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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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’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.
|Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi Dynamique Nav||Kia 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%|
|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/cost||14/£518/A/£0||12/£469/C/£30|
|Servicing costs||£299 (3yrs/30k)||£329 (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,461cc||4cyl in-line/1,685cc|
|Peak power||108/4,000 bhp/rpm||114/4,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||260/1,750 Nm/rpm||280/1,250 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||55 litres/£95||62 litres/space-saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||527/1,620 litres||491/1,480 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.7 metres/N/A||10.6 metres/0.33Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||4yrs (100,000)/4yrs||7yrs (100,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||18,000 miles (1yr)/153||20,000 miles (1yr)/170|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||7th/12th||19th/14th|
|0-60/30-70mph||11.7/11.8 secs||11.5/12.2 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||4.7/7.5 secs||4.7/6.2 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||11.6/15.5 secs||10.6/16.4 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||113mph/2,000rpm||109mph/2,000rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||71/46/58/67dB||73/53/62/72dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||47.6/10.5/576 miles||43.6/9.6/595 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||159/99g/km/17%||174/119g/km/21%|
|Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB*||£1,200/yes/yes/no||No/yes/yes/no|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/no/no||Yes/no/no|
|Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£625/no/yes||£545/no/no|