Review: Kia Sportage (2016)

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One of the best crossovers on the market. Very refined and relaxed at motorway speeds. Handles well. Five star Euro NCAP rating.

Naturally-aspirated 1.6 petrol feels slow compared to turbocharged rivals. 48V mild hybrid starts at £32,545. Starting to feel dated alongside newer rivals.

Kia Sportage (2016): At A Glance

Remember a time when everyone who wanted a well-equipped and good value crossover bought a Nissan Qashqai? Now the family crossover buyer has a wide range of affordable SUVs to choose from: the SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Renault Kadjar and Ford Kuga to name a few. Oh, and the Kia Sportage.

Since the latest Kia Sportage came in 2016, it's become the firm's best-selling car in the UK. Yup, Kia sells more Sportages than it does Picantos and Ceeds. And for good reason.

It's an impressively comfortable car, offering decent refinement and excellent ride quality. As a way of transporting the family on long motorway journeys, this Sportage is pretty much ideal. The interior has plenty of room and those in the back are treated to good leg and knee room, so even fast growing teenagers won't have room for complaint.

If we're being picky, the Sportage's cabin is starting to look a little dated alongside newer rivals like the Skoda Karoq, but it still feels well built.

There's a big boot and access is easy, while dropping the rear seats is a simple process should you need more room.

All Sportage models with the naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine are front-wheel drive, while the turbocharged T-GDi is available with front- or four-wheel drive - as is the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel, which replaced the 1.7 in 2018. A top-of-the-range 2.0-litre diesel with electrical assistance is all-wheel drive as standard and is paired with a DCT automatic gearbox.

The 1.6 CRDi diesel engine makes lots of sense in the Sportage, although petrol buyers are well catered for with the 1.6 T-GDi. The entry-level GDi feels fine around town, but offers slow progress on the open road. The 2.0-litre CRDi mild hybrid is excellent - but, starting at £32,545, will be hard to justify for most buyers.

There's little to fault with the Sportage. It's a really good, great value crossover that's very easy to recommend.

Looking for a Kia Sportage (2016 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

What does a Kia Sportage (2016) cost?

List Price from £25,120
Buy new from £21,380
Contract hire from £205.44 per month

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

Length 4480–4495 mm
Width 1855 mm
Height 1645 mm
Wheelbase 2670 mm

Full specifications

The Kia Sportage is one of those cars you can jump straight in and immediately feel comfortable. Everything is laid out logically, with lots of buttons rather than sub-menus of the infotainment system, and the driving position is spot on.

You sit high up, giving you a good view out without making it feel as though you're perched on top of the seat rather than sat in it. The clutch has a nice smooth action and the gear change is slick, making the Sportage a joy to drive around town.

There's also lots of room inside with more than enough space for five on board, helped by lots of headroom and rear legroom. There's no transmission tunnel in the back which means a flat rear floor - good news for the usually unfortunate one who has to take the middle rear seat.

It certainly feels a cut above the old Sportage, although it is starting to show its age compared to newer rivals like the Skoda Karoq and Citroen C5 Aircross. That said, even entry-level models feel well finished, although we'd suggest avoiding light coloured trim which looks a bit low rent and tends to mark more easily.

All models come with a seven- or eight-inch high resolution touchscreen, which is straightforward and easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range.

The boot is great with a low load lip, a big flat floor and a wide opening. With 491 litres there's more load space than a Nissan Qashqai and it's ideal for larger pushchairs, leaving you enough room for shopping. The rear seats fold down almost flat for those trips to Ikea for a new bookcase, although under the boot floor there's only a spacesaver while basic models only have a tyre repair kit. 

Standard equipment (2018):

Grade ‘1’ comes as standard with 16-inch alloy wheels and all-round disc brakes, projection front fog lights, LED daytime running lamps, chrome window surrounds, smart black cloth upholstery with a light grey headlining, electrically adjustable door mirrors, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter, all-round electric windows, air conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth® with voice recognition, steering wheel controls and music streaming, USB port, an LED front map light, a ventilation duct and 12-volt power outlet in the rear. Other key equipment includes automatic light control, a driver’s manual seat height adjuster, remote central locking with foldaway key, reversing camera system and Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM smartphone connectivity. In addition, there’s Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and cruise control. 

Grade ‘2’ adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a shark-fin antenna, body-coloured exterior handles with chrome inserts, a 7.0-inch touch-screen satellite navigation system and Kia Connected Services with TomTom®, roof rails, privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate, black premium cloth upholstery and powered lumbar adjustment for the driver's seat, electrically folding door mirrors with LED indicators, reversing sensors, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual automatic air conditioning, heated front seats and the Lane-Keep Assist System (LKAS), High-Beam Assist (HBA), Cruise Control and Speed Limiter and Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF).

Grade ‘4’ models feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system, panoramic sunroof, a front wiper de-icer, black leather upholstery, 10-way driver's & 8-way passenger's power adjustable seat (sliding, reclining, height adjustment), a high-gloss black centre fascia, stainless steel door scuff plates, engine start/stop button with Smart Entry system, a rear USB charging point, heated steering wheel, Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), a 360-degree around view monitor, a 4.2-inch LCD TFT colour information display and an eight-speaker JBL® premium sound system with sub-woofer, external amp and front centre speaker. On the outside of the Sportage ‘4’, there’s black wheel arch body mouldings and side sills with chrome insert, silver painted front and rear skid plates, LED bi-function headlights and adaptive lighting system, LED rear lights, front parking sensors and 19-inch alloy wheels. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) City with pedestrian detection is standard, along with Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW).

A special ‘Edition 25’ grade is available from launch and paired exclusively with the 1.6 GDi engine with manual transmission. Largely based on the grade ‘4’, the ‘Edition 25’ comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, black cloth and leather upholstery and premium paint at no extra cost. Other highlights include engine start/stop button with Smart Entry system, an eight-speaker JBL® premium sound system with sub-woofer, external amp and front centre speaker and an 8.0-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system to name a few.

‘GT-Line’ sits in the range between grades ‘2’ and ‘4’ and has sporty styling flourishes which mark it out as a more dynamic version of the Sportage. There are exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, LED rear combination lamps, front parking sensors, engine start/stop button with smart entry system, front wiper de-icer and with the DCT gearbox, paddle shifters. A ‘GT-Line’ exterior styling pack adds ice-cube LED front fog lights, LED Bi-function headlights with adaptive lighting system. On the inside, there’s black leather upholstery with red piping and stitching, a high-gloss black centre fascia, black headlining, stainless steel sill pedals and scuff plates and a D-shaped leather-covered sports steering wheel.

‘GT-Line S’ offers all of the equipment that ‘GT-Line’ features plus more luxurious flourishes – adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, 10-way power adjustable driver and 8-way adjustable front passenger seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), an LED boot light and LED personal lamp, the 8.0-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system and 8-speaker JBL® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amplifier and front centre speaker, Smart Power Tailgate and a wireless phone charger. Safety devices include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) City including pedestrian detection, a 360-degree around view monitor, Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW).

Child seats that fit a Kia Sportage (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 (2016) like to drive?

The majority of Sportage models sold will be powered by the 1.6 CRDi diesel engine and it certainly makes a lot of sense. With 116 or 136PS depending on spec, it's more than adequate for day-to-day driving and it has a reasonable amount of pulling power with 280 to 320Nm of torque. With official fuel economy of 57.6mpg in 136PS guise when combined with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, it's reasonably economical, too.

Kia now offers a 2.0-litre mild hybrid setup in the Sportage, labelled the CRDi 48V. This uses a small 0.44 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery to assist the coventional diesel engine. In reality, you won't notice much of a difference compared to any other diesel engine, apart from the stop/start system kicks in early, switching the engine off at around 10mph as you brake to a halt.

The rest of the time, Kia says the battery helps provide a bit of assistance under acceleration. The throttle response is fairly sharp, but it's nothing to get excited about. With a decent amount of power, it makes the Sportage a very easy and relaxing car to drive.

Petrol buyers are given the option of a 1.6-litre with or without a turbocharger. The former will appeal to the budget conscious, but it really does feel like stepping back in time to a period before turbocharged engines were all the rage. With 132PS, it feels slow, only really wakening up as you approach 6000rpm on the rev dial - and who wants to work a crossover that hard? It's also really low geared, requiring about 3000rpm at 70mph. As a result, it's noisy and thirsty on the motorway.

The turbocharged T-GDi has much more get up and go. With 176PS, it will hit 60mph in 8.8 seconds when combined with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.

Whichever engine you choose, the Sportage handles surprisingly well, showing little body roll in the corners. Although there's not loads of feedback in the steering, there's enough to know what the wheels are doing.

On the motorway, naturally-aspirated petrol engine aside, the Sportage is quiet and relaxed, while it's easy to drive around town.

If you're worried that buying a crossover might be a compromise in terms of driving dynamics, you needn't be too concerned. The Sportage is just as good to drive as - if not better than - regular hatchbacks like the Ceed. The extra height gives you a good view and a reversing camera (standard on all models) helps make it a doddle to park.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.6 CRDi 114 58 mpg - 130 g/km
1.6 CRDi 134 55–58 mpg - 129–135 g/km
1.6 CRDi 134 Automatic 58–59 mpg - 126–130 g/km
1.6 CRDi 134 Automatic 4WD 54–58 mpg - 128–139 g/km
1.6 CRDi Mild Hybrid 63 mpg - 120 g/km
1.6 CRDi Mild Hybrid DCT 63 mpg - 117–118 g/km
1.6 CRDi Mild Hybrid DCT 4WD 58 mpg - 131 g/km
1.6 GDI 42–45 mpg - 147–156 g/km
1.6 GDI 130 40–45 mpg - 147–162 g/km
1.6T GDI 174 37–39 mpg - 169–178 g/km
1.6T GDI 174 Automatic 4WD 37–38 mpg - 174–175 g/km
1.6T GDI 174 AWD 36 mpg - 178 g/km
1.6T GDI 4WD 37 mpg - 177 g/km
1.6T GDI Automatic 4WD 38 mpg - 175 g/km
1.7 CRDi 61 mpg - 119 g/km
1.7 CRDi 114 61 mpg - 119 g/km
1.7 CRDi 139 Automatic 58 mpg - 129 g/km
1.7 CRDi Automatic 58 mpg - 129 g/km
2.0 CRDi 134 54 mpg - 139 g/km
2.0 CRDi 134 4WD 54 mpg - 139 g/km
2.0 CRDi 134 Automatic 4WD 48 mpg - 154 g/km
2.0 CRDi 182 4WD 45–48 mpg - 154–166 g/km
2.0 CRDi 182 Automatic 4WD 45 mpg - 166 g/km
2.0 CRDi 182 AWD 49 mpg - 152 g/km
2.0 CRDi Mild Hybrid 4WD 54 mpg - 141 g/km

Real MPG average for a Kia Sportage (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

23–54 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 (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

Could you recommend a reliable, economical car that can fit a wheelchair in the back?

What would you suggest for my next car or SUV on a budget of £12,000? It needs to be easy to drive, cheap to tax, fuel efficient, high spec, high seating position, reliable and comfortable. I do 17,000 miles per year and it needs to be able to hold a powered wheelchair in its boot. An auto would nice but not sure if it would be able to cope with the mileage, as I'm worried about servicing costs. What should I look for? Thanks.
A Vauxhall Mokka could be a good option. It's a good value crossover SUV. Go for the 1.6 CDTi diesel engine, which is available with a manual or automatic gearbox. It should be fairly frugal and cheap to maintain. This should give you an idea of common issues: If you're happy with a manual gearbox, also consider a Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson. Both are very reliable SUVs with excellent 1.7-litre diesel engines.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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