The Kia Sportage, first introduced to the UK market in 1997, is the South Korean brand’s entry into the crossover SUV market. Whilst the original Sportage was less than impressive, subsequent models have gradually improved the car, with the latest fourth generation Sportage being the best ever. It’s practical, spacious, and excellent value for money. It’s not as fun to drive as the Mazda CX-5 or the Ford Kuga, but it’s still one of the best cars in the family SUV class.
The latest update in 2015 featured a facelift, as well as a new suspension and steering system.
Solidly built, spacious, and generously equipped
Whereas the early Kias were renowned for their cheap-feeling drab interiors, the latest Sportage features a prestigious, solidly built cabin. It’s also one of the most spacious cars in its class, and there’s enough standard kit to keep the money-savers happy.
The dashboard of the Sportage is one of the most attractive in its class. It’s not futuristic by any means, but it still feels contemporary, and is incredibly well-built. Controls are exactly where you’d want them to be, and they’re well damped, so they’re nice and easy to use. Material quality is also impressive, with soft-touch plastics featuring heavily. There’s also some attractive chrome touches, all of which contribute to what is a pretty impressive cabin.
When it comes to storage space, there are few cars in the crossover SUV class that can match the Sportage. With 503 litres of boot capacity, it’s bigger than its arch-rival, the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres), as well as the Renault Kadjar (472 litres), and the Ford Kuga (442 litres). The boot is also nice and square, and there’s no load lip, so getting bulky items in and out is pretty simple.
Equipment levels in the Sportage, like nearly all Kias, are also impressive. The entry-level 1 features air-con, cruise control, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and a leather steering wheel, but it’s worth considering the slightly more expensive 2 trim, as it includes the excellent 7” touchscreen infotainment system. This adds sat-nav, a traffic information system, and dual-zone climate control, which is an essential for some family buyers.
The inside of the Sportage is a classy package. Interior quality is exceptional, and there’s also one of the biggest boots in the class. Add in the generous equipment, and you’re going to get great value for money, no matter which model you go for.
On The Road
Easy to drive, but not a lot of fun, and not the most refined
The latest Kia Sportage features a stiffer suspension system than it’s predecessor, with the aim being to have a driving experience that matches the Sportage’s name. Unfortunately however, it doesn’t quite achieve this. There’s plenty of grip through the corners, and body roll is kept under check, but there’s very little feedback from the steering. It’s also not the easiest car about town, as the heavy steering makes parking more difficult than it would be in some rivals.
Comfort levels are compromised somewhat by the stiff suspension. Whilst the old sportage easily ironed out rough surfaces and potholes, the new Sportage struggles. Particularly bad roads make for a jolting, uncomfortable ride. Compare it side by side with the Nissan Qashqai and the Sportage is noticeably worse. Nevertheless, there’s very little in the way of road and wind noise, so the Sportage is at least a quiet motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Sportage come in three guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual transmission, that features a sharp gearchange, and is probably the best suited to the Sportage. There’s also a six, and a seven speed automatic for those who don’t like changing gear, but the former is slow to respond when you need a quick burst of acceleration.
Diesel engines are the pick of the bunch
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Sportage, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. Petrol engines are thirsty, so most buyers will want to stick with diesel.
If it’s power that you want from your Sportage, the best option in the range is the petrol-powered 1.6 litre T GDi GT-Line. This engine produces 176bhp, and will accelerate you from 0-62mph in just 8.8 seconds. It’s not the quickest car in its class, and it’s not what you’d call fast, but it has enough grunt to put a smile on your face on country roads. It is however quite thirsty, and it’s not great for the environment either.
Eco-friendly buyers may be disappointed with the Sportage. Whilst the Nissan Qashqai offers models with sub-100g/km of CO2 emissions, the best Sportage, the diesel-powered 1.7 CRDi, produces 119g/km. That means it’s not only worse for the environment, it’ll also cost you more in road tax each year. This model does however offer the best value for money savers, as it can achieve up to 61 mpg. Again, this isn’t quite as impressive as the most efficient Qashqai, but it’s definitely the best model in the Sportage range.
The engine lineup in the Sportage range is decent, though not as impressive as some rivals. You’ll get good day-to-day value for money, but the Sportage isn’t exceptional. Money savers will want to avoid the petrol engines, as they’re both thirsty and bad for the environment.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, solid standard safety equipment
Like nearly every car in its class, the Kia Sportage easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 90% in adult safety, 83% in child safety, and 66% in pedestrian safety, the Sportage isn’t as safe as the Seat Ateca, but it is safer than the Hyundai Tucson, the Toyota RAV4, and the Nissan X-Trail. There’s also plenty of standard safety kit, with six airbags, traction control, stability control, and trailer stability assist all featuring.
Value for money
Good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new car depreciation
The Kia Sportage offers good value for money for buyers. This depends on which model you choose to go for, but generally speaking, fuel efficiency and CO2 levels are average for the class. The range isn’t as impressive as the Nissan Qashqai, but the Sportage is cheaper to buy in the first place. You’ll also get a seven year warranty, so you’ll save lots of money when you need to visit the garage.
Insurance costs in the Sportage are cheaper than you might expect. It’s by no means the cheapest car on sale today, but costs are amongst the lowest in the class. This again depends on which model you go for, with the cheapest in the range being the 1.6 GDi 1, which is in group 11, whilst the most expensive is the top of the range 2.0 CRDi KX-4, which is in group 21.
Depreciation is a factor with the Sportage, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Kia Sportage is one of the best crossover SUVs currently on sale in the UK today. It offers an exceptional, spacious interior, generous equipment, and impeccable safety results. It’s not the best to drive, nor is it the most efficient car in its class, but with Kia’s excellent 7-year warranty, it’s reliable, and great value for money.
Buying a used Kia Sportage online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Sportage for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Sportage. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Sportage online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Kia Sportage, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Sportage, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.