Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Buyers looking for a petrol engine in their Kia Sportage will be offered a 148bhp 1.6-litre T-GDi. You can have a six-speed manual gearbox, but if you want mild-hybrid technology (MHEV), you need to opt for the seven-speed automatic, which also introduces the option of four-wheel drive (AWD). With the manual gearbox, the Sportage hits 62mph from rest in 9.9 seconds, while the automatic with mild-hybrid assistance knocks a few tenths off that time. The pace of both models is more than adequate, but the automatic gearbox needs a moment of thought before it gives you a slug of acceleration.
Further up the range is a full self-charging hybrid (HEV), with the 1.6-litre petrol engine tied to an electric motor for a combined 226bhp to the front wheels (four-wheel drive is available if you opt for top-spec GT-Line S). It's our pick of the line-up, and aside from the rather hesitant automatic gearbox, performance is pleasingly punchy – at our private test track, we recorded a 0-60mph time of just 7.2 seconds, which is significantly quicker than the Ford Kuga hybrid.
Suspension and ride comfort
It's not quite as plush as the Volvo XC40 though, and that's most noticeable on GT-Line models, which have big 19in alloy wheels fitted. Indeed, the best-riding version is the cheapest because entry-level 2 trim comes with smaller 17in wheels and big balloon-like tyres.
The Sportage is a great motorway companion, riding over long-wave undulations very well and feeling settled at speed.