February 21, 2018


This third-generation Kia Sportage is the Korean firm’s key contender in the highly competitive compact SUV/crossover market .

Penned by German automotive designer Peter Schreyer, the Sportage’s tall dimensions give it a premium SUV presence, further enhanced by a ‘tiger nose’ and sharp, wrap-around headlights. The flanks are broken up with a distinctive lower crease, combined with a rising waistline and smaller glass area – continuing the Sportage’s upmarket look.



Sportage comes in two and four wheel drive form. For two wheel drive cars, the trim line-up consists of 1,2,3 and 3 Sat Nav. Meanwhile, All-wheel drive variants comprise: KX-2, KX-3, KX-3 Sat Nav and the top of the range KX-4 – tested here.

On the road the Sportage shows itself to be more about delivering comfort and refinement than a sharp dynamic steer. Not that this is necessarily to its detriment – Kia’s SUV actually feeling more attuned to everyday driving. True, there is a sport button that sharpens up the throttle and adds extra weight to the naturally light steering, but ultimately the car feels more authentic in Comfort mode. The ride is soft and pliant with a well-judged compromise between body control and handling response. Unique to this KX-4 range-topper is an 181bhp version of Kia’s 2.0-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine. Developing 382Nm (282lb/ft) of torque from 1,800rpm to 2,500rpm, the motor always feels strong and responsive and can propel this SUV to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 121 mph (in automatic guise).

An intelligent All-Wheel Drive system apportions 100 percent of engine torque to the front wheels in normal conditions, anticipating when AWD will be needed and then redistributes up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear to assist cornering, stability or if available grip deteriorates. Additionally, a ‘lock mode’ button, situated next to the gear shifter, gives a 50:50 torque split (full 4×4) up to speeds of 25 mph.

Emissions and economy aren’t so great, with 189g/km of CO2 and an official combined cycle figure of 39.2mpg. However, manual models do score better on both counts (158g/km of CO2 and 46.3mpg).

Once inside, you’ll instantly feel at home, thanks to large comfy leather seats, a spacious airy cabin and attractive, ergonomically sound dashboard. The large, well positioned touch-screen infotainment system controls audio and car systems, along with the easy-to-use satellite navigation. True, some plastics feel a little cheap and switchgear doesn’t quite have the polish of German rivals, but these are minor niggles, all things considered. It’s a shame the front passenger seat doesn’t have the height and lumber adjustment of the driver’s chair. Some may also find the rear vision a bit restricted, although this Sportage gets a reversing camera as standard. Boot space is competitive – trouncing both the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti. Seats up, there’s 564 litres on offer. With them down this extends to 1353 litres.

This Sportage KX-4 comes fully loaded with equipment and builds on the specification of the KX-3 Sat Nav by adding a Parallel Parking Assist System – complete with all-round parking sensors – a keyless smart entry system and engine stop/start button and stainless steel door scuff plates.



The Kia Sportage is a fine effort from the Korean firm. It offers  real visual presence, good build quality, comfort and loads of standard  kit, along with strong  performance. Of course, some buyers will prefer a sharper drive, but the only real disappointment is the below average fuel economy (on four-wheel automatic drive variants).

Tech spec:

Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDI KX4 AWD
Price OTR: £29,505
Engine: 1995cc 4cyl turbodiesel
Max power: 181 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Max torque: 382Nm Nm at 1,400 – 2,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, All-wheel drive
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
Top speed: 121 mph
Economy/CO2: 39.2mpg, 189g/km



About Philip