Kia Sportage (2016) Review

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Kia Sportage (2016) At A Glance

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

+One of the best crossovers on the market, well-equipped, seven-year warranty, practical and spacious.

-Dull to drive, weak petrol engines, divisive styling.

New prices start from £18,795, brokers can source from £19,118
Insurance Groups are between 11–25
On average it achieves 74% of the official MPG figure

The Kia Sportage is one of the UK’s most popular cars. Launched in 2016, it’s the chief rival to the Nissan Qashqai and the countless other SUVs in this crowded market. It’s also backed by a seven-year warranty, while even the entry-level Sportage ‘2’ comes with a long list of standard equipment. A facelift in 2018 means later cars are even better, thanks to new engines, including a 1.6-litre diesel unit with mild hybrid technology.

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.

The Kia Sportage is the family SUV for people who don’t fancy a Nissan Qashqai. That might be a bit unfair, but the Sportage has been playing second fiddle to the Qashqai for many years. So why should you choose the Kia over the all-conquering Nissan?

Let’s get the obvious point out of the way first: the seven-year warranty. It means that even a launch model – this generation of Sportage arrived in 2016 – is covered until 2023. Buy a 2018 facelift car, and the Sportage is guaranteed until 2025 (assuming you don’t exceed the 100,000 miles cap).

But to paraphrase Alan Partridge, there’s more to the Kia Sportage than this. Even without the benefit of a long warranty, the Sportage would be a worthy alternative to the Qashqai. Good enough to be the king of the mainstream SUVs, in fact.

Not everyone likes the styling, but we think it is ageing well, especially since the 2018 facelift. This is certainly true of models with LED headlights and ‘ice cube’ fog lights. The 19-inch alloy wheels – standard on all except the Sportage 2 – do a grand job of filling the arches.

Inside, the Sportage looks very Germanic, but while it can’t quite match the premium Europeans in terms of perceived quality, the actual quality is very good. A Sportage will see you through to the end of its warranty without a problem.

It’s also very well-equipped. Kia has ditched the basic Sportage 1, which means the ‘2’ is the new entry-level model.

It features 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other trim levels are even more lavish. Heck, the GT-Line S feels almost premium.

The Sportage has always felt at its best with a diesel engine. This is certainly true following the 2018 facelift, thanks to the addition of a 1.6-litre diesel engine with mild hybrid technology. It offers the best blend of performance and economy, and is wildly superior to the 1.6-litre petrol engines. The non-turbocharged petrol unit is best avoided.

Most Sportage models will leave a Kia showroom in front-wheel-drive guise, but all-wheel-drive is available as an option.

It makes the Sportage feel a little more surefooted, although all versions are thoroughly pleasant to drive. Ride quality suffers a little on models with 19-inch wheels, so this could be one reason to opt for the Sportage 2.

It’s by no means a fun car to drive. However, the raised driving position, light steering and predictable handling combine to make it perfect for its target market. We’d certainly recommend a post-2018 Sportage over a Nissan Qashqai, which is showing its age.

Come for the seven-year warranty, but stay for the long list of standard equipment, the impressive cabin and the mild hybrid diesel engine. Still want that Qashqai?

Ask Honest John

Why are so many car interiors dark and dreary?
"I find it difficult to understand why so many car manufacturers only offer black/dark grey interiors, increasingly with black headlining. I think these are dreary and depressing when compared with models available in other countries and former times. I'm currently looking to replace my Kia Sportage First Edition and the choice is very limited. I would happily purchase another Kia but, as with so many other manufacturers, they no longer provide acceptable interiors. It seems that I only have the choice of Volvo XC40, Skoda Karoq and the new Hyundai Tucson (Ultimate trim only). It’s probably too much to hope that the new Nissan Qashqai will broaden my choices."
It's a matter of supply and demand. Car buyers generally prefer dark interiors – just like they prefer cars in dull exterior colours like black and silver! Dark interiors generally hide dirt well, age well and will be easy to resell in the future.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you suggest a family car with a big boot that'll be reliable?
"I have 2 teenage girls and need to trade in my small Fiat for something which is big enough to put a tent and some paddleboards in the boot. It also needs to be easy to park. I don’t care two hoots about what it looks like or how fast it goes but I don’t want it to break down. I plan to keep it for years - probably until it goes for scrap. I have £10,000 to spend - plus trade-in for my 3-year-old Fiat 500. Can you help? "
We'd recommend a Kia Sportage. It's a practical crossover SUV that represents great value for money. You'll get one a similar age to your Fiat 500, with the remainder of its seven-year manufacturer warranty remaining (provided it's been serviced correctly). Alternatively, consider an estate car like the excellent Skoda Octavia.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a replacement for my Skoda Yeti?
"I thought I had found the answer to my search for a small used SUV by looking at Skoda Yeti, but the gear box is a DSG - which I believe is bad news. I have a 2008 Mazda 6 estate petrol auto and it would be ideal to match the gearbox performance with its replacement. Any suggestions? One of the attractions of the Yeti is the size and driving position."
We'd recommend a Kia Sportage. It's available with a slick automatic gearbox and comes with a transferable seven-year warranty. Also consider a Suzuki Vitara if you'd prefer a slightly smaller crossover.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a comfortable, safe car?
"I bought a Volvo V40 in December after selling my Jeep Cherokee. I have just driven to Italy in it and discovered it's giving me serious amounts of back pain (something I never had in my Jeep). Can you recommend a safe, equally zippy, used car in the budget of £15,000, please? Thank you."
We'd recommend a Kia Sportage. It's a very comfortable choice, with supportive seats and a high driving position which might help your back. Most models (all but the entry-level '1' trim) come with adjustable lumbar support, which should help too. You might find the standard 1.6 GDi engine to be a bit lethargic but the T-GDi is much zippier. Also consider a diesel - the 1.7-litre's a very efficient engine and might suit your needs if you're regularly covering long journeys. Also consider a Renault Kadjar. It's similar to a Nissan Qashqai, but majors on comfort. The 1.3 TCe petrol engine is pretty punchy but, again, opt for the 1.5-litre diesel if you cover a lot of miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Kia Sportage (2016) cost?

Buy new from £19,118 (list price from £23,795)