Kia Sportage – Better than Hyundai Tucson?

Kia Sportage

The once forgettable Kia Sportage founds its stride with the previous generation model. It introduced smarter styling and a seven-year warranty to go with its temptingly affordable prices. This latest version aims to continue that trend, with bold styling and a spacious interior packed with more technology than ever before.

Unlike some rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, no hybrid model is available, but Kia does offer a range of petrol and diesel engines and two- and four-wheel drive.

Here’s a list of pros and cons

Space in the Kia Sportage

The latest Sportage is more generous in interior dimensions than its predecessor. The driver and passenger have plenty of space, and those in the rear benefit from more leg room than before. It’s now comfortably roomier than a conventional hatchback such as a VW Golf.

The boot can easily swallow large suitcases, while a large opening helps with loading. An adjustable boot floor adds to the Sportage’s practical nature, as do rear seats that fold almost flat (albeit operated from the side of the seats rather than the boot itself).

Comfort of the Kia Sportage

All of the seats offer good support, plus the front ones feature plenty of adjustment and the steering wheel adjusts for both height and reach.

You also get soft suspension that makes the ride comfortable around town, without losing its sense of control on faster roads.

Unfortunately, the popular 1.7-litre diesel engine is rather vocal at idle and when revved, and the Sportage also lets in more wind and road noise than the latest Nissan Qashqai.

Dashboard Styling of the Kia Sportage

Kia’s latest touchscreen is beautifully responsive, plus there are handy shortcut buttons in a row below it for the most commonly used functions.

The chunky heating controls are also simple to operate, but the speedometer and rev counter are rather busy and the display that sits between them looks basic unless you upgrade to 3 specs or above.

However, while the interior feels solid enough, the plastics aren’t as pleasing to the touch as the ones in the Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Yeti, and the design looks a bit old-fashioned.

Driving ease of the Kia Sportage

You sit high in the Sportage, and visibility out of the front is good. Over-the-shoulder blind spots can cause problems when parking, though, so it’s worth upgrading to 2 specifications in order to get the reversing camera and rear proximity sensors.

The 1.7-litre diesel needs working quite hard to perform, and while the six-speed manual gearbox has a direct shift the lever itself isn’t the most comfortable to use. Most versions of the Sportage are available with four-wheel drive, but if you want an automatic gearbox you’re restricted to the 2.0-litre diesel or 1.6-litre turbo petrol units, which also offer perkier performance than the 1.7 but consume more fuel.

Kia has spent a lot of time tuning the latest version of the Sportage to be better suited to roads than its predecessor, and the effort shows. The new model is better at cushioning its occupants from bumps in the road, doesn’t lean over as much in corners and responds more readily to its controls.

The engines still don’t really encourage you to drive the Sportage quickly, though, and while the steering is more direct it still lacks any sense of connection with the road.

Kia has spent a lot of time tuning the latest version of the Sportage to be better suited to UK roads than its predecessor, and the effort shows. The new model is better at cushioning its occupants from bumps in the road, doesn’t lean over as much in corners and responds more readily to its controls.

The engines still don’t really encourage you to drive the Sportage quickly, though, and while the steering is more direct it still lacks any sense of connection with the road.

Reliability of Kia Sportage

You get the reassurance of a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty, whereas Nissan and Skoda provide only three years or 60,000 miles of cover.

The 1.7-litre diesel model – the cleanest and greenest in the range – has an official average of 61.4mpg, whereas the latest Nissan Qashqai manages up to 74.3mpg. In real-world driving, you can expect about 45mpg, whereas the 1.5-litre diesel Nissan manages closer to 55mpg.

That gap closes up when you look at petrol models, where the Sportage also has a power advantage.

Safety in the Kia Sportage

All models come with six airbags and an electronic stability control system to reduce the likelihood of skidding, spinning or losing control when braking, accelerating and cornering.

Adult and child occupant protection scores were good, but you need to choose a top-spec model in order to have the full range of active safety systems such as blind spot monitors and automatic braking that can recognise an impending impact with the car in front and slow or even stop the car in order to avoid it. Up to 37mph, the same system can also detect pedestrians.

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