The Kia Sportage is a spacious and comfy SUV that gives you a nice high view over the road ahead – it’s a shame the diesel engine can be noisy and isn’t as economical as alternatives
The Kia Sportage is a good-value SUV with a long warranty, big boot and roomy back seats. And so long as you can get past its bold – but slightly Marmite – looks it’s a thoroughly decent family SUV.
Sadly its eye-catching looks don’t extend to the slightly boring interior, but everything inside is well built and the stitching effect across the dashboard gives it a bit of added poshness compared to the Hyundai Tucson, although it’s still some way off the Volkswagen Tiguan in terms of premium feel.
In general though, it feels more expensive than you’d expect given the Sportage’s reasonable price, and things like Bluetooth and air conditioning are standard on all versions. You’ll want to avoid entry-level models, however, because they don’t get the clear, easy-to-use seven-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system that adds a splash of colour to all other versions.
All Sportage models come with plenty of space for back-seat passengers, and the reclining rear seats add a bit of extra comfort on long trips. You won’t have a problem fitting everyone’s luggage in the big boot, which is significantly bigger than the Nissan Qashqai’s. The Kia gets an adjustable boot floor too, which removes the load lip to help you slide heavy objects in and out.
Need to carry longer objects? The Sportage can carry two rear-seat passengers and some narrow flat-pack furniture at the same time. Fold all the rear seats down and you’re left with a vast space that’ll easily hold a bicycle with both wheels attached – or last year’s Christmas tree.
The Sportage is one of the best SUVs you can buy for this price – it even has a seven-year warranty!
Although the Sportage is a relatively big, spacious car, it’s not hard to drive. The light steering helps you nip into gaps in traffic and the high seating position means your view out is really good – the only real blind spot is caused by the small rear window, and you get parking sensors on all but the entry-level model to help counteract this.
It’s worth noting that the Sportage feels slightly sportier than the Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Qashqai, and the Kia’s firmer suspension helps stop it leaning in corners – so any kids in the back won’t feel so car sick on twisty roads. Thankfully this extra sportiness doesn’t come at the cost of comfort over bumps.
Choosing an engine for the Sportage is as simple as driving it – your best bet is the 1.7-litre diesel. It’s a bit noisy, but it’s just about quick enough and reasonably efficient for motorway driving, and it’s more economical than the smoother, less-efficient 1.6-litre petrol. Sadly none of the Kia’s engines is as economical as those you’ll get in the Nissan Qashqai or VW Tiguan.
Whichever you pick though, the Sportage is safe – it scored a full five-stars in Euro NCAP’s 2015 crash tests. Okay, there are alternatives with more efficient engines and less divisive looks, but the Sportage is very practical and no other SUV can match the Kia’s value and seven-year warranty.