Kia Sportage Review
The Kia Sportage is a medium-sized family SUV with petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines
Strengths & weaknesses
The Kia Sportage is a family SUV that’s about the same size and price as a Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 or Ford Kuga. These models are really popular at the moment and the Sportage is one of the best, as it’s a great car with lots of choice in the range.
Despite the fact that the Sportage is only powered by 1.6-litre petrol engines, it has a very diverse range as there are normal petrol and diesel versions plus regular hybrid and plug-in hybrid models as well. Even the petrol and diesel models have a mild form of electrification to help make them more efficient.
The mild hybrid versions use a powerful starter motor that helps the engine to do its job more efficiently, but they’re not really like the proper hybrids. This is because the Sportage Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid can drive on electric power alone, without the engine on, while the mild hybrids cannot.
The Sportage was overhauled in 2022 and the latest version is the best yet. In fact, it’s gone from being a decent - if a little boring - choice to being one of the very best cars of its type. It’s not just the hybrid engines - the Sportage is also really spacious, good to drive and has loads of technology on board.
The Sportage has gotten more expensive than it used to be, so it’s not the bargain buy that some versions once were. Instead, it competes with upmarket models such as the BMW X1 in higher trim levels, and in some areas it even comes out on top.
Read on to find out more about the Kia Sportage and see if it’s right for you.
Should I get a Kia Sportage?
✔ Spacious inside
✔ Hybrid engines
✔ Lots of equipment
✘ A bit dull to drive
✘ Quite expensive
✘ Not everyone will like the looks
The Kia Sportage isn’t the cheapest family SUV around, nor is it as much fun to drive as rivals such as the Ford Kuga, but it’s such a great all-rounder that it will appeal to just about anyone who wants a practical family car. It’s comfy and easy to drive, the hybrid models are efficient and it’s really spacious inside.
The cabin looks and feels high-quality, plus there’s lots of modern tech inside and all the equipment you need. It’s quiet and smooth on the motorway and should be cheap to run. The long warranty means it’s also a great used buy.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Batteries and range
- Charge time
- Best Sportage for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
The Kia Sportage is a family SUV that’s a rival for the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Ford Kuga. It’s also closely related to the Hyundai Tucson - these models share things like engines and other technology, so they have a similar engine range.
The normal versions of the Sportage use 1.6-litre engines in petrol or diesel form. There’s a 150hp model with a manual gearbox and then two models that use an automatic gearbox with mild hybrid assistance in front- or four-wheel drive.
The entry-level diesel is a 115hp unit with a manual gearbox, or you can move up to a 136hp model with an automatic gearbox and mild hybrid tech in front- or four-wheel drive forms.
Kia Sportage Hybrid
The Kia Sportage is available as a normal hybrid or a plug-in. The former uses the engine to charge the battery but can drive on electric power alone for a mile or so. This model has 230hp and uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine. It’s available in front- or four-wheel drive forms.
The PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) version uses the same engine, but is four-wheel drive only and has 265hp, so it’s the most powerful model in the range. This version can charge up using a plug and has a driving range of 43 miles on electric power only.
|Limited stock The entry-level 2 model comes with 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel, a reversing camera, an eight-inch media screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
|Limited stock: GT-Line trim adds larger 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels (depending on engine), tinted windows, LED fog lights, aluminium trim pieces, three-zone climate control, keyless entry and push button start, and a larger 12.3-inch display with sat-nav.
|Limited stock: The mid-spec 3 model adds powered front seats with heating, a heated steering wheel, a larger digital display instead of normal dials behind the wheel and faux leather upholstery.
|Limited stock: The 4 version brings active LED headlights, a large sunroof, black roof rails, LED interior lighting, a Harman Kardon stereo, wireless phone charging and blind spot assist tech.
|Limited stock: The top-spec model comes with all of the above plus 10-way adjustable seats with ventilation, a powered tailgate and a sportier exterior look.
The mild hybrid, front-wheel drive petrol version of the Kia Sportage is our pick of the range for all-round use if you don’t want a hybrid model (see below). It comes with a smooth automatic gearbox as standard, which is the best way to enjoy driving the easygoing Sportage, and the mild hybrid tech means it’s relatively economical for a petrol engine.
If you do a lot of longer trips, try the mid-range diesel version with 136hp and the automatic gearbox with front-wheel drive. We’d avoid four-wheel drive in general because it adds weight and therefore will increase the running costs for very little real-world benefit.
Both hybrid models of the Sportage are great options. The normal hybrid is best for people who aren’t able to plug in at home, for example if you live in a block of flats. It’s able to charge its own battery, so you can benefit from lower running costs without having to drive any differently.
The plug-in hybrid works really well for people who have a home driveway and a wallbox charger. This version can drive for over 40 miles on electric power alone, so you can easily get to work and back on a single charge if you live close enough - it could result in a huge fuel saving for you.
The Sportage plug-in hybrid uses a 13.8kWh battery pack and a 1.6-litre petrol engine. This allows for about 43 miles of driving on a single charge of the battery, which is more than you get in a similar Hyundai Tucson (38 miles).
Using a wallbox charger it takes about an hour and 45 minutes to charge the relatively small battery of the Sportage plug-in hybrid up, or five and a half hours using a three-pin home plug.
There is a really wide range of engines available in the Kia Sportage line-up, plus five different trim levels. This means there are a lot of different combinations you can choose from, so we’ve put together a quick guide to the best versions of the family SUV for a handful of different situations. Read on to find out which model is best for you.
|Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line: The entry-level engine and gearbox combination is good value, as it uses clever tech to make the clutch easier to use - so it’s smooth to drive. The GT-Line trim level is better value than the entry-level '2' model, so we’d certainly move up to that.
|Kia Sportage Hybrid '3': The hybrid model is great for families because it’s really quiet and smooth in rush-hour traffic, and it should bring low running costs as well. It’s great in '3' trim, which has all the kit you need including heated seats for those frosty mornings on the school run.
|Kia Sportage Hybrid GT-Line: The plug-in hybrid may have more power (265hp) but the normal hybrid version is a bit lighter, so it makes better use of its 230hp. This version can go from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds, which is respectable for a heavy family car like this.
|Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi 48V GT-Line S AWD: The top-spec petrol isn’t very good value. It’s not very fast and is less comfortable than other versions, plus the petrol engine and four-wheel drive system mean it will cost more to run as well.
There’s a very long list of rivals to consider if you are shopping around for a mid-sized SUV like the Kia Sportage. The Hyundai Tucson is the main rival here, as it uses some of the same engines, and it has a similar interior as well. Then there are other hybrid models such as the Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Qashqai.
Other really important models to think about include the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008, which are excellent used models that bring lots of practicality and a decent driving experience. The Mazda CX-5 and Vauxhall Grandland are also worth thinking about, among many others.
Kia Sportage practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Kia Sportage is 4.5m long, 1.65m tall and 1.87m wide (excluding the door mirrors), which is very close to the same as a Hyundai Tucson, and also similar to a Nissan Qashqai or Peugeot 3008. It’s bigger than the previous version of the Sportage, too.
The interior is very roomy, and there’s lots of legroom and headroom in the rear seats, even for adults. You can even fit three adults across the back row without much discomfort, and it’s actually more spacious than the slightly larger Mazda CX-5 inside.
|Weight 1,526kg - 1,905kg
The Sportage has between 526 and 591 litres of boot space depending on which version you choose. Factors such as the four-wheel-drive systems and hybrid batteries take up varying amounts of space in the back but all versions are really roomy and have plenty of space for family life.
With the seats down there’s up to 1,780 litres of space in the back. This is a little less than you get in a Hyundai Tucson, but not by much and even the hybrid models of the Kia have over 1,700 litres of space despite the big batteries on board.
|Seats up 526-591 litres
|Seats down 1,715-1,780 litres
Kia finished in second place overall in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which means it’s likely to be a great car to own. The previous-generation Sportage finished a very high 6th in the 2022 survey overall as well, and Kias are known for being reliable, so we would expect the new Sportage to be one of the most reliable and dependable cars of its type.
The Kia Sportage comes with a fantastic seven-year warranty. All Kias come with this amount of cover, and it gives plenty of peace of mind for buyers of either new or used models. In fact, the warranty cover is so long that used models for many years to come will still have more warranty left on them than most new cars come with (usually three years). The warranty is limited to 100,000 miles, though, unlike the Hyundai Tucson - which is covered no matter how many miles you do, but for a bit shorter time at five years.
The Kia Sportage is a brilliant family car and the wide range of engines means that there’s bound to be a model that fits your lifestyle. It’s not a very exciting car to drive, but for most people that won’t matter one bit, as it’s comfortable, easy to drive and quiet on the motorway.
There’s lots of space inside for passengers and a big boot for their luggage, plus most versions have loads of standard kit at a reasonable price - when you consider that the interior is high-quality and feels quite upmarket. The long warranty also means it’s a brilliant used purchase, as you have the peace of mind that if it does go wrong, the manufacturer will have it sorted.
Used Kia Sportage
BuyaCar prices Limited stock
The entry-level Sportage 1.6 petrol is actually pretty good value for money, and although we prefer the automatic gearbox in the Kia the manual is nice and easy to use. Go for a model above the entry-level '2' trim, such as a GT-Line, and you get all the equipment you could really need.
The hybrid version is great for those who live in a city but can’t plug-in and charge up at home. It drives smoothly and quietly in traffic and sips fuel while it does so - running costs are low and it’s good to drive. It’s a bit expensive to buy but could be worth it in the long-term.
The plug-in hybrid model makes a lot of sense if you have a short commute or school run and can charge up at home. You can drive on electric power alone for around 40 miles, so you could potentially use very little petrol at all over a typical week.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.