In-depth reviews

Kia Sportage review

Featuring plenty of space, the latest on-board technology and a comfortable ride, the Kia Sportage is a first-rate family SUV

The sharp, ultra-modern look of the Kia Sportage is a bold move from the Korean manufacturer, but one that should at least help its family SUV stand out from a slew of all-too familiar rivals. Elsewhere, the Sportage has been improved in all the right areas – there’s more passenger room, a bigger boot, a stunning new infotainment system and a choice of efficient hybrid engines, including plug-in technology for the first time.

The Sportage doesn’t provide that much entertainment out on the road, but then that’s missing the point; comfort and refinement are excellent, while Kia has added extra practical touches to make its best-selling SUV even easier to live with. 

About the Kia Sportage

Kia has a successful history of producing capable family cars, built with practicality, efficiency and reliability firmly in mind. More recently the manufacturer has introduced a raft of electrified powertrains to further boost its appeal with customers looking to reduce day-to-day running costs, and the fifth-generation Sportage SUV is the latest model to benefit from mild, full and plug-in hybrid technology across its range.

The Sportage has evolved over the past thirty years or so, from a bland, agricultural SUV which sold in relatively low numbers, to a stylish family favourite that has become the Korean automaker’s best-seller in the UK. The third-generation model, launched in 2010, showed the way forward, with its handsome looks and useful practicality helping to steal buyers away from the all-conquering Nissan Qashqai.

Fast forward to the present day and Kia hasn’t forgotten the importance of bold design – its all-electric EV6 crossover is a real head-turner, while the quirky-looking Soul EV has a distinctive look that means it won’t get lost in the crowd. It’s a style theme that the Sportage continues, with a striking front-end and modern, clean surfaces that actually make the bigger fifth-gen model feel quite compact. 

With a huge number of capable rivals in the mid-size SUV market, the Sportage will have its work cut out. The Hyundai Tucson is based on the same N3 platform as the Sportage and was our 2021 mid-size SUV of the Year, while the Volkswagen Group offers up excellent competition in the form of the SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq.

If you’re after more driving fun, then maybe look towards the Ford Kuga or Mazda CX-5, with the former offering efficient full- and plug-in hybrid models. As mentioned above, the Nissan Qashqai has previously been a popular choice for family buyers, although has maybe lost a little of its shine with the arrival of more talented opposition. In this competitive class, it would also be hard to recommend either the Honda CR-V or the Vauxhall Grandland. Neither are particularly bad choices, it’s just that other rivals offer a more complete package.

Kia provides regular petrol and diesel powertrains in the Sportage lineup, with 48V mild-hybrid versions also included in the range. The 148bhp 1.6 T-GDi petrol unit is available with a six-speed manual gearbox, or a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission, while the 1.6 CRDi oil-burner is offered with a choice of outputs: a 113bhp version paired with the six-speed manual ‘box, or a 134bhp variant matched with the seven-speed automatic.

The Sportage hybrid and plug-in hybrid models provide more power, with 226bhp and 261bhp, respectively. Both use a six-speed automatic transmission, with the PHEV versions benefiting from all-wheel-drive as standard.

Buyers may find it more difficult to source a diesel model currently, as the manufacturer has temporarily taken the CRDi versions off the price list in order to maintain supply of the more popular petrol, hybrid and PHEV powertrains.

Trim levels move from the entry-level 2 specification (148bhp petrol and 113bhp diesel variants only), through 3, 4, GT-Line and GT-Line S. The mid-spec 3 trim is arguably the sweet spot in the range; well-equipped with dual 12.3-inch displays, partial (man-made) leather upholstery, heated seats and smart cruise control.

Kia offers the Sportage from around £27,000, although prices climb quickly with the top-spec plug-in hybrid cars costing more than £40,000. Overall, though, the Sportage is still good value compared with close rivals such as the Ford Kuga and Skoda Karoq - both of which have higher starting prices.

For an alternative review of the Kia Sportage, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.6 GDi ISG 2 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £23,530

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 GDi ISG 2 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £23,530

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6T GDi ISG GT-Line 5dr DCT Auto [AWD]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £28,800

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