The Kia Sportage is one of the most popular family SUVs, and with good reason. It’s roomy, good to drive, well kitted out and has a class leading seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
The Sportage has been around since the 1990s but early versions of the car had little to recommend them apart from their low price.
It was only when the excellent third generation was launched in 2010 that the Kia Sportage became a real contender.
Since then it’s continued to get better and better. The fourth generation was a step forward in terms of technology and refinement, but had divisive looks.
Last year saw the fifth generation model arrive in the UK. With boomerang style LED lights and a sharp “tiger nose” grille it is a much better looking car than its predecessor and has real presence.
Kia offers the Sportage with a 1.6 litre petrol engine that can be had with mild hybrid or full hybrid electrical assistance. There’s also a 1.6 litre diesel as well as a plug-in hybrid that can cover 43 miles on battery power.
Prices and specs
Prices start at a little over £28,000 and top out just past the £45,000 mark. The Sportage is available in basic 2 trim level, or (in ascending order) GT Line, 3, 4, and top of the range GT Line S. Most models are front wheel drive but higher spec cars can be had in all-wheel drive if you need more traction.
Kia is known for offering more standard kit than most rivals and even entry level cars sport 17in alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual zone climate control and parking sensors.
I spent a week with the 1.6 petrol model with front-wheel drive in 3 trim level which occupies a nice sweet spot in the range. At £32,000 it’s at the lower end of the Sportage price spectrum but it has most of the standard kit you could want.
My manual transmission car came with electric seats in the front, keyless entry and start-up and a reversing camera. It also had heated seats in the front and rear and a heated steering wheel – making it a blessing on cold Scottish mornings.
The Sportage’s interior looks as good as its exterior. From 3 trim level onwards you get a pair of 12.3in screens that swoop across the central console and dashboard. They look terrific and display information in a clear, easy to use fashion.
The only bugbear is the control bar below the touchscreen. This operates either the volume control for the stereo or the heating system but not both at the same time. You need to toggle between them, which is a nuisance when you want to quickly change temperature or adjust the fan speed while driving.
Space in the front and back is good and the Sportage has room for five passengers. At 591 litres the boot is one of the biggest in its class, offering more than 100 litres greater capacity than a Ford Kuga or Nissan Qashqai.
On the road
During my time with the Sportage I ranged from Dundee to Edinburgh and into Aberdeenshire. The 1.6 litre petrol unit develops 148bhp and completes the 0-62mph sprint in around 10 seconds.
It’s a smooth and quiet powertrain that goes about its business without any fuss. Under normal loads it has plenty of power but with four passengers and a fully laden boot it does start to struggle up steep hills.
Those who need more pulling power should look at the diesel or plug-in hybrid versions.
Ride quality is good and the suspension soaks up bumps very nicely. It corners well enough but isn’t as dynamic as a Seat Ateca.
Wind and road noise are kept reasonably well in check but both the Mazda CX-5 and Volvo XC40 are noticeably more refined, with whisper-quiet cabins even at motorway speeds.
The Sportage may not be the very best in class when it comes to refinement or driving dynamics but it’s close enough to hold its head up high against its rivals.
It also steals a march when it comes to value for money. Few of its competitors offer as much standard kit for the money or look as good inside or out. And none of them offer a seven-year warranty.
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Top speed: 113mph
CO2 emissions: 154g/km