- Strong performance
- Comfortable interior
- Range of powertrain choices
Considering Kia only started trading in the UK in 1991, with the little Pride supermini, the Sportage has been around for all bar the first four years of that 22-year stretch.
Despite becoming an evergreen model range, the mid-size SUV has never been more desirable – combining a mix of practicality, comfort, and dynamics with an increasingly premium finish.
Engines and Performance
Now available in 14 variants with a choice of six powertrains including petrol, diesel, mild hybrid, full hybrid and plug-in hybrid and four model grades, this fifth generation Sportage is the first to be specifically designed and developed for Europe.
Our tested model, in entry grade '2' spec, featured the brand's 1.6-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol unit in the 6-speed manual version with front-wheel drive.
We did over 300 miles of mixed urban, rural road and motorway driving, and returned an average 36mpg – short of the official 42.2mpg figure but certainly reasonable.
Design and Practicality
This is a smart-looking car, more premium than ever and heralding an interior ingeniously designed so that the controls can be easily accessed.
Longer, wider and marginally taller than its predecessor, the Sportage not only boasts better head and legroom for passengers but also greater carrying capacity.
There’s up to 591 litres of luggage space on offer with all the seats in position and a maximum boot capacity of 1,780 litres with the rear seats folded down.
The use of higher quality materials also becomes apparent from the moment you step into the Sportage.
Yes, there are still one or two plastic areas, particularly around the fascia, but the feel and durability of the seats, switches, and stowage areas is enviable.
Plenty of space up front makes for a bright, airy cabin and there’s room for three across the back without a centre rear passenger needing to feel squeezed, and when more capacity is needed for shifting loads, the 40/20/40 split rear seats fold down easily by tugging on a lever.
And, in an effort to keep things practical, there are some simple but useful features – like the way the cupholders in the centre console rotate out and can be pushed out of the way when not in use. There are also hangers in the rear headrests for jackets or bags.
Equipment and Technology
While entry level cars have to make do with an 8-inch infotainment screen, all other versions get a smart curved display featuring twin 12.3-inch HD screens, with the instrument cluster in front of the driver using liquid crystal technology for more precise graphics on all models.
Other tech on offer includes LED headlamps and running lights, collision avoidance, 12V power sockets and parking sensors as standard, plus smart cruise control, blind spot assist, navigation and leather upholstery on higher spec models.
Smooth and nicely balanced to drive, the Sportage has quite light steering but its premium feel, versatility, and high level of tech make it a pleasure to own, while its eye-catching design – with a fresh take on Kia’s trademark tiger nose grille – make it a head-turner too.
And, even in the entry level '2' spec, you're treated to more than enough features and equipment to keep you going.
All prices are correct at the time of review, may be subject to change.