WhatCarAwards banner - desktop

In association with MotorEasy

Car of the Year Awards 2024: Family SUV of the Year

Cars in this class must obviously provide sufficient space for families. However, the best also offer a comfortable ride and tidy handling, and blend gutsy performance with wallet-friendly costs...

WINNER: Family SUV of the Year

Kia Sportage 1.6T GDi 3

Quotezone What Car? Awards logo

From frantically waving a torch to finding the tallest person around, you’ll see people adopt all sorts of inventive ways to attract their friends while standing in a packed crowd at Wembley. To stand out among the ever-growing family SUV crowd, the Kia Sportage has been much more subtle and instead lets the fact that it’s a great all-rounder do the talking.

Even when you simply look at the range of engines, there’s something for everyone, with the Sportage offering petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. Even so, we think the entry-level 1.6 T-GDi is the way to go.

Kia Sportage rear

You see, with 148bhp, that engine gives you plenty of performance when you need a sudden burst of pace for overtaking or joining a motorway, but it’s still efficient enough to save you some money; official figures promise an average of 41.5mpg. If you go for an automatic gearbox, that figure is increased to 44.8mpg, but we’d stick with the cheaper six-speed manual, because it has a light, accurate shift action a complements the engine’s performance better.

On our favourite 3 trim’s 18in wheels, the Sportage has a very comfortable ride, rounding off potholes better than rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson and exhibiting better body control than the Nissan Qashqai. And on a winding country road, the Sportage’s strong grip and accurate steering help to give you confidence. True, it doesn’t handle quite as sharply as a Ford Kuga or Seat Ateca, but it’ll still be more than capable enough for most buyers’ needs.

The Sportage continues to impress with its smart-looking and user-friendly interior. The elevated driving position is fundamentally sound, and getting comfy is made even easier by electric front seats (standard from 3 trim up). Plus, you get adjustable lumbar support, which helps to prevent lower back ache on long trips.

Kia Sportage interior

Regardless of which trim you go for, you’ll find plenty of goodies inside, including a 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. Stepping up to 3 trim (from entry-level 2) is worthwhile, though, because it doesn’t cost much more but adds even more toys, including heated front and outer rear seats.

Wherever you’re sitting, the Sportage feels airy and gives six-footers plenty of head and leg room. Even with three adults in the rear, there’s enough shoulder room to get comfortable. 

The Sportage’s great practicality is rounded off by rear seatbacks that fold flat in a flexible 40/20/40 split, plus a 591-litre boot in our chosen version – larger than what you get in most rivals.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here