The Kia Sportage defines the company's evolution. The original was a forgettable SUV, the second one likewise, although it did come with Kia's seven-year warranty, while the third was a revolution for styling. The fourth generation built on that car's formula.
The Sportage Mk4 line-up is simple. There's one body option, petrol or diesel engines, front or four-wheel drive and manual or auto gearboxes. A facelift in 2018 introduced a subtly enhanced look and a new diesel engine.
A close rival for the Sportage Mk4 is the Hyundai Tucson Mk3, which is largely identical under the skin. The SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq share much and are strong rivals, while the Volkswagen Tiguan Mk2 uses the same tech, but is priced slightly higher. Elsewhere, other models to consider include the Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Peugeot 3008, Opel Grandland X, Citroen C5 Aircross, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar.
What's it like?
The fourth-generation Sportage is an evolution of the Mk3, although the looks are different. Petrol power comes from a pair of 1.6-litre GDi four-cylinder units, one a non-turbo with 130hp and the other a turbocharged T-GDi with 176hp. Diesels make up the majority of the range, with 1.7 (116hp) and 2.0-litre (136hp and 185hp) CRDi engines available at launch, with the 1.7 replaced by a more efficient 1.6 CRDi in 116hp and 136hp guises in 2019. Some versions of the 1.6 feature 48-volt mild-hybrid technology.
Front-wheel drive is standard, though four-wheel drive was offered. It’s rare on the used market. The most powerful 2.0-litre diesel was 4WD only, while twin-clutch auto gearboxes were available, too.
Whichever model you choose, you're getting a spacious and practical five-seat SUV that will be able to cope with the trials of family life. The arrival of the fifth generation in 2021 coincides with the fact that only the earliest Mk4 models are now coming to the end of their warranty period, and if you need a family car that will be dependable, then a Sportage Mk4 is a sensible choice.
Which model to go for?
Kia offered the Sportage initially in LX, EX and GSE specifications. Later, the GT-Line trim offered sharper looks and a decent spec. All models are well equipped, and those at the top of the range are bursting with kit.
Only choose four-wheel drive if you live off the beaten track - the front-drive versions will be dependable enough while delivering better fuel economy. The same applies with the auto gearbox - only choose it if you really need a self-shifter.
Does anything go wrong?
If Kia's seven-year warranty doesn't offer peace of mind, then maybe the fact that the Sportage Mk4 has only been recalled once, for a potential short-circuit of the anti-lock braking module, gives an insight into how few issues the car has.