Kia Sportage review
The dynamic fifth-gen Kia Sportage – a refined family SUV with electrified powertrains, advanced tech, and sleek design.
The latest Kia Sportage is making waves in the world of family SUVs with its fifth-generation iteration. Sporting a sleeker and more sophisticated look, this model brings an array of advanced electrified engine technologies to the table. While it doesn't delve into full electric power or hardcore off-road capabilities, the Sportage raises some important questions for its rivals.
Kia's Sportage has been a massive hit from South Korea, especially in Europe. The fifth-gen version specifically designed for Europe stands out with a shorter, sportier profile tailored to our roads and preferences for compact family SUVs. Unlike the long-wheelbase trend, the European Sportage embraces a bolder design, aligning with the MK5's audacious styling cues.
Drawing inspiration from Kia's electric EV6, the Sportage boasts a refined and futuristic appearance. Leveraging shared engineering with the Hyundai Tucson, it offers a range of electrified powertrain options for versatile driving experiences.
The Sportage presents a trio of hybrid options: mild, full, and plug-in hybrids, all built around a 1.6-liter T-GDI petrol engine. Diesel options have been phased out. While a fully electric version is absent, Kia's EV6 covers that ground. The European adaptation of the Sportage's ride and handling enhances the driving experience for local roads.
Engine choices begin with a conventional 1.6-liter engine producing 148bhp. It comes in both non-electrified form with a manual gearbox and as a mild hybrid with a 7-speed DCT automatic transmission. The higher-tier hybrid variants exclusively feature automatic transmissions. The full-hybrid HEV model combines the 1.6 T-GDI engine with a 44.2kW electric motor and a 1.49kWh battery, delivering a combined 226bhp. AWD is available for the top-spec HEV Hybrid. The PHEV Plug-in variant, also with AWD, pairs the same engine with a 66.9kW electric motor powered by a 13.8kWh battery, resulting in a combined output of 261bhp and an electric range of about 35 miles.
Across all versions, the Sportage offers refinement and practicality. While it may not offer a sporty ride, it provides reliable grip, urban agility, and a serene highway journey. Semi-autonomous driving features are available for enhanced long-distance comfort.
Design and Build
Taking cues from the EV6, the MK5 Sportage adheres to Kia's 'Opposite United' design philosophy, evident in shared visual elements like the boomerang headlights and distinctive rear styling. The European version showcases a shorter wheelbase, designed for enhanced road dynamics, while sharing its platform with the Hyundai Tucson.
Inside, the dashboard highlights dual 12.3-inch digital displays and multimedia haptic buttons, adapting to different drive modes. Despite the shorter wheelbase, the European Sportage provides comfortable rear seating and a slightly larger boot, catering to practicality.
Market and Model
Sportage pricing has seen an increase, now ranging from £28,500 to £45,500, reflecting the higher quality and technology. Trim levels include '2', 'GT-Line', '3', '4', and 'GT-Line S', catering to varying preferences. Full-hybrid models start around £35,500, while plug-in hybrids commence at approximately £40,000.
Connectivity shines in the Sportage, featuring the generous 12.3-inch screens and Kia's 'Kia Connect' app for remote interaction. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are extensive, encompassing features like 'Forward-Collision Avoidance,' 'Highway Driving Assist,' and 'Blind Spot Assistance.' Top-tier variants even offer Remote Smart Parking Assist for effortless tight-space parking.
Cost of Ownership
Efficiency figures based on WLTP testing are competitive across the range. The base non-electrified manual achieves around 41.5mpg combined. The mild hybrid posts 147g/km of CO2 and 43.5mpg. The full-hybrid variant impresses with 129g/km and 49.6mpg in 2WD form. The PHEV boasts 25g/km, 252mpg, and an electric range of around 35 miles.
Kia's signature 7-year/100,000-mile warranty enhances ownership benefits and residual values. Maintenance is manageable through 'Care-3' or 'Care-3 Plus' servicing packages, transferable to subsequent owners.
- Sleek and upscale appearance with daring styling cues.
- Advanced electrified engine technologies for diverse driving experiences.
- European-tailored design for improved ride and handling.
- Comfortable rear seating and practical boot space.
- Generous connectivity and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
- Competitive efficiency figures across the range.
- Kia's 7-year/100,000-mile warranty enhances ownership benefits.
- No full electric power or hardcore off-road capability.
- Higher pricing compared to previous versions.
- Faces strong competition in the compact SUV segment.
The fifth-gen Sportage aligns size and dynamics with European preferences while embracing electrified powertrains. Kia's pricing shift reflects the model's heightened quality and technology. While facing fierce competition, particularly from the Nissan Qashqai, the Sportage now presents a more compelling case for itself. If you're in the market for a compact family SUV, the new Sportage demands your attention.