Kia Sportage Review 2023
Kia Sportage At A Glance
Remember when the last-generation Kia Sportage looked pretty outlandish? It still sold by the bucketload, we soon started to see them everywhere and now, if anything, it looks a bit bland. Well, there’s no danger of the new Kia Sportage blending in. It’s even bolder in design than the new Hyundai Tucson – which is saying something – while SUV competitors like the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008 aren’t going to turn heads like the new Sportage. Just how good the rest of the car is we'll explore in our Kia Sportage review.
You can decide for yourself if you like how the new Kia Sportage looks but we’d suggest it’s worth remaining open-minded until you’ve sat in the cabin. In there, you get a fancy dual-screen infotainment system (on mid-spec models and above), as well as comfortable seats and a whole heap of standard equipment for your cash.
While the Kia Sportage’s near-£27,000 start price means it isn’t exactly a budget option any more, you do get a lot of kit for your money. The range kicks off with the Kia Sportage 2, which comes with an eight-inch touchscreen media system, a reversing camera, cruise control and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Kia Sportage GT-Line is meant to be a sportier choice, which explains the 19-inch alloy wheels and gloss black exterior highlights, while we reckon the mid-spec Kia Sportage 3 represents the sweet spot in the range. This features 18-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch navigation system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. You also get part-faux-leather seats and a heated steering wheel.
Sitting above this is the Kia Sportage 4, which comes with a panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon sound system and a wireless phone charger, while the range is topped up with the pricey Kia Sportage GT-Line S. This is fully-loaded, with standard equipment including bespoke exterior styling, 19-inch alloys (18-inch on the hybrid), part-artificial leather and ventilated front seats. You also get an electric tailgate.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choice already, wait until we get onto the engine line-up. We’ll cover this in-depth in the engine section (click the 'driving' tab above), but it includes petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid power. You can’t buy an electric Kia Sportage – if that’s what you’re after, take a look at the Kia EV6 instead.
Kia also offers the Sportage with a variety of manual and automatic transmissions, and you can get it with four-wheel drive if you really must. We wouldn’t bother unless you live in the Scottish Highlands. And, even then, a set of winter tyres might be a better investment.
So far, we’ve sampled the entry-level 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol and, while the hybrid options certainly make a lot of sense in 2022, there’s a lot to be said for straightforward petrol power. It’s powerful enough for most drivers, while the six-speed manual gearbox is perfectly functional.
Where we think the Kia Sportage makes less sense is the higher-spec, more complex (i.e. hybrid) models. These are more expensive to buy and it could take a while for private buyers to recoup the cost in fuel savings.
Still, there’s a lot going for the Kia Sportage and it really should be high up on your shortlist compared to the likes of the Vauxhall Grandland, Volkswagen Tiguan and Ford Kuga.