Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The starting price for the Sportage just undercuts its equivalents from Skoda (the Karoq) and Seat (the Ateca), but, by the time you get farther up the range, the Sportage loses its ultra-competitive edge. Its resale values are relatively strong, but if you're after PCP finance, the Karoq still tends to cost less per month.
If you're a company car driver and keen to keep your benefit-in-kind (BiK) tax payments low, you'll find the petrol engines' CO2 emissions are uncompetitive compared with the Karoq's and Ateca's. Our recommended engine, the 1.6 CRDi 48v 134, has similar emissions to the Karoq 1.6 TDI 115, but it does attract the 4% benefit-in-kind diesel surcharge because it's not compliant with the latest RDE2 emissions standards.
Equipment, options and extras
Kia doesn’t really do options; you just have to pick the trim that suits you best, and then it’s a question of whether to add metallic paint. Chances are you'll want to, because the only no-cost colour is brown.
The trim range is a bit convoluted, there being entry-level 2 and then plusher 3, plus a couple of sportier trims, GT-Line and GT-Line S. The Sportage only really makes sense when you keep it cheap, because its rivals generally offer more complete packages. For that reason we’d plump for 2. It gets most of the equipment you need, including climate control and heated seats front and rear, for a reasonable price. 3 is tempting for the few extra luxuries it brings, but we’d avoid GT-Line as it swaps some of 3’s luxuries for a sportier look. GT-Line S returns these toys and adds more, but is far too expensive to recommend.
If you want a breakdown of what each trim level gets, have a look at our versions and specs page.
Kia as a brand came an impressive sixth out of 31 manufacturers in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey for cars aged one to four years old. The Sportage came top in the family SUV class, so there’s a very good chance that Sportage ownership will be trouble-free.
Don’t forget there’s also Kia's seven-year warranty to fall back on; it’s the best in the class by some margin.
Safety and security
With six airbags and trailer stability assist, which helps to counteract the effects of a trailer swaying, along with a traffic sign recognition system that displays speed limits on the instrument cluster, you might think you’re getting a reasonable tally of standard safety kit on all trims.
Indeed, upgrading to 3 or GT-Line S and you get blind spot monitoring, but the big issue is that it’s only the most expensive GT-Line S trim that gets automatic emergency braking (AEB). These days AEB is something nearly every rival has by default and it’s really important: if the car in front stops it can prevent you slamming into the back of it if you don’t react quickly enough. That is very disappointing.
The Sportage was awarded a five star safety rating when tested by Euro NCAP in 2015, but the organisation's test procedures have become more stringent since then, including downgrading cars without AEB as standard. However, looking at the individual scores for adult protection in the event of a crash, the Sportage should look after you a little better than a Skoda Karoq, if not as well as a Mazda CX-30.
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