-inch alloys. That’s still much higher than the Qashqai, which emits a supermini-rivalling 99g/km.
The Nissan Qashqai maintains its advantage over the revised Kia Sportage. It’s more refined and comfortable than its rival, while low emissions and better fuel economy mean more affordable running costs. Add decent equipment and a versatile interior, and it’s the smart choice here.
The Kia Sportage is a decent crossover – it looks good and the updates have definitely improved the cabin. But the rest of the revisions aren’t enough to put it back to the front of the class, and Kia needs to do more work on emissions to make it competitive.
|Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium||Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3 Nav|
|On the road price/total as tested||£23,180/£25,855||£23,900/£24,395|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£10,906/47.1%||£13,279/55.6%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£694/£1,388||£1,138/£2,275|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,744/£2,907||£1,904/£3,174|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||14/£302/A/£0||13/£283/F/£145|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£159/£249/£159||£329 (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,461cc||4cyl in-line/1,685cc|
|Peak power/revs||109/4,000 bhp/rpm||114/4,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||260/1,750 Nm/rpm||260/1,250 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/FWD||6-spd man/FWD|
|55 litres/repair kit||55 litres/full alloy|
|Boot capacity||430/1,585 litres||564/1,353 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.7 metres/N/A||10.6 metres/0.37Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||7yrs (100,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||18k miles (1yr)/225||20k miles (1yr)/170|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||22nd/11th*||7th/10th*|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||88/83/69/5||93/86/49/5|
|0-60/30-70mph||11.0/11.4 secs||11.9/12.4 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||4.7/7.4 secs||4.7/6.1 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th||10.1/12.7 secs||9.4/12.4 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||113mph/2,000rpm||107mph/2,250rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||42.6/9.4/515 miles||39.0/8.6/472 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||178/99g/km/15%||194/143g/km/24%|
|Adapt dampers/air susp/hill descent||Yes/no/no||Yes/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes/yes||No/yes/yes|
|Met paint/xenon lights/cruise control||£525/no/yes||£510/yes/yes|