The Kia Sportage is a competitively priced family SUV with a roomy cabin and fairly economical engines, but some alternatives have bigger boots and less divisive styling
Remember when smartphones from Samsung and LG were second-best? Well, those days are gone, and so are those when Korean car manufacturers couldn’t be taken seriously too. These days, the Kia Sportage is practical inside, keenly priced and comes better-equipped than a Renault Kadjar or Nissan Qashqai
Whichever model you pick, the Kia Sportage comes with a simple dashboard layout which is easy to navigate, and most of the materials you’ll touch regularly feel just as upmarket as in those in a Skoda Karoq. Despite this, it doesn’t look particularly exciting inside.
Still, you do get a touchscreen infotainment system as standard across the range and a few flashy touches in high-spec models, such as red piping on the leather seats in sporty GT-Line cars.
The Kia Sportage edges ahead of most alternatives in the practicality stakes, though. There’s space in the front seats for six-footers to get comfy and there’s even room in the back for three adults to stretch out thanks to the neat reclining rear seats. And it’s not just passengers the Kia Sportage can carry with ease – the boot’s far bigger than the Nissan Qashqai’s.
If you regularly carry lots of heavy luggage, it’s best to avoid the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol engine. There’s a more powerful turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol that makes lighter work of motorway journeys, but one of the two 1.6-litre diesels will be your best bet if you load up regularly or do plenty of long trips.
Spotting the changes Kia’s made to this revised Sportage is like playing find the needle in a haystack…
There’s also a Kia Sportage hybrid that uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine and an electric motor to help it deliver impressive pulling power but without using too much fuel, although it is pricey to buy.
You can get the Kia Sportage with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. The former’s worth considering if you spend lots of time in heavy traffic, but the more expensive – and thirstier – four-wheel-drive models are best avoided unless you need it.
Whichever engine you pick, you’ll find driving the Kia Sportage is a mostly relaxing experience. It’s quiet at motorway speeds and reasonably comfortable over bumps in town. It isn’t even difficult to park since you get a reversing camera as standard.
Unfortunately, unlike many family SUVs, you don’t get automatic emergency braking on entry-level Kia Sportages – you’ll need a higher-spec model for that. That shouldn’t dissuade you from considering the Sportage, however – it’s still a good all-round family car, especially if you regularly carry tall passengers in the back.