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Car group tests

Kia Sportage vs Renault Kadjar

We see if Kia’s new Sportage has what it takes to chop down the Renault Kadjar and take the compact crossover crown

Kia’s upmarket charge is in full swing, and it’s the firm’s crossovers that are leading the way. First came the smart Sorento seven-seater, and the Sportage is the latest model to join the family. The newcomer offers revised looks, improved practicality and efficiency, plus enough kit to worry its rivals – and they’re a talented bunch.

For the Sportage’s road test debut, we’ve lined up some tough competition in the form of the Renault Kadjar. It’s our current compact crossover champ, having seen off challenges from the Nissan Qashqai, the Toyota RAV4 and the Hyundai Tucson; so if Kia wants to rise to the top of this hotly contested class, it’s going to have to beat the best.

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Best crossovers on the market

Yet things look positive for the Sportage – prices might have crept up a touch, with the entry-level car now costing £495 more, but the rise is acceptable across the range given the extra tech you get as standard.

The previous model’s eye-catching design was a big draw and helped launch the Kia as a mainstream alternative to the likes of the popular Qashqai. So will the new Sportage, with its curvier looks, pick up where the old car left off?

Head-to-head

Design

Image is important in a compact crossover, and the Kadjar has attractive proportions and slick styling. But Kia’s new corporate face gives the Sportage a more challenging design than its square-set predecessor, and might take some people a little longer to adapt to. It works on the larger Sorento, but is a little more awkward here. 

Ease of use

Crossovers should combine decent driving dynamics with the flexibility of an SUV, so how easy they are to use day-to-day is a good measure of how well  they work. Kia has improved practicality, but the Kadjar is still more adaptable, even if its rival here is better to drive.

Upgrades

You can make both cars look more rugged, but boot liners and bike racks will enhance their usability. Four-wheel drive can be specified, although to get this you have to buy the less efficient 1.6-litre dCi in the Renault and the 2.0-litre CRDi in the Kia.

Verdict 

First place: Renault Kadjar

It’s already seen off plenty of talented rivals, and the Kadjar has claimed another scalp here. Extra safety tech helps boost its appeal, while it pretty much matches the Sportage’s equipment spec. The Renault delivers strong performance from its more frugal diesel engine, meaning it makes more sense for private buyers and business users. Plus, it’s more comfortable.

Second place: Kia Sportage

The new Sportage’s styling might take some getting used to, and in two-wheel-drive form, it can’t match the Kadjar for efficiency. That, combined with pricier servicing, means the Kia will be more expensive to run than its rival. Stronger residuals and a more upmarket interior aren’t enough to overcome the car’s practicality disadvantage and stiff ride.

Other options in this category...

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta

Price: £21,880Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 108bhp

Nissan Qashqai - front action

The Qashqai uses the same engine and chassis as the Kadjar and emits the same 99g/km of CO2. If the Renault’s looks are too flamboyant, the Nissan is more reserved and drives just the same, so could be well worth considering. 

Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi SE Nav

Price: £23,145Engine: 1.7-litre 4cyl, 114bhp

Hyundai Tucson 2016 - front tracking

Hyundai’s Tucson uses the same platform and 1.7 diesel engine as the Kia. SE Nav spec is more expensive than the Sportage 2, but you get a larger eight-inch touchscreen as standard. However, the boot is smaller than the Kia’s, at 488 litres.

Figures

 Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Dynamique NavKia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDi
On-the-road price/total as tested£21,595/22,220£22,050/£22,595
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£9,975/46.2%£11,700/53.1%
Depreciation£11,620£10,350
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£732/£1,465£924/£1,848
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,158/£1,931£1,265/£2,108
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost14/£518/A/£012/£469/C/£30
Servicing costs£299 (3yrs/30k)£329 (3yrs)
   
Length/wheelbase4,449/2,646mm4,480/2,670mm
Height/width1,613/1,836mm1,635/1,855mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,461cc4cyl in-line/1,685cc
Peak power 108/4,000 bhp/rpm114/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 260/1,750 Nm/rpm280/1,250 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/£9562 litres/space-saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 527/1,620 litres491/1,480 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,380/536/1,350kg1,500/500/1,400kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.7 metres/N/A10.6 metres/0.33Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery4yrs (100,000)/4yrs7yrs (100,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers18,000 miles (1yr)/15320,000 miles (1yr)/170
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.7th/12th19th/14th 
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars89/81/74/71/590/83/66/71/5
   
0-60/30-70mph11.7/11.8 secs11.5/12.2 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 4.7/7.5 secs4.7/6.2 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 11.6/15.5 secs10.6/16.4 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 113mph/2,000rpm109mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 53.4/33.6/11.1m52.7/29.2/8.8m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph71/46/58/67dB73/53/62/72dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range47.6/10.5/576 miles43.6/9.6/595 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined68.9/78.5/74.3mpg52.3/67.3/61.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined15.2/17.3/16.3mpl11.5/14.8/13.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket159/99g/km/17%174/119g/km/21%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/£400/noSix/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB*£1,200/yes/yes/noNo/yes/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/no/no
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£625/no/yes£545/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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