Kia Sportage Review 2024

Written by Andy Brady

8/10
heycar ratingKia's desirable family SUV
  • 2022
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid, PHEV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Does everything a family SUV needs to do with little fuss
  • Wide range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines
  • Impressive interior with a generous amount of standard equipment

Cons

  • Noisy hybrid engine
  • Not as affordable as it once was
  • Looks are divisive

Overall verdict on the Kia Sportage

"You'll love or hate the way the new Kia Sportage looks, but there's very little else to dislike about it. It's comfortable, practical and extremely well-equipped, while there's an extensive engine line-up to suit every buyer."

Kia Sportage Review 2024: front dynamic

It takes a lot to stand out in a sector that also includes the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq. So Kia's gone all out with a bold design that has a clear resemblance to the Kia EV6 electric car. Read our full Kia Sportage review to find out if it should be on the shortlist for your next family SUV


One way the Kia Sportage stands out against rivals is its extensive engine line-up. This includes conventional petrol and diesel models (although these were later removed from sale), mild-hybrid petrols, a hybrid petrol and a plug-in hybrid petrol. Factor in the option to specify front- or four-wheel drive, and manual, six-speed auto or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, and you'll probably be left asking just one question – is there such a thing as too much choice? 


It's a fair point. But the long and the short of it is there's a model to suit most budgets, no Kia Sportage costs a fortune to run, and some versions (notably the hybrid and PHEV) are quick. We've ranked the best hybrid SUVs in our expert guide if you want to find out more, while there's a broader guide to the best hybrid cars


While the hybrid Kia Sportage is impressive (and ultra efficient), we actually quite like the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol. It's a turbocharged unit, which means it feels punchy in and out of town, while the smaller alloy wheels of the more affordable models help ride quality.


The Kia Sportage comes with a wide range of trim levels, too, but again - we don't think it's necessary to spend big bucks on the more premium models. The range kicks off with the Kia Sportage 2, which comes with a basic 8-inch infotainment system, 17-inch alloy wheels and a reversing camera. It's worth upgrading to the Kia Sportage 3, though, if only for the fancy 12.3-inch media system and crystal clear digital dials.


No matter which Kia Sportage you go for, it'll be a supremely practical choice. There's plenty of room inside for four tall adults, while the Kia Sportage's 590-litre boot space will laugh in the face of travel cots and pushchairs, and there are all manner of places to store odds and ends. It's a family's dream. 


Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Kia Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Kia Sportage models for sale. Looking for the older version? You'll need our used Kia Sportage (2016-2021) review.

If you're looking for a versatile family car, the Kia Sportage is an excellent choice. It looks more distinctive than the Skoda Karoq and new Nissan Qashqai, while its interior is impressively spacious while also looking considerably more special than before. Standard equipment levels are impressive, while the Kia Sportage isn't going to cost a fortune to run - no matter which of the many engine choices you go for.

The obvious competitor to the Kia Sportage is the Hyundai Tucson - another Korean SUV with a bold appearance and expansive engine line-up. You should also look at the latest Nissan Qashqai, while VW Group alternatives like the Skoda Karoq, SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan are all equally desirable. We rate the stylish Peugeot 3008 highly, too, while the Ford Kuga, Citroen C5 Aircross and Toyota RAV4 are three very practical choices.

Comfort and design: Kia Sportage interior

"From the useful hooks for carrying your shopping to the USB chargers in the back, the Kia Sportage has been cleverly designed to make family life easier."

Kia Sportage Review 2024: front interior

The Kia Sportage's cabin isn't just about functionality, though. It also looks and feels pretty upmarket, up there with the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan and impressive new Hyundai Tucson. We like the touch-sensitive climate controls buttons sitting below the infotainment system, while the rotary shift-by-wire automatic gear selector looks pretty smart.


Getting comfortable is easy, while most models feature adjustable lumbar support on the driver's seat. There's loads of adjustment in the seat, meaning you can drop it low like in a conventional hatchback, or crank it up to lord it over other motorists.


We'll cover the Kia Sportage's infotainment offerings below, but the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster deserves a special mention for its crisp, clear and customisable graphics. It really adds to the Sportage's premium vibe.

It's been a while since the Kia Sportage was a budget option, but the Sportage's interior is just as impressive as the latest Nissan Qashqai's in terms of interior quality. Our mid-spec Kia Sportage 3 test car had soft-touch materials in all the right places, while chrome interior highlights mean there's no danger of the interior looking bland.


There is some hard plastic on the door panels, but it feels like it'll last a decade or so of being thwacked by feet, while the centre console is all wipe-clean - important for a family SUV such as the Sportage.

Most Kia Sportage models (that's 3, 4 and GT-Line S variants) come with an impressive curved twin-screen display with a widescreen infotainment system sitting alongside crisp digital dials. Lower-spec models come with a simple eight-inch digital display, which we're yet to sample.


We found navigation with the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system that our test car came with to be a simple affair, although you do have to lean forwards to press it - not an issue on certain rivals (including the Mazda CX-5) with their twistable toggle controller on the centre console. You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, while Kia Sportage 4 and GT-Line S models come with a wireless phone charger. There's even USB chargers on the back of the front seats, meaning the kids have somewhere to charge their devices.

At 4515mm in length, the new Kia Sportage is 30mm longer than the old model, while its 1865mm width is wider than before. Its height is up 10mm to 1645mm, while its wheelbase has been extended by 10mm to provide more interior space.


The front of the Kia Sportage is adequately spacious for an SUV of this size, with enough room between the driver and front-seat passenger to prevent any awkward arm bashing. You get a (fairly small) cubby box underneath the armrest, while the door bins are a little on the narrow side but big enough to lose various bits and pieces.


Rear-seat passengers have it pretty good in the new Kia Sportage. Knee room is a little on the tight side if you're a tall adult sat behind another tall adult, but kids will be pretty happy back there - especially when they learn how to recline the rear seats.


There's loads of headroom (especially on models without a panoramic sunroof) and decent visibility, although a rising window line might make things feel a little claustrophobic for young children. There's space in the middle for a third passenger, too, although a lump in the floor does make it feel a little awkward. It's certainly not as comfortable for three rear passengers as the Citroen C5 Aircross.


With an impressive 591-litre boot capacity, the Sportage's boot is just as functional as you'd want it to be. Access is high, like all SUVs, but a false floor means there isn't a lip to hoist things over. You get tie-down points, a 12V socket and useful levers for dropping the rear seats. These split 40:20:40 and leave an entirely flat floor, providing up to 1780 litres of luggage space.


Fold down the back seats and you get a flat floor and a huge lipless opening that makes it easy to stow bulky luggage into the now 1780-litre space. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the Kia Sportage like to drive?

"Despite its name, the Kia Sportage has never been a sporty choice. It's a shame, then, that Kia's tried to make it feel more agile by firming up the suspension. It's not uncomfortable, but it's certainly harsher than a Skoda Karoq - especially on high-spec models fitted with big alloy wheels."

Kia Sportage Review 2024: side profile

It still doesn't corner as keenly as a SEAT Ateca, either, but it feels safe and there's a reassuring amount of grip available. You can even buy the Kia Sportage with four-wheel drive, although we wouldn't bother with this unless you really must venture off the beaten track. Not only are 4x4 models more expensive to buy, you'll be hit in the wallet in terms of running costs, too.


You get a good view from the driver's seat of the Kia Sportage, while its exterior dimensions are barely any bigger than a Ford Focus - meaning you can slot it into surprisingly tight parking spaces. There are systems on hand to make this easier, too, including a reversing camera and rear parking sensors as standard across the range.


High-spec models come with a clever 360-degree camera, while the priciest hybrid derivatives can even be driven in and out of tight spaces remotely using your key fob.


Kia Sportage GT Line S Hybrid First Drive 2022

There's quite an extensive range of engines available in the new Kia Sportage. Aside from a pure-electric version (the Kia e-Niro and EV6 cater for that market), you can get an engine to suit every buyer - including petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid power.


So which should you buy? Well, the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol is pretty good. It's a turbocharged unit, representing a significant step up in power compared to the naturally aspirated motor offered to buyers of the old Sportage. Indeed, with 150PS, it'll accelerate to 62mph in 9.9 seconds - swift enough for a car like this. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission, which is fine, if not as slick as you'd find in a Mazda CX-5.


Although we're yet to sample it, we suspect it'd be worth hunting out a Kia Sportage with the 1.6 T-GDI petrol engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and 48-volt mild-hybrid tech. As well as providing improved fuel economy, the petrol Sportage MHEV is a bit quicker than the standard petrol, while - on higher spec models - this combination is also available with four-wheel drive.


If you cover a lot of motorway miles, you might be in the minority of Kia Sportage buyers who want one with a diesel engine. You can buy a 1.6 CRDi diesel with 115PS or a mild-hybrid version with 136PS (the latter with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and optional all-wheel drive). These were later discontinued, along with non-mild-hybrid versions of the petrols, but there are still plenty to be found on the used car market.


A considerable chunk of Kia Sportage buyers are expected to plump for hybrid power. This is a 229PS petrol-electric unit, which isn't quite as rapid as its figures suggest (it'll accelerate to 62mph seconds in 7.7 seconds) but it is very efficient. It's a bit noisier than we expected, with the engine causing quite a din under acceleration. There's also a plug-in hybrid version that has a slice more power, but it actually feels very similar to the regular hybrid in terms of bother performance and refinement with the engine running, although it does give you the ability to swan around for extended periods on electric power alone.

Generally, the Kia Sportage is a very quiet and refined car with little outside noise intruding into the calm of the cabin. There's a but, though - the Kia Sportage Hybrid can trundle off serenely, but once the petrol engine kicks in it makes quite a din. That's especially true under hard acceleration, something you soon learn to avoid.

If you're in the market for a family SUV like the Kia Sportage, safety's going to be high up in your priorities. Fortunately, the new Sportage comes with an extensive list of safety equipment across the range. This includes features such as the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which can detect other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and apply the brakes automatically to prevent (or reduce the severity of) a collision.


Lane Keep Assist will keep you in your lane on the motorway, while Intelligent Speed Limit Assist can adjust the speed of the cruise control based on the speed limit.


High-spec models add even more safety tech. Kia Sportage 4 and GT-Line S models come with a 360-degree camera (making parking a breeze), as well as a Blind-Spot View Monitor and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist and Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist.


The Kia Sportage was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2022, and was awarded the full five stars.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Kia Sportage cost to run?

"Despite the hybrid offerings, if you want a Kia Sportage that's frugal on the motorway, you should be looking for one with a diesel engine. You could average up to 54.3mpg from the 1.6 CRDi according to WLTP fuel economy tests."

Kia Sportage Review 2024: rear dynamic

Diesel power is out of favour, though, and we'd only really recommend a diesel Sportage if you cover a lot of long journeys out of town. These have now been discontinued as new cars anyway. Otherwise, one of the many other offerings should prove pretty efficient anyway.


The mild-hybrid petrol returns up to 44.1mpg in WLTP tests, while the regular petrol (now also discontinued) is good for up to 42.2mpg. A Kia Sportage Hybrid returns a very respectable 49.6mpg, falling to 44.1mpg with all-wheel drive.


Official figures for the PHEV version suggest an average fuel return of more than 250mpg, but the tests are always unrealistically flattering for plug-in hybrids. What you get in reality will depend entirely on how the car is used and whether you're able to keep the batteries topped up. If you can't, it'll get very thirsty very quickly due to the extra weight of the battery.

Kia is so confident about the reliability of its products that the firm offers a super-generous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty with all its cars. That's among the best in the business.


It would appear that this confidence is extremely well founded, too. In the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, the brand was voted as the seventh most reliable manufacturer in the whole study. The Sportage itself didn't make the list of the top ten most reliable cars in the study, but the Hyundai Tucson did - coming second overall - and under the skin, the Sportage is all but mechanically identical to its Korean cousin.

The cheapest Kia Sportage to insure will be the entry-level 2 grade with the diesel engine, which sits in insurance group 15E. The petrols start from insurance group 17E. The more powerful hybrid and plug-in hybrid derivatives are a little more expensive to insure, sitting between groups 24 and 26 depending on equipment grade.

The first year's VED (car tax) is lumped into the on-the-road price, so you don't really have to worry about the cost of that. After the first year, you'll pay a flat rate of £180/year for petrol or diesel models, or £170/year for hybrids.


Be careful, though. Cars with a list price of more than £40,000 will be subjected to an extra £390 in tax for five years. This is the price when the car is new, including optional extras - so it doesn't matter if you bought it second-hand or with a discount. That means the top-end Kia Sportage models could cost as much as £570 a year in tax.

How much should you be paying for a used Kia Sportage?

"Prices for the new Kia Sportage start from around £30,000, meaning it's a smidgen more expensive than a Skoda Karoq or Nissan Qashqai - yet it undercuts the Hyundai Tucson and Peugeot 3008. Hybrid models start from around £35,000, while the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is priced from around £40,000."

Kia Sportage Review 2024: front static

It's an exceptionally popular car, so there are lots and lots to choose from on the used market. Do bear in mind, though, that the tremendous warranty we mentioned earlier keeps used prices vert strong, because its fully transferrable to subsequent owners of the vehicle, making used Kias very desirable, so the savings you'll make by buying used aren't as big as they would otherwise be. Even so, a budget of around £22,000 will get you into the latest generation of car with a low mileage, although it will be in low-end spec.

The range kicks off with the Kia Sportage 2. Standard equipment on this model is pretty comprehensive, including 17-inch alloy wheels, front- and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and cruise control. You also get an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio.


The slightly sportier Kia Sportage GT-Line adds 19-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on the hybrid), chrome exterior highlights and a gloss black radiator grille, side sills and wheel arch mouldings. Rear privacy glass is standard, while inside there's a 12.3-inch navigation system, suede leather seats, sports pedals and a D-shaped perforated leather steering wheel. 


The mid-range Kia Sportage 3 is also based on the 2 but adds 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and LED front fog lights. Inside, you'll find black cloth and faux-leather seats, a heated steering wheel, heated front- and rear outer seats and a 12.3-inch navigation system. There's also a 12.3-inch digital instrument display.


Things start to get a bit premium with the Kia Sportage 4. Standard equipment includes a panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon premium sound system and a wireless phone charger. The 4 trim level also comes with a range of driver-assist tech, LED tail lights and ambient interior lighting, while cosmetic exterior highlights include a gloss black radiator grille and chrome garnishes.


Topping the range is the Kia Sportage GT-Line S, which adds bespoke exterior styling, 19-inch alloy wheels (18-inch alloys on the hybrid), artificial leather and suede upholstery and ventilated front seats with 10-way power adjustment. There's also an electric tailgate and an optional two-tone black roof.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Not all Kia Sportage models are 4x4. You can buy AWD versions of the Sportage with the petrol, diesel or hybrid engines, though, while the plug-in hybrid is exclusively four-wheel drive.
With a big boot and low running costs, the Kia Sportage is an excellent family car. We rate it highly against competitors including the new Skoda Karoq and Hyundai Tucson.
There are very few common issues with the Kia Sportage. It should be a very reliable choice, while Kia's seven-year warranty is one of the best on the market.

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