Review: Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016)


Stylish and upmarket looks. Good quality feel to the interior. Seven-year warranty as standard. Very low CO2 for an SUV. Well equipped.

Ride could be better. A little noisy at speed. Warranty is limited to 100,000 miles so the similar Hyundai ix35 may be better for higher mileage drivers.

Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016): At A Glance

2010 meant all change for the Kia Sportage. The rugged small 4x4 styling is out and in comes a sharp, modern look that's far more in keeping with the Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai ix35. The last comparison is an important one, as, underneath, the ix35 and Sportage are essentially the same car and are built at the same factory in Slovakia.

There's a lot going for the new Sportage. Firstly, the engines are a massive improvement over what was previously available and are now among the cleanest you can buy in this type of vehicle. CO2 in the 2.0-litre diesel has come down by a whopping 31g/km to 156g/km and it now accelerates faster, too. The 1.7-litre diesel is even better, with an impressive CO2 figure of 134g/km, bringing road tax costs down. There's also the option of a 1.6-litre petrol with sensible running costs. Both the 1.6-litre and 1.7-litre engines are chain-cam.

The Sportage does a good enough job out on the road, too with decent steering and a well controlled body. Only the ride - which can be unsettled at times - lets it down. Inside, it looks smart and is functional to use. The materials that have been chosen for the dash and console are good quality and not far from what you'd expect to find in a Volkswagen or Ford.

As you'd expect from Kia, the Sportage delivers when it comes to value for money. It's comprehensively equipped, appears well screwed together and has one of the best warranties on the market (seven years/100,000 miles). It's an attractive option for any family looking for a roomy, economical and well equipped car.

What does a Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016) cost?

List Price from £20,670
Buy new from £18,691
Contract hire from £205.44 per month

Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4440 mm
Width 1855 mm
Height 1640–1645 mm
Wheelbase 2640 mm

Full specifications

The interior of the new Kia Sportage is smart and functional. The look of the dash is sober and restrained, with an emphasis on quality. The materials look good and appear to be incredibly well screwed together - in the same way you'd expect some Fords and Volkswagens to be. That's high praise indeed and a huge leap forward from the old Sportage.  The addition of brushed aluminium and piano black trim gives a premium and more upmarket feel. On the move, the buttons and switches are a breeze to use. The steering wheel-mounted controls can be activated using a thumb, while the main heating and stereo controls are all within easy reach and a very user-friendly.

The driving position is comfortable with a multi-adjustable seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach. Visibility from the driver's seat is generally good, though the small screen and thick pillars at the back do restrict the rear view.

There's a decent amount of headroom for all passengers, even in the back, where the roof begins to taper. Legroom is especially good for those in the rear, largely thanks to an almost flat floor. It means that the passenger in the middle seat should be more comfortable as they don't have to perch their legs on the transmission tunnel. A nice touch - and one shared with the Hyundai ix35 - is that both the front and rear seats are heated.

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Equipment from launch (August 2010):

First Edition was the only spec available at launch and offered on 850 2.0-litre diesels and 350 2.0-litre petrols. It has 18-inch alloy wheels, a full-size alloy spare wheel, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, rain sensing wipers, folding door mirrors with integrated LED indicators, a rear spoiler, an advanced reversing camera, reversing sensors, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, dual zone air conditioning, electric windows, cruise control, a trip computer, RDS Radio and CD stereo, USB & AUX ports with iPod cable, Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted controls and Isofix child seat mounts.

The full spec starts with Sportage 1, which gets 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, all-round electric windows, a two-way adjustable steering column, body-coloured electric door mirrors, remote central locking, a leather-covered steering wheel and gearlever knob, front fog lights and cornering lights, LED daytime running lights, a rain sensor, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted controls and iPod connectivity.

Sportage 2 and KX-2 (all-wheel drive) versions add part-leather upholstery, roof rails and privacy glass, reversing sensors, panoramic sunroof, electric-folding LED mirrors, a luggage net, vanity mirror illumination, adjustable driver's seat lumbar support, a trip computer and 17-inch alloy wheels. Sportage 3 and KX-3 versions additionally have full leather upholstery with heated front and rear seats, dual-zone climate control, Xenon headlights with washers, premium vision instrument cluster, auto-dimming rear view mirror, auto-light control, front wiper de-icers and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Sportage 3 and KX-3 are also available as range topping satellite navigation models. The satellite navigation system includes a rear-view safety camera that transmits an image to an LCD colour display integrated into the seven inch touch screen which combines the Bluetooth system to give downloadable phone lists of up to eight phones. An upgraded audio system with an external amplifier and subwoofer is also standard on these versions.

Sportage KX-4 (from July 2012) gets a Parallel Parking Assist System, a keyless smart entry system and engine stop/start button, stainless steel door scuff plates, full leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, a seven-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with EU mapping, xenon lights, automatic lights and wipers, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, cruise control, iPod connectivity, colour reversing camera and a seven-speaker stereo complete with external amplifier and subwoofer.

Child seats that fit a Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016) like to drive?

All Sportages at launch in August 2010 were equipped with four-wheel drive, giving plenty of grip and the ability to perform well in Winter and on muddy tracks. The system works by normally giving 100 per cent of pulling power to the front wheels, but it can be distributed to a maximum of 60:40 depending on road conditions. Lock it into off-road mode and there's a 50:50 split at speeds of up to 25mph.

On the road, it handles tidily, with well contained bodyroll and quick-witted steering. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is standard, helping to prevent skids, while Hill Start Assist (HSA), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and a rollover sensor also feature. The ride can be a bit of a let-down. Although acceptable at lower speeds, it's all too easily caught out on rougher surfaces and at high speeds.

The only engine at launch was a 2.0-litre, 134bhp diesel that's matched to a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. It's a decent engine, with plenty of torque (320Nm at 1800 rpm) and decent performance, though it's not quite as flexible as cars with a similar power unit, which means you'll find yourself changing gear more often. It can be a bit boomy, too, at speed. It's not a great concern on its own, but when combined with wind noise and road rumble - both of which are higher than you'd expect of a car of this sort - it's enough to take the shine off what is otherwise a peaceful and comfortable cabin.

The engine is a massive improvement on what was previously available in the old Sportage. It's quicker, has a higher top speed and is yet is more economical and has lower emissions. The 2.0-litre diesel is now capable of an average 47.1mpg (7.3mpg better than the old car) and comes in at 156g/km CO2 (31g/km less than the old car).

New 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol and 1.7-litre turbodiesel chain-cam engines featuring stop-and-go technology (as found in the Hyundai ix35) were made available from November 2010.

The 1.7-litre diesel particularly stands out for its low CO2: 135 g/km CO2 in a car of this size is impressive and means you'll only be liable for a £110 Road Tax bill in 2010/2011. The official fuel consumption figure of 54.3mpg sounds economical enough, though owners have complained that achieving the government figures in the 2.0-litre model is impossible in everyday conditions. The 1.7-litre (designated ‘U2' by Kia) has been designed and engineered by Kia in Germany specifically for European buyers and is similar in construction and performance figures to the 1.6-litre petrol engine. Both feature a stop-start system for saving fuel at traffic lights. It cuts the engine when stationary and then re-starts it when the driver presses the clutch.

Some people may be torn between the 2.0-litre and 1.7-litre diesels. The decision will depend on the kind of driving that you do. If it's mainly motorways and A-and-B roads, you won't notice the 20bhp difference between the two engines. There's not a massive difference in the 0-60mph time, either, with the 1.7-litre coming in at 11.9 seconds and the 2.0-litre 10.9 seconds. Where you will notice the difference is on hillier roads, where the engine really needs to be worked hard to make progress.

One other clincher is that you can't get the 1.7-litre with all-wheel-drive - they're all two-wheel drive. This rules out the engine for any buyer who needs to use the car as more of a serious off-roader. It lacks the pulling power of the 2.0-litre diesel (320Nm of torque compared to 260Nm) and as a result isn't as good for towing. The 2.0-litre will tow a braked weight of 2000kg, which means it'll tow most small horseboxes and caravans, while the 1.7-litre comes in at 1200kg.

The addition of a 1.6-litre petrol model means that there's now a more cost-effective petrol model in the range. Although the Sportage is a large car, the 1.6-litre does a good job of hauling it around. It's no hot hatch, but is smooth around town, quiet enough to forget that it's there and able to hold its own on the motorway. It even provides a decent turn of speed of backroads. It's the entry level engine and priced from £16,645, which combined with the seven-year warranty, a comprehensive standard equipment list and relatively low road tax (£125 per year), makes it perfect for private buyers who don't do mega mileages.

The official fuel consumption figure is 44.1mpg and it has CO2 of 149 g/km. As with the 1.7-litre diesel, the 1.6-litre is two-wheel only, which rules it out for those who need more serious off-road capability. But in everyday conditions, most drivers won't notice that it's only two-wheel drive. It's grippy and holds traction well and is a more sensible choice if the closest you get to off-roading is parking on the kerb.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.6 GDi 2WD 44 mpg 10.7 s 149–158 g/km
1.7 CRDi 2WD 54–55 mpg 11.9 s 133–135 g/km
2.0 4WD 36–37 mpg - 181–188 g/km
2.0 4WD Automatic 34 mpg - 195 g/km
2.0 CRDi 2WD 50 mpg 10.9 s 149 g/km
2.0 CRDi 4WD 46–50 mpg 9.5–10.9 s 149–158 g/km
2.0 CRDi 4WD Automatic 39–41 mpg 9.5–11.7 s 179–189 g/km

Real MPG average for a Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

22–56 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best used SUV for £10,000?

I'm looking for advice on the best used SUV for under £10k. I currently have a Nissan Juke but require something bigger as I'm trying to get the kids outdoors more at weekends.
I'd look for a Kia Sportage. Your budget will get you one of the last of the last-generation (2010-16) models with the remainder of its Kia warranty remaining (provided it's been serviced correctly). Also look at the very similar Hyundai ix35. Alternatively, a Honda CR-V would be an excellent choice.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Kia Sportage (2010 – 2016)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Family friendly, Four-wheel drive, Crossover and SUV.

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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 33%
  • 4 star 33%
  • 3 star 17%
  • 2 star 17%
  • 1 star

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