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
The Kia Sportage is a practical family SUV with a wide range of engines and a better-equipped interior than you’ll find in the likes of the Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai.
The current Kia Sportage first went on sale in 2016 but it received a few subtle tweaks in 2018 to keep its bold – if divisive – styling looking fresh. Since this refresh, you can also get the Kia Sportage with a range of new engines, including a 2.0-litre diesel with a mild hybrid system designed to improve performance and fuel efficiency.
It doesn’t stop there, however – a few changes have also been made to the Kia Sportage’s interior. You now 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.
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, but at least it’s streets ahead of the dull-as-dishwater cabin you get in a Renault Kadjar.
So it might not be the most stylish SUV on sale, but the Kia Sportage edges ahead of most alternatives in the practicality stakes. 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.
It’s not just passengers the Kia Sportage can carry with ease – the boot’s far bigger than the Nissan Qashqai’s and it has no trouble swallowing a family’s large suitcases. Fold the back seats down and there’s room for a bike, but both the Hyundai Tucson and Skoda Karoq have bigger, more practical load bays.
Spotting the changes Kia’s made to this revised Sportage is like playing find the needle in a haystack…
If you regularly carry lots of heavy luggage, it’s best to avoid the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol engine. This feels sluggish at the best of times but at least it’s pretty economical. 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 do plenty of long trips. Neither’s quite as quick as the more spritely petrol, but they cruise along quietly and cost less to run.
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.
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 plan to regularly tow a heavy trailer.
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. 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 – for that, you have to pay extra for a high-spec ‘4 ‘ model. 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.
Take a look at the very latest Kia Sportage deals or read more in-depth info on the Kia Sportage in the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages.