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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Sportage is great value, with good kit and a spacious cabin

Against The cabin is drab, refinement is poor, and the drive disappointing

Verdict It's cheap and cheerful, but not great to drive

Go for… 2.0 CRDi XE

Avoid… 2.7 V6 XS

Kia Sportage Crossover
  • 1. Residuals are quite weak, so prices are very attractive on used cars
  • 2. There’s more legroom in the Sportage than in dearer rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail
  • 3. The standard automatic gearbox saps the V6 of the extra power it has over its smaller brothers
  • 4. Unless you have deep pockets, avoid the V6, which is too expensive to buy and run
  • 5. Thanks to its big boot and 60/40 split rear seats, it makes a fine family car
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Kia Sportage Crossover full review with expert trade views

The Sportage's biggest attraction is its low prices. When it was new, it was an awful lot of car for the money, but its residuals are quite weak, so once it’s a used car, things are even better.

There’s certainly plenty of room inside, particularly in the back, where there’s more leg space than in dearer rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail. The Sportage will take five people in comfort and, thanks to its big boot and 60/40 split rear seats, it makes a fine family car.

There’s also no skimping on kit, with even the most basic models getting air-con and four electric windows. However, in too many places, you’re reminded just why the prices are so low. The dash is dour and built from cheap-looking black plastic, for example, while the firm ride, vague steering and occasionally noisy engines make for a disappointing drive.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Holds value well for a budget 4x4

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

You’re still most likely to find this version of the Sportage at a Kia dealer, and you’re best off with a diesel model.

Naturally, this is the most frugal engine – although not by as much as you might expect – but its real advantage is the stronger low-down pull, which is ideal for towing or off-roading. It makes the car much easier in everyday driving, too.

Mind you, the 2.0-litre petrol engine is good, too, and not far off the diesel’s fuel economy. The flagship V6 is best avoided – not only does the standard automatic gearbox do its best to sap all its extra power, it’s also too expensive to buy and run.

With all models very well equipped, there’s no need to pick anything any more expensive than the basic XE trim. XS (standard on the V6) brings climate control rather than air-con, leather upholstery and a sunroof, but it’s not worth the extra cash.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Very rare, 2.0 XS rather than a 2.7 V6

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Buying the Sportage looks a very attractive proposition: it’s already cheaper than the likes of the X-Trail as a new car, and the difference in price is even more pronounced once they are used.

Its fuel economy also looks pretty good, on a par with its sister machine, the Hyundai Tucson, and better than five-door versions of the Suzuki Grand Vitara. Unsurprisingly, the diesel models are the most fuel efficient, but they’re also the cheapest to insure, their group 9 rating much lower than the equivalent Tucson and Grand Vitara.

Routine service costs are pretty much what you'd expect compared with other 4x4s, but be prepared for hefty bills if anything goes wrong. Warranty Direct figures show that the average bills on Kias are among the highest of all makes, not far short of those for Audi and Mercedes, although much better than those for Land Rovers and Mitsubishis.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Holds value well for a budget 4x4

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

This version of the Sportage is so new that no problems have emerged, and if you buy one now, you have the luxury of still being covered by part of its new-car warranty.

That at least will give you some peace of mind, because Kias, in general, have a very disappointing record for reliability. The previous Sportage came last in the 2005 JD Power survey, with half of the owners reporting engine problems. Mind you, it’s not as if Kia can’t get it right – in the same survey, the larger Sorento 4x4 came top of its class, and in the top 10 overall.

Warranty Direct also says that Kia owners claim only as rarely as those in Toyotas and Mazdas.

All we can do is hope Kia continues to make the improvements that have enabled the company to climb the results tables.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Very rare, 2.0 XS rather than a 2.7 V6

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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