- 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
- Noisy hybrid engine
- Not as affordable as it once was
- Looks are divisive
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.
Is the Kia Sportage right for you?
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.
What other cars are similar to the Kia Sportage?
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.
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.
Quality and finish
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.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Kia 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.
Space and practicality: Kia Sportage boot space
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.
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.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Kia Sportage?
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.
Refinement and noise levels
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.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Kia Sportage?
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.