Kia Sportage (2010-2016) Review

The Kia Sportage is exactly the good-looking, practical, spacious and reliable SUV that a family on a budget is looking for

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Good looks
  • Well equipped
  • Long warranty
  • Not as economical as newer alternatives
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Some cheap cabin materials
Kia Sportage prices from £8,491.
Finance from £165.91 / month.

Kia Sportage prices from £8,491   Finance from £165.91 per month

Although it left the new car price lists some years ago, the second generation Sportage, under the spotlight here, still looks fresh. This, together with its blend of reasonable running costs, keen prices, good equipment levels, excellent reliability and the reassurance of an industry-leading seven-year warranty when first registered have made it the first choice SUV for a lot of families.

Rivals are plentiful and include everything from the Nissan Qashqai to the Peugeot 3008 plus pricier SUVs such as the Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5, BMW X1 and VW Tiguan. However, none are quite such good value and none can claim to have such a long warranty.

Naturally, given that the Sportage was around for six years, there are a few key dates worth knowing about. The first was 2011 when all engines got Kia’s fuel-saving ISG stop and start technology. Then in 2014 the model was facelifted, receiving more equipment and a fresh, new look. At the same time, a more powerful 2.0 diesel version called the KX 4 with four-wheel drive was added to the range. It makes a great tow car.

Finally, in 2015, the diesel engines became Euro 6 compliant, meaning they can be used in ultra low emissions zones without incurring a penalty.

Most families will find the 1.7 CRDi diesel version ideal in terms of performance and economy. The 1.6 petrol engine is smooth and willing enough at low speeds but feels a bit breathless on the motorway. There’s not much between both in terms of price, so we’d choose the diesel.

The 2.0 CRDi is another thing altogether. Given that it’s only available with four-wheel drive, it’s for people with more serious ambitions, such as routinely travelling fully loaded or towing. In fact, the KX4 version has an even more powerful version of the same engine for exactly this kind of work.

Don't expect driving thrills behind the wheel of a Sportage. It’s a secure, comfortable and refined car but it leans heavily in corners on its soft suspension and can soon run out of grip. The steering and handling lack precision, too. Really, it’s at its best when driven in a relaxed and unhurried manner.

People choose SUVs for their lofty driving position, good view out, spacious and practical interior, and roomy boot. In all of these areas, the Sportage impresses. There’s space for three adults on the back seats and the boot is easily bigger than those in a Skoda Yeti or Nissan Qashqai.

And then there’s the generous equipment count. There are four trim levels but you need only choose trim level 2 to enjoy a glass roof, part-leather trim and rear parking sensors, the latter essential on a car with such a narrow rear windscreen and deep rear pillars.

There are many used Sportages to choose from, those registered in 2016, the year production ceased, still covered by a warranty until 2023, long after many newer three-year warranties have expired. It’s a great reason to buy a Sportage but not the only one.


Key facts

Warranty 7 years
Boot size 564 litres
Width 1855mm
Length 4440mm
Height 1645mm
Tax £145 to £300

Best Kia Sportage for...

Best for Economy – Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 1 ISG

This most economical engine returns up to 55.4mpg

Best for Families – Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX 3

This extra performance of the larger diesel engine and the added security of four-wheel drive is welcome on long drives or in slippery conditions, while KX 3 trim brings luxuries including leather trim, xenon headlights and dual-zone climate control

Best for Performance – Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX 4

This most powerful diesel in combination with four-wheel drive makes a great tow car


2010 Model launched with choice of 1.6 or 2.0-litre petrol engines and 1.7 or 2.0 CRDi diesels and in 1, 2 and 3 trim, with four-wheel-drive versions badged KX.
2011 All versions now have stop and start (badged ISG) fuel-saving technology.
2012 Four-wheel-drive 2.0 CRDi KX4 model launched.
2013 Sportage recalled to check for faulty brake light switches on early cars.
2014 Sportage facelifted when it receives a new ‘tiger’ nose, new alloys, new interior details, a new display screen on higher-spec versions. Trailer stability assist and tyre pressure monitoring become standard. Meanwhile, the second recall is announced to check for possible failure of the seatbelt pre-tensioners on early cars.
2015 All diesels now Euro 6 emissions compliant. Limited edition Axis trim, that sits between trims 2 and 3, is launched.

Understanding Kia Sportage names

Engine 1.6 GDI

The number is the size of the engine in litres while the following three letters tell you whether it’s a petrol (GDI for gasoline direct injection) or a diesel (CRDi for common rail direct injection).

Trims 1

The Sportage’s trim identifiers couldn't be simpler with 1 being the most basic and 4 the most luxurious. The addition of KX before the number tells you the vehicle is four-wheel drive.

Drive 2WD

Standard Sportages are front-wheel (2WD) drive but the more powerful 2.0-litre versions are available with four-wheel drive, which Kia denotes by the addition of KX before the trim number, as in KX4.

Kia Sportage Engines

1.6 GDI and 2.0 petrol; 1.7 CRDi and 2.0 CRDi diesels

The most rounded engine in terms of economy and performance is the 1.7 CRDi. It’ll trundle around town or cruise the motorway quite happily but it’s no ball of fire. The 1.6 GDi petrol is quicker on paper but trails the diesel through the gears when you’re overtaking. It, too, is happy around town but a little busier than the diesel on motorways. Both are only offered with front-wheel drive which, in most conditions, is all you’ll need.

If you want more power, you’ll need to look to the 2.0-litre engines. The 2.0-litre petrol was phased out early on and is rare. We’d ignore it and look instead at the 2.0 CRDi. It comes with four-wheel drive and is offered in two states of tune: 136hp and 183hp, the latter badged KX4. This one is a particularly good tow car.

In normal conditions, the four-wheel-drive system defaults to front-wheel drive to save fuel. Only when it detects slippery surfaces does it transfer some of the engine’s power to the rear wheels. In really tough conditions the driver can flick a switch that splits the power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels for maximum traction.



Fuel economy



Top speed

1.6 GDI




0-62mph: 10.7s






0-62mph: 10.3s


1.7 CRDi




0-62mph: 11.9s


2.0 CRDi




0-62mph: 9.5-11.7s


Kia Sportage Trims

1, 2, 3, 4 and KX 1, 2, 3 and 4

The Sportage gets straight to the point with trim names that leave little to the imagination. The model was facelifted in 2014 and a major beneficiary was the interior and the equipment list, especially on higher grades.

All versions have alloy wheels, cruise control, air-con, powered windows, Bluetooth and a multifunction steering wheel.

Level 2 trim adds reversing sensors, a glass roof and part-leather trim, and 3 brings full leather upholstery, heated seats front and rear, xenon headlights plus dual-zone climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Models with four-wheel drive (in other words, those powered by the 2.0 CRDi engine) are badged KX. The special one here is the KX-4 which gets a more powerful 183hp engine in place of the standard 136hp unit, in addition to self-parking. This version was launched in 2012.

Kia Sportage Reliability and warranty

The outstanding thing about the Sportage, at least from a used car perspective, is that many are still covered by their original new car warranty. In fact, as this was written in 2019, cars registered in 2012 were still covered, as long as they had done less than 100,000 miles.

Not that owners are likely to need any cover since the model is impressively reliable, as demonstrated by its performance in the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey when it ranked in 21st place. In so doing it beat the Mk1 Nissan Qashqai and the Mk2 Toyota RAV4.

Used Kia Sportage

There are currently 372 Kia Sportages available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £8,491 to £39,950. Monthly finance payments start from £165.91 per month.

A combination of good reliability, backed up by a long warranty, a choice of reasonably economical diesel engines, with later ones Euro 6 compliant, and attractive looks make the Sportage a solid used car buy. The fact that it’s an SUV, a style of vehicle buyers just can't get enough of, also helps.

Two-wheel-drive 1.7 CRDi models in level 2 trim are the most plentiful. In contrast, there are very few 2.0-litre petrols, new car buyers preferring the more economical 2.0 CRDi engine.

Thanks to its extra grip, weight and towing limit of 2000kg a used Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX4 makes a good tow car that’s relatively rare in the mainstream SUV market.

Other Editions

Sportage (2016 – 2021)

A practical package with distinctive looks: the Kia Sportage is a family-friendly crossover

Sportage (2022)

The Kia Sportage is a medium-sized family SUV with petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines