Kia Sportage review - Interior, design and technology
The sharp, modern-looking exterior of the Sportage may not appeal to everyone, but the new onboard technology is a standout feature
According to Kia, innovative design and advanced technology were key priorities for the fifth-generation Sportage. Has the Korean automaker succeeded in delivering on its aims? Well, the Sportage’s exterior is certainly striking, with a dramatic, ultra-modern front-end that immediately draws the eye. The stretched grille and arrow-like running lights will probably divide opinion, but the overall look is pretty impressive.
In terms of on-board tech, the Sportage draws inspiration from its all-electric EV6 sibling, with mid- to high-spec versions featuring dual 12.3-inch screens that give a panoramic feel to the overall display. It feels a real step-up over the previous model and quality is first-rate.
When we the pitted the Sportage head-to-head against the Vauxhall Grandland, we found the cabin of the Kia felt more expensive, and the touchpoints, like the steering wheel and the buttons on it, were better to hold. There’s loads of adjustment in the steering wheel too, so it's very easy for a wide range of body types to get comfortable.
Standard kit on the entry-level '2' trim takes a little of the shine away from the cabin; it gets a smaller 8.0-inch touchscreen and a 4.3-inch digital driver’s display, but does include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You have to upgrade to the '3' specification to benefit from kit such as partial leather upholstery, heated front and rear outer seats, a heated steering wheel and dual 12.3-inch displays.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Sportage models in '3' trim or above come with the same pair of curved 12.3-inch screens as seen in the all-electric EV6 – one for the instruments and one for the touchscreen infotainment system. The set-up works very well, with their near-vertical positioning and concave screens all but eliminating any reflection.
There’s lots of information on offer via the simple menu system, which is easy to navigate. Loading times are fast, while the sharp graphics with black backgrounds are easy to read. The brightness of the screens can be turned all the way down at night so that they don’t dazzle and cause a distraction, too.
Some functions are a little more cluttered than they need to be, however: the driver-assist page, for example, combines a regular menu with a graphical layout of the car’s exterior and the safety functions, while route plotting needs more confirmation presses than necessary, but it’s easy to get along with otherwise.
A useful strip of dashboard trim between the touchscreen and lower control panel (which switches between climate or infotainment controls), is convenient for resting your hand on when using the screen. Wireless smartphone charging is only available as standard on '4' and GT-Line S trim levels, but there are USB and USB-C connections on the dash in other variants.
In this review
- 1Kia Sportage reviewFeaturing plenty of space, the latest on-board technology and a comfortable ride, the Kia Sportage is a first-rate family SUV
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Sportage is well set-up for town driving, while hybrid models provide decent pace
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsBuyers will be tempted by the low running costs of the Sportage hybrid models, although they are more expensive to buy than standard petrol cars
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe sharp, modern-looking exterior of the Sportage may not appeal to everyone, but the new onboard technology is a standout feature
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceFamily buyers looking for a practical, spacious SUV must consider the Kia Sportage
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Kia Sportage boasts superb levels of standard safety kit, a generous seven-year warranty and there’s reassuring customer feedback from our Driver Power survey, too