Kia Sportage Review & Prices
The Kia Sportage is a practical family SUV with plenty of tech and bold styling – however the ride is slightly firmer than on some alternatives
Find out more about the Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage is a bit like a Smeg fridge, in the way that it’s an essential part of a family home that has been styled to make it seem more trendy. You may be considering the Sportage if you’re also looking at family SUVs, such as the Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Qashqai.
You’re certainly not likely to lose the Sportage in a supermarket car park. The boomerang-style LED running lights up front and the big ‘tiger nose’ grille give it a presence that is only really matched by the Hyundai Tucson. The rear of the car also gets some funky-looking LED lights and the whole car is covered in bold creases and angles. It certainly stands out, but we’ll let you draw your own conclusions on the styling.
The interior is slightly more subdued, but not in a bad way. The materials in your direct eyeline are soft touch and there are plenty of metallic details around the place to liven it up, although it’s not quite as snazzy as a Peugeot 3008’s cabin. If you look lower down you’ll find some harder plastics, but this isn’t uncommon for cars in this class and overall the build quality is solid.
Hidden in the huge panel on the dash you’ll find two 12.3-inch screens for the infotainment and driver's display. Both are easy to use and customise as you’d like, however the climate control can be fiddly. There are touch-sensitive shortcut buttons below the main display, but these can be tricky to figure out on the move.
Group Test: Honda HR-V v Hyundai Tucson v Kia Sportage v Nissan Qashqai
At least space is plentiful. Up front, both the driver and passenger will have plenty of room. Rear seat passengers shouldn’t have any complaints either, as there is adequate knee and head room. Fitting a child seat won’t throw up any challenges as the rear doors open nice and wide, and it has impressive space in the boot, with it only lagging behind the Hyundai Tucson.
Out on the road, the Sportage is easy to drive. The forward visibility is good and the light steering makes low-speed manoeuvres a breeze. It feels secure on a twisty road and it doesn’t roll too much in the bends, but if it’s fun you’re looking for then check out the Ford Kuga. It’s relaxing on the motorway, even though the suspension is a little on the firm side, making it feel a little unsettled over bumps.
The Kia Sportage is available with a range of engines including petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. The petrol and diesel models can be paired to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic, while the hybrids are automatic only. If you go for the standard hybrid model, it has plenty of punch for overtaking and the petrol engine cuts in and out smoothly as it switches to and from electric power. The pricier plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, can manage an impressive real-world electric range of about 40 miles – which is fantastic if you want to save a bit of money at the fuel pumps and on company car tax.
The Kia Sportage may not be the most comfortable family SUV on the market, but it’s spacious, well-equipped and a great all-rounder
There’s plenty of safety kit on board, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. There is also something called Blind Spot Collision Avoidance, which can detect if you’re turning into the path of a car and automatically steer to try and avoid an incident. All this makes it very safe, however sometimes the systems can be a little bit sensitive and unnecessarily cut in too readily.
This aside however, the Kia Sportage would make a great addition to any family’s driveway thanks to its practicality, technology and unique styling. It’s just a shame that the ride is a bit firmer than some would like.
If you want to see how much you could save on a Kia Sportage or other Kia models, check out carwow to see how much you could save. Check out the used car page too, where you could find the right car for you second-hand.
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The Kia Sportage has a RRP range of £29,345 to £45,745. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,796. Prices start at £26,547 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £286. The price of a used Kia Sportage on carwow starts at £19,111.
Our most popular versions of the Kia Sportage are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.6T GDi 157 48V ISG 2 5dr||£26,547||Compare offers|
As you’d expect from Kia, the Sportage is really well-priced. The Korean brand may have shed its bargain-basement image in recent years, but good value is still a primary concern for Kia buyers. It’s actually a little bit cheaper than the equivalent (and mechanically similar) Hyundai Tucson in basic form, and also a touch more affordable than the basic Nissan Qashqai. It’s well-priced as a hybrid, too — fractionally undercutting the Toyota RAV4, which is about the same size overall.
The Sportage only gets really expensive once you’re into the top-spec hybrid or plug-in hybrid models, where prices stretch to more than £40,000. That’s a lot for a Kia, even these days.
The Sportage manages to be a sensible all-rounder across all road conditions, but the suspension makes the ride feel a bit firm
If pootling around town is your thing, then the hybrid Sportage is the best choice. It’ll reach speeds of up to 40mph in electric mode, albeit only for very short bursts before the petrol engine kicks in again. If you need a quick burst of acceleration, then the Sportage takes a tiny but noticeable pause while it works out if it needs to bring in the petrol engine. Obviously, that’s not a problem with the regular non-hybrid petrol and diesel models, but these aren’t as refined around town.
The Sportage’s steering is nice and light, but it's not the most comfortable car to drive — it tackles speed bumps smoothly, but you’ll feel potholes more than you would in, say, a Volkswagen Tiguan. It does have nice progessive brakes though — not always the case with hybrids. The low dashboard and high driving position give you a good view out (although the back window is rather small), and the turning circle is average for the class — it’ll cope with mini roundabouts well enough.
The brakes have a good feel, but they do make a weird groaning sound at low speeds, while the rear-view camera gets too easily covered in road grime. Mind you, that camera is very high-def, and there’s an optional 3D, 360-degree camera setup. The Sportage can, cleverly, also show the view from little blind-spot cameras mounted in the door mirrors in pop-up displays in the driver’s digital instrument panel. High spec models even get an automated parking remote control, which can nudge the Sportage out of a tight parking space before you even sit into the car.
On the motorway
Put your foot down on a slip road and the hybrid Sportage will pick up speed quite nicely, but you will get a big, loud burst of engine drone — almost inevitable with a hybrid layout — when you do. The plug-in hybrid, with its bigger electric motor, will accelerate even harder again, but the old-school diesel feels a bit more comfortable with this kind of driving.
The hybrid quietens down nicely at cruising speed, but you might find that it’s more thirsty on a long haul than you’d think — we struggled to get it to do better than 40mpg. If you’re doing big miles, maybe get the diesel. You’ll notice a bit of wind noise around the door mirrors, but tyre roar is kept well at bay.
On a twisty road
It may have sport in its name, but the Sportage isn’t very sporty. Come on, it’s a family SUV not a sports car — what did you expect? That said, it still has good grip and that firm suspension means that it doesn’t roll too much in corners. There’s no sense of feedback through the steering wheel though, which doesn’t encourage spirited driving.
There's a Sport mode which means the car reacts quicker to prods of the accelerator pedal and adds more weightiness to the steering, but there’s no more actual feel and the whole setup seems a bit unnatural. To be honest, you’re as well leaving it in normal mode. It’s about as good, in dynamic terms, as a car like this needs to be, although annoyingly, while Kia offers the Sportage with optional adaptive suspension in Europe, it’s not even on the options list in the UK.
You do get a decent amount of space throughout the Sportage, but choosing the plug-in does drop the boot space slightly
The Sportage’s front door bins and glovebox are of an average size — not bad, but the door pockets are a little bit snug for bottles and flasks. There’s better storage in the centre console. Ahead of the gear shifter there’s a lidded storage space which is also home to the (optional) wireless phone charger, and you’ll find some USB sockets and a 12-volt outlet in there too. Under your elbow, there’s a big storage box underneath the armrest, and in front of that there’s more storage space as well as two adjustable cupholders. It’s properly practical, this Kia.
Space in the back seats
There’s good space in the back of the Sportage, and in the six-footer-behind-a-six-footer test, those in the back will have plenty of air between their knees and the back of the front seat. Headroom is good too, even with the optional glass roof but space for your feet is tight, as the seat runners for the front seats intrude onto the rear floor. The back seat is plenty wide enough to get three people in, but again foot space is compromised by the chunky transmission hump. You do get ISOFIX points for child seats in the back, but the anchor points are buried deep, so it’s slightly harder to slot the seats in than with some similar models.
There are some very nice touches though — you get reclining rear seatbacks, and as well as storage pockets and little bag hooks on the back of the front seats, there are also USB-C sockets built in to the front seats which are nice and high up and easier to access than ones that are mounted down low on the centre console. The rear door bins are fine too, and the rear windows go all the way down. There’s an integrated coat hanger in the back of the front seat headrest which is also a nice touch, but which does give rear seat occupants something to grip and jiggle your seat about… Oh, and the roof-mounted middle rear seatbelt is annoying as it cuts across both the driver’s rear view and the head of the person sat in the outer rear seat.
At up to 591 litres, the Sportage’s boot is basically huge. Really, the only other car in its class with more loadspace is the Hyundai Tucson, which can carry up to 620 litres. But bear in mind it drops from that high, which is only for regular petrol models, with mild hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models all being affected to some degree by the need to package batteries. The plug-in has the smallest boot of all at 540 litres, so still decent, just a bit less than other Sportages.
Folding the seats down does allow for up to 1,780 litres in the petrol models, while hybrid models aren't penalised too much for their extra electrical drive components - being no more than 65 litres down.
Other models, like the Seat Ateca (510 litres), Peugeot 3008 (520 litres) and Nissan Qashqai (504 litres) do fall quite a way short of the Sportage at their best. But Volkswagen Tiguan offers 615 litres with its boot, on a similar level to the Tucson.
On the petrol model, you can adjust the height of the boot floor to take away a slight load lip, and very sensibly there’s space under the boot to store the rear luggage blind when you’re not using it. All models also get a 12-volt socket, hooks, tie-down points and handles that release and fold the backs of the rear seats. Those fold down in 40:20:40 formation, so you can still have two people in the back and carry a long, narrow load. There’s no spare wheel though — not even as an option.
High quality and great digital screens, but a few less visible plastics could feel more expensive
The design of the Sportage’s cabin is really nice, with some interesting touches such as the arrow-head air vent just in front of the front seat passenger. Basic models get a titchy 4.3-inch digital instrument screen, but from mid-spec upwards, you get a big, bright, 12.3-inch instrument panel which looks great. That combines with another 12.3-inch infotainment system, so that you have a vast two-foot long curved screen stretching across the dash (well, almost — basic models make do with an 8.0-inch screen in the middle). Kia is actually matching, even besting, some premium-brand models with this infotainment setup, as it looks expensive and it’s easy to use. Helpfully, there’s a second touch-sensitive panel below the big screen which, at the touch of a button, changes from heating and air conditioning controls to shortcuts for the navigation and media selection. If that sounds over-complicated, it’s not — it’s actually really easy to use and the whole setup is so much better than what you’d find in an equivalent Volkswagen.
Quality levels are excellent, and while you will find a few cheaper plastics down low, up top everything’s made of lovely soft-touch stuff. The overall build is rock-solid too, and we couldn’t even make the centre console wobble around in spite of really, really trying to. The circular gear selector is a nice touch for automatic and hybrid models, while we’re pleased to see that the steering wheel buttons are actual proper buttons, and not the fiddly touch-sensitive ones that VW uses. Mind you, why does Kia still insist on giving its steering wheels just a cheap, plastic-y centre section?
The Sportage has a really broad engine lineup that starts with a basic 1.6 diesel, which has either 115hp or 136hp and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic. Then there’s a 150hp turbo petrol, which also has the same gearbox choices. The hybrid Sportage uses the same 1.6-litre petrol engine, but because it’s augmented by an electric motor you now get 226hp and CO2 emissions of 129g/km. That means you’ll save on your first year’s road tax.
Finally, there’s the plug-in hybrid model. Again, that uses the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine but now there’s a bigger battery and a bigger electric motor, so you get 265hp, and just 25g/km emissions. That will make the PHEV version an ideal choice for company car buyers, but the hybrid (Kia, like Toyota, calls it a ‘self-charging’ hybrid) might just be the best all-rounder for most of us. That is unless you’re doing regular long motorway journeys, when the regular old diesel’s superior long-haul fuel economy comes into play.
Kia has loaded the Sportage up with electronic driver aids. As standard, you get forward collision avoidance assistance with pedestrian and cyclist detection, an intelligent speed limiter, lane-following steering, trailer stability assistance if you’re towing, and a tyre pressure monitor. You can optionally add to that, including the clever little blind spot cameras, but they’re only available on top-spec 4 and GT-Line S models, as is the parking collision avoidance system (which automatically brakes if you’re about to back into something), and the remote parking assistant. There’s also a switchable driving mode for four-wheel drive models, which changes the settings for mud, snow, or sand but few Sportage owners are ever likely to really need or use that.
The Sportage has been tested by Euro NCAP for safety, and it scored a full five stars, including an 87% rating for adult occupant protection, and an 86 per cent score for child occupant protection.
Kia has an enviable reputation for both reliability and customer service, and with the brand’s lengthy seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty coming as standard, we don’t expect that many owners will encounter many problems. This model Sportage is too new to be able to get a solid verdict on its reliability, but it carries over engines and other parts from other Kia models, and there are no horror stories circulating in the trade about those, so it’s unlikely that the Sportage will suffer too badly.
There are no four-wheel-drive versions of the entry-level 2 trim in the Kia Sportage range. However, if you want AWD, it is available in the 3, GT-Line and GT-Line S trims, paired with a 1.6-litre petrol-electric hybrid engine.
Kia has built itself a strong reputation for reliability and customer service over the last decade, thanks in part to the brand’s standard seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The current generation of Sportage is too new for us to have a full picture of its reliability, but it carries over engines and other parts from other Kia models. There are no serious issues circulating about those, so the Sportage should be relatively fault-free.
The top-of-the-line version of the Kia Sportage is the GT-Line S. Cars in this trim come with all the latest tech and safety features, including a 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with sat nav and smartphone mirroring; an eight-speaker JBL stereo; surround-view camera; electric front-seat adjustment; and a full-length glass roof. In addition, there are 19-inch alloy wheels, leather front seats with red piping that can be heated or cooled, a wireless phone charger and stainless steel door trims. Safety features include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning and adaptive cruise control.
The latest Kia Sportage can tow a trailer or caravan up to 1,900kg in weight – as long as what’s being towed has its own braking system (known as braked). The unbraked maximum towing weight is 750kg. Older Sportage models can’t tow as much, but all models since 2010 can tow 1,600kg maximum braked.
The Kia Sportage is currently not available through the Motability scheme.
All petrol and hybrid versions of the Kia Sportage going back to 2006 are compliant with the emissions standards of London’s ULEZ. However, only diesel variants dating back to 2015 have a Euro 6-rated engine, so owners of older diesels will have to pay the charge.
The Kia Sportage sits in insurance groups 15 to 26. The variation is based on the different trim and engine options available.
Kia builds the Sportage for the European market at its manufacturing facility in Žilina, Slovakia.
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