The exterior of a red Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage review

An excellent SUV choice, the Kia Sportage feels premium, well-engineered and comfortable. It comes generously equipped as standard and has a great reputation for reliability.


  • Stylish design inside and out
  • Good level of standard equipment in all trim levels
  • Fantastic seven-year/100,000 mile warranty


  • Early models aren't as well equipped
  • Smaller boot space on the latest generation
  • Several hard plastics around the interior


“Great design and a practical interior make the Kia Sportage a great choice.”

The Sportage is a great family car, offering space and versatility. It comes with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, which is ideal if you like extra grip or occasionally go off-road. The engines are strong and provide a decent drive on both short and longer trips.

Even though the Sportage is moving upmarket with higher quality materials and better equipment, it’s not priced like a premium model so it delivers great value. You’ll find some hard plastics inside, but these are hard wearing and they also are well disguised.
The latest generation launched in 2016 with a more upmarket interior, better Bluetooth connectivity, excellent engines and smoother automatic gearboxes. The latest version is better all round. It was improved even further in 2018 with updates to the interior and exterior as well as more engine choices.

What's the interior like?

“Lots of space, good levels of equipment and well designed.”

The interior is spacious, comfortable and well designed. Everything is within reach and there are chunky buttons and dials which are easy to find on the move. The driving position is excellent with plenty of adjustment options and the seats provide good support on longer journeys.

The Sportage also has decent equipment, even in early versions. Those built since 2016 have a touchscreen infotainment screen and a reversing camera, while in the latest generation, the system is better integrated and angled towards the driver. The latest Sportage interior has the most upmarket look and feel, with better materials and a greater level of design and trim.

There’s plenty of storage including a big space between the seats to store items, such as water bottles or small bags. There are also a number of extra power sockets and a USB connection so the whole family can charge their electronic devices.

Boot space in the 2016 model is superb at 564 litres. While this dropped to 491 litres with the latest generation, there’s still enough space for several suitcases and it’s bigger than its main rival, the Nissan Qashqai.

What's it like to drive?

“A great all-rounder providing a comfortable ride and reasonable performance.”

In town, on the motorway or off-road, the Sportage takes it all in its stride and delivers a comfortable ride. Kia’s engineers have also found an excellent middle ground between comfort and performance.

Petrol engines are strong but the bulk of Sportage sales have been diesels, which are good all-rounders, offering great economy and lots of power. They also make the Sportage a good tow car because the engine is flexible enough to avoid the need for constant gear changing. New engines in the latest generation provide a better choice between petrol and diesel, while the manual and automatic gearboxes are also vastly improved in performance and efficiency.

The latest generation is great to drive with suspension that helps it soak up bumps and potholes.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Great value and relatively cheap to run.”

The Sportage continues to be very popular and much in demand. This means you may have to pay slightly more to buy one than you might for an equivalent Qashqai, particularly if it’s the latest 2016 generation. It’s worth the extra investment though because chances are you’ll still have a good amount of the seven-year warranty left.

Insurance costs are surprisingly low and road tax is similar to rivals, although you will pay more for the petrol models.

How reliable and safe is it?

“Outstanding warranty, excellent reliability and loads of safety equipment.”

Kia always scores well in reliability surveys and it’s no wonder because new models give excellent peace of mind with the generous warranty. The Sportage has an above average reputation for reliability and Kia parts prices are generally good compared with rivals if something does go wrong, outside of the warranty.

Safety is excellent with both the earlier model and the latest generation receiving the maximum five stars from Euro NCAP. All models have electronic stability control which keeps your car stable by preventing a loss of traction or skidding. They also have multiple airbags and Isofix child seat anchor points.

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.7 CRDi

Best for family - 1.6 GDi 2

Best for fun - Latest generation 1.6 T-GDi

There’s a good range of engines to consider for your particular needs, but the best all-round option is definitely the 1.6-litre GDi petrol version which offers decent performance and great economy. Go for the 2.0-litre CRDi diesel if you want to tow a large caravan. The four-wheel drive option is also useful if you do any kind of light off-road travel.
The post-2014 models are also worth considering for their vastly improved looks and bigger equipment lists. Kia’s ‘Level 2’ specification is one to look out for as it adds a chrome trim and a leather steering wheel.

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