Kia Sportage review

Carzone tests the new Kia Sportage in Hybrid guise

This is the fifth generation Kia Sportage and it launches to the market with new styling, new hybrid engines and new tech for 2022. Prices for the new Sportage start from €34,300, and it has a comprehensive range of powertrains including petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in-hybrid options. The Sportage is one of the best-selling family SUVs in Ireland so far this year alongside the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Rav 4, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan, but is it the class leader?


The new Sportage is slightly longer and wider than before and it has distinctive new styling to stand apart from the competition. This includes boomerang-shaped LED running lights up front and a wide tiger nose grille which runs across the front of the car. Along the sides of the Sportage there are lots of creases for a sleeker look, while it has distinctive new LED lights at the rear. As standard the Sportage gets LED headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels, but this higher specification K3 model has 18-inch wheels and rear privacy glass. There are five colour options to choose from and Cassa White is standard, but the Black Pearl paint on our test car is a €600 optional extra.


The Sportage has changed inside too, seemingly taking inspiration from the all-electric Kia EV6 that we recently reviewed. The most noticeable change is a pair of 12.3-inch screens, one is a touch screen for the infotainment system while the other is a digital driver’s display. The touch screen system is good, with sharp graphics and it’s responsive with Apple Car Play and Android Auto built-in as standard. There is a new touch screen panel for the climate controls, which takes some getting used to at first, along with a nicely presented driver’s area with a dial control for selecting park, drive and reverse.

The driving position is good with plenty of room up front and lots of adjustment available through the seats which are comfortable and supportive. Visibility is good from the driver’s seat with a commanding view of the road. That said, when you adjust the position of steering wheel it can get in the way of the digital driver’s display at times. There is plenty of storage up front with two cup holders, a useful storage area underneath the arm rest and sizeable door bins. The Sportage also gets two USB chargers, a 12 volt socket underneath a sliding tray.

Quality is good throughout the cabin with sturdy plastics across the centre console and dashboard, although there are some hard plastics in places. General fit and finish is on par with the Hyundai Tucson, but not quite as impressive as premium SUVs like the Volvo XC40. As the Sportage is longer and wider than before, it is slightly more spacious in the rear seats. There is plenty of space for two adults to sit in comfort, three at a squeeze, with good head room and leg room. There is additional coat hangers and two USB-C charge points built into the backs of the seats and a comfortable armrest with two cup holders built in. Elsewhere there are two sets of ISOFIX for family buyers.

Boot space is good with 587 litres of room in this Hybrid model, which is more than you get in other family SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5. If you go for the plug-in-hybrid model, boot space is slightly reduced to 540 litres, but it is still a very useful space nonetheless, while the mild-hybrid models have a smaller 526 litre boot. The floor is completely flat which is useful for sliding big items in and out and it also a height adjustable boot floor. What’s more, you can individually fold down each of the rear seats, increasing space to 1780 litres which should be enough for flat pack furniture, bicycles and everything else in between.


The Kia Sportage launches to the market with a comprehensive choice of engines, including a 1.6-litre diesel engine, and a 1.6-litre petrol engine, both of which are available with mild-hybrid tech or without it. Next up is the full hybrid which is the one that we are driving here, and a range-topping plug-in-hybrid version that will follow later this year. The petrol hybrid combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor powered by a small battery, and it is front wheel drive with a six speed automatic gearbox.

The hybrid is pleasant to drive, it’s quiet at low speeds, but it is still responsive to drive with 226 horsepower and enough power for overtaking and cruising at motorway speeds. The hybrid can sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds, but it is better to drive more reserved to maximise fuel efficiency. Speaking of efficiency, claimed fuel economy for this model is somewhere in the region of 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres of driving. The best we could manage during our test was around 7 litres per 100 kilometres of driving in fuel efficiency.

Most family buyers won’t have any complaints about how the Sportage drives, it’s composed through turns and grips the road well. It has a soft suspension setup that is suited to bumpier road surfaces. and while it isn’t particularly engaging to drive on twistier roads, most buyers won’t car as it ticks most of the boxes as a family SUV. The Sportage gets lots of safety features as standard too, with Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, an electronic parking brake with auto hold and Lane Follow Assist from the entry K2 specification.


Kia offers the Sportage in four specifications in Ireland, K2, K3 and K4 and GT-Line, while there is acomprehensive range of engines to choose from with Mild-Hybrid petrol and diesel options, the petrol-electric Hybrid that we are testing and a plug-in-hybrid petrol which will arrive on the market later this year. The entry K2 mild-hybrid diesel starts from €34,300 and it has 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play, LED headlights, dual zone climate control and lots of safety features such as intelligent speed limit assist, lane keep assist, lane follow assist.

The mid-range K3 that we tested starts from €38,000 with the mild-hybrid diesel,  and it adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a larger 12.3-inch touch screen system, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, privacy glass, electric seat adjustment, Kia’s telematics system with Kia connect and lots more. The range-topping RS Line starts from €33,690 and it leaves little to be desired, with front and rear parking sensors with intelligent park assist, heated seats and an F1 Honeycomb lower styling kit.


So should you buy the Kia Sportage? Well if you are looking for a family SUV with impressive interior technology, good practicality and comfort and efficient hybrid engines, it is one to consider. That said, the ride can be firm on bumpier road surfaces, while the top specification models are quite expensive. All in though, the Kia Sportage is an accomplished performer and this new model looks set to rank among the best-selling family SUVs for years to come.  

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