Kia Sportage – old vs new compared

The Kia Sportage is well established in the crossover segment as a stylish, reliable and comfortable alternative to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga. It’s released a new version for 2016 that gets a brace of upgrades – read on to discover what’s new.

Kia claims the new Sportage offers improved refinement, greater efficiency and even better on-road manners compared to the car it replaces. Already strong qualities such as its seven-year warranty and excellent standard equipment are carried over to the new model.

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Kia Sportage old vs new styling

After appointing former Audi designer Peter Schreyer to head up its design team in 2006, Kia’s range developed into some of the most attractive shapes on the market. The outgoing Sportage is one of the brand’s biggest hits – well-proportioned, contemporary and distinguished by the brand’s ‘tiger nose’ grille. It was undoubtedly one of the most handsome and recognisable cars in its class.

Whether the new car stands the test of time as well remains to be seen. The distinctive grille remains, but the headlights have shifted higher up the bonnet – a move which, to our eyes, looks less cohesive. Elsewhere, the new model is handsome enough, though, and it looks like a very high quality product. Proportions from the side are almost exactly the same as the outgoing model but the new version reportedly offers more interior space.

Kia Sportage old vs new interior

Every passing generation of Kia seems to mark a huge leap forward in the brand’s perceived quality. While the previous Sportage’s cabin was nice enough – the dashboard was well-built and easy on the eye (if finished almost entirely in the same single shade of underwhelming grey plastic) – the new car lifts quality to near-Volkswagen levels of fit and finish. The view out the front is great thanks to the high driving position, but rearward visibility is quite poor on both new and old models.

The new model is more practical. Head- and legroom have increased slightly both front and rear, thanks to the new car’s longer wheelbase – 30mm more than the previous-gen model. This means that four six-footers can fit inside with ease and accommodation for rear-seat passengers is boosted by the ability to recline their seats by up to 14 degrees.

The extra passenger space in the new car hasn’t compromised the cargo bay either. The old Sportage had a 465-litre boot – above average for the class – but the new model beats that figure, offering 491. In comparison, the class-leading Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar pair offer 430 and 472 litres respectively.

Kia Sportage old vs new driving

An all-new platform underpins the latest Sportage, helping it achieve greater refinement and sharper driving dynamics compared to the old model. The outgoing car was often criticised for suffering from a little too much body roll in corners but this has been addressed to some extent in the new car, with body movements far more controlled overall. The steering setup is more pleasant, too – it’s precise, quick and doesn’t require constant corrections on the motorway.

Despite the tauter handling, the smooth ride of the old Sportage hasn’t been sacrificed. The car remains supple on all but the worst surfaces, and thumps and crashes from the suspension are well suppressed. Refinement is also noticeably improved with increased use of sound-deadening materials, helping the new car to be quieter on the move.

While the Sportage doesn’t offer the off-road ability of a Land Rover Discovery Sport, some models in the range are offered with four-wheel drive. It defaults to powering the front wheels for efficiency, but can transfer up to 40 per cent of the engine’s torque to the rear if any front-end slip is detected. While it won’t climb every mountain, it won’t get stuck in the snow or a muddy car park.

Kia Sportage old vs new engines

The latest Sportage carries some of its engine range over from the outgoing model, with one new addition – a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol. Mated to a four-wheel-drive system as standard, this 174hp unit is the most refined choice in the range – and considerably smoother than anything the old car offers – though a claimed 37.2mpg might put off some buyers.

Elsewhere, the existing 1.6 non-turbo petrol returns near-identical performance and economy figures in the new car, despite the overall increase in size. It’s an ideal unit for those who only cover short mileages, but many drivers will be better served with one of the diesel options.

The 1.7-litre diesel engine produces 114hp and, when equipped with a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, can achieve a claimed 61.4mpg – 7.4mpg better than the old car. It becomes slightly grumbly under heavy acceleration so, if refinement is a priority, we’d recommend choosing the larger 2.0-litre model.

Available with 134hp or 182hp depending on spec, the 2.0-litre is smooth and hushed. A peak torque figure of 295lb ft ensures that the top-spec unit is flexible at speed and makes for a great tow car (with a max limit of 2,200kg). Performance and economy have improved over the old model, too. It takes 9.2 seconds to cover the 0-62mph dash and returns a claimed 47.9mpg – improvements of 0.2 seconds and 1.6mpg respectively.

Kia Sportage old vs new value for money

The old Sportage could never be considered miserly in terms of equipment levels, but the replacement trumps it for standard kit. All versions get standard-fit Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, DAB digital radio, tinted rear windows, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and air conditioning.

Higher up the range, ‘3’ spec models and beyond gain 19-inch alloy wheels plus leather upholstery with front and rear heated rear seats as standard. GT-Line models add a range of sporty touches including the rather fetching quad-LED fog lamps and launch models can be ordered in a high-spec First Edition trim that includes self-parking and wireless phone charging.

One of the key selling points of any Kia has been an industry-leading seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The good news is that this remains on the new Sportage, guaranteeing buyers’ peace of mind.

Kia Sportage old vs new prices

The cheapest model in the Sportage range is the 1.6-litre petrol in ‘1’ trim. Costing from £17,995, it represents a modest £495 increase over the price of the equivalent outgoing model. The most generously-equipped ‘KX-4’ models equipped with the 182hp diesel and auto gearbox are priced at £30,710, compared to £29,505 for the old car.

Save money on your new Kia Sportage

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Kia Sportage

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