Kia Sportage review

Category: Family SUV

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:diesel, petrol
Available colours:
Kia Sportage 2019 RHD infotainment
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  • Kia Sportage front - 20-plate car
  • Kia Sportage 2019 rear cornering
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD rear seats
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD rear left cornering
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD front right cornering
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD front seats
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD boot open
  • Kia Sportage front - 20-plate car
  • Kia Sportage 2019 rear cornering
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD rear seats
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD rear left cornering
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD front right cornering
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD front seats
  • Kia Sportage 2019 RHD boot open
RRP £23,445What Car? Target Price from£21,965

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.

Reliability

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.

Kia Sportage 2019 RHD infotainment

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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Overview

Stick to the lower trim levels, which offer the best value for money, and the Sportage is worth a look, with decent rear space and a sensible boot. However, we think other Family SUVs, such as the Skoda Karoq, are better options – the Karoq is even more practical and better to drive. That’s because the Sportage isn't that comfortable, its engines are noisy and limited in range, and it lacks an essential piece of safety kit (AEB) on all but the top trim.

  • Great value – in the right spec
  • Good resale values
  • Decent rear seat space and boot
  • Diesel engines are very noisy
  • Lumpy ride
  • No AEB on the most recommendable versions

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