New Kia Sportage vs Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson: practicality

In a vibrant family SUV market, can Kia’s striking new Sportage make an impact? We’re pitting it against its Ford and Hyundai rivals in hybrid form to find out...

New Kia Sportage rear space

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

All of our contenders have an abundance of head and leg room up front, with the Kia Sportage being slightly wider than the other two. There’s also plenty of storage space in all of them, each coming with a large bin beneath the centre armrest, two cupholders and a tray for mobile phones, as well as generous-sized door pockets.

There’ll be very few grumbles from those sitting in the back seats, with a generous amount of leg room and space for feet underneath the front seats in all of them. The Ford Kuga is the most accommodating in this area, while the Sportage has the most head room. Rear head room is reduced slightly by the presence of a standard panoramic glass roof in the Kuga, but it’ll still be fine unless you’re well over six feet tall.

Ford Kuga rear space

A middle rear passenger will be happiest in the Kuga. All three have a small hump on the floor, but the Kuga has more space for feet on either side of it compared with the Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.

All three come with fold-down armrests with integrated cupholders, and all have the ability to recline the seatbacks to improve comfort. The Sportage makes better use of the front seatbacks by integrating a coat hanger on the back of each headrest and other hooks lower down.

The Kuga is the only one to offer sliding rear seats. You might well need to make use of this feature, because while its boot is a good, square shape, its outright carrying capacity is well off the pace, with room for just six carry-on suitcases when the rear seats are slid all the way back. By comparison, the Tucson and Sportage will take eight each below their load covers, and the latter also benefits from a height-adjustable boot floor that makes it easier to load heavy items.

Hyundai Tucson rear space

The Sportage and Kuga have the added convenience of remote levers inside the boot for folding the rear seats down. You’ll have to go for top-spec Ultimate trim in the Tucson to get this feature. The seatbacks split in a flexible 40/20/40 arrangement in the Tucson and Sportage, whereas the Kuga has a more conventional 60/40 split, and when they’re down, the Kuga’s don’t lie quite as flat as those in its rivals.

An electric tailgate comes as standard on the Kuga, with gesture control opening if you swipe your foot under the rear bumper. It works with varying degrees of success, but you’d have to go for higher-spec N-Line S (or Ultimate) on the Tucson or top-spec GT-Line S on the Sportage to get this.

Boot space

Kia Sportage

New Kia Sportage boot space

Boot 587-1776 litres Suitcases 8

Ford Kuga

Ford Kuga boot space

Boot 412-1534 litres Suitcases 6

Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson boot space

Boot 558-1737 litres Suitcases 8

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