New Honda ZR-V and Renault Austral versus Kia Sportage: verdict

High-riding and hybrid powered, these family SUVs couldn’t be trendier. But which is the hottest outfit?...

New Honda ZR-V and Renault Austral versus Kia Sportage fronts

Our verdict

The Austral is competitively priced, economical, attractive inside, well equipped and pleasingly quiet at a cruise, So, why is it in last place here?

Well, to put it simply, the way it drives lets it down. Its four-wheel steering system hinders more than it helps; its hyperactive nature robs the driver of confidence instead of bolstering it. What’s more, a brittle and fractious ride makes the Austral an uncomfortable long-distance companion.

This isn’t the case in the ZR-V, whose Civic underpinnings help it feel more nimble than its rivals and also give it the most controlled ride. It’s relatively frugal, too. However, as the noisiest cruiser and with a punchy price tag, it didn’t quite have what it takes to steal the Sportage’s crown.

Indeed, even in range-topping GT-Line S trim, the Sportage feels like good value for money; it gives you loads of kit, great seats and a huge boot, and its balance between ride and handling is almost faultless.

If you were to draw a Venn diagram of the attributes that make up the perfect family SUV, the Sportage would sit right in the middle.

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1st – Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage rear

For Strongest performance; best ride and handling balance; biggest boot; solid and smart-looking interior
Against Least rear leg room; fuel economy is only average
Recommended options None

What Car? ratings 4 stars out of 5

Kia Sportage review >>

Kia Sportage deals >>

2nd – Honda ZR-V

Honda ZR-V rear

For Nimble handling; composed motorway ride; smooth gearbox; user-friendly dashboard layout
Against Priciest to buy on PCP finance or run as a company car; least practical boot; noisy at a cruise
Recommended options None

What Car? ratings 3 stars out of 5

Honda ZR-V review >>

Honda ZR-V deals >>

3rd - Renault Austral

Renault Austral rear

For Most frugal engine; cheapest to buy and run; best infotainment system; quietest cruiser
Against Brittle ride; nervous handling; sluggish power delivery
Recommended options None

What Car? ratings 3 stars out of 5

Renault Austral review >>

Renault Austral deals >>

Specifications: Honda ZR-V 2.0 e:HEV Advance

Honda ZR-V alloy wheel

Engine 4cyl, 1993cc, petrol, plus electric motor
Peak power 181bhp (combined)
Peak torque 232lb ft (combined)
Gearbox 1-spd automatic
0-60mph 7.5sec
30-70mph in kickdown 6.8sec
Top speed 107mph
Braking 30-0mph 9.4m
Braking 70-0mph 49.3m
Noise at 30mph 61.9dB
Noise at 70mph 67.6dB
Kerb weight 1604kg
Tyre size (std) 225/55 R18
Test economy 45.2mpg
Official economy 49.6mpg
Fuel tank 57 litres
CO2 emissions 132g/km

Specifications: Renault Austral 1.2 E-Tech FHEV Iconic Esprit Alpine

Renault Austral alloy wheel

Engine 3cyl, 1199cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Peak power 197bhp (combined)
Peak torque 151lb ft (combined)
Gearbox 7-spd automatic
0-60mph 8.8sec
30-70mph in kickdown 7.0sec
Top speed 108mph
Braking 30-0mph 8.7m
Braking 70-0mph 46.4m
Noise at 30mph 61.4dB
Noise at 70mph 66.4dB
Kerb weight 1696kg
Tyre size (std) 255/45 R20
Test economy 49.4mpg
Official economy 57.7mpg
Fuel tank 55 litres
CO2 emissions 110g/km

Specifications: Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi HEV GT-Line S

Kia Sportage alloy wheel

Engine 4cyl, 1598cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Peak power 226bhp (combined)
Peak torque 258lb ft (combined)
Gearbox 6-spd automatic
0-60mph 7.2sec
30-70mph in kickdown 6.3sec
Top speed 120mph
Braking 30-0mph 8.7m
Braking 70-0mph 47.3m
Noise at 30mph 59.4dB
Noise at 70mph 66.7dB
Kerb weight 1564kg
Tyre size (std) 235/55 R18
Test economy 43.8mpg
Official economy 48.7mpg
Fuel tank 52 litres
CO2 emissions 132g/km

Test weather conditions Damp

Cars pictured

Honda ZR-V 2.0 e:HEV Advance with Diamond Dust Pearl paint

Renault Austral 1.2 E-Tech FHEV Iconic Esprit Alpine with Iron Blue paint and Diamond Black roof (£1450)

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi HEV GT-Line S with Infra Red paint

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