2019 Kia Sportage Review
The Sportage is Kia’s best-selling model and one of the most-searched SUVs for sale on Carzone
Pros: Frugal running costs, pleasant drive, standard equipment
Cons: Better handling rivals, styling hasn’t changed,
The Sportage is Kia’s best-selling model in Ireland and one of the most-searched compact SUVs for sale on Carzone, alongside the popular Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson. It’s easy to see why the Sportage has become a firm favourite with family buyers, with its spacious cabin, raised ride height and efficient diesel engines. The Sportage has been mildly updated for 2019 with various styling tweaks, a new diesel engine and new technology upgrades too, but is it still a leading option in the when new entrants such as the Skoda Karoq are emerging? We spent a week with the new Sportage on Irish roads recently to find out.
What is it like?
The new Sportage looks similar to its predecessor in terms of styling, though the bumpers have been restyled with new LED lights, fog lights and silver skid plates. It’s better to think of the new Sportage as a mid-life facelift rather than an outright redesign. In entry level specification the Sportage boasts 16-inch alloy wheels and body coloured bumpers and mirrors , but our snazzy ‘K4’ spec test car has large 19-inch alloy wheels, upgraded body styling and a gloss black front grille.
Stepping inside, the Sportage has gained a new leather-wrapped steering and the infotainment has improved, but once again, there haven’t been any drastic changes. The cabin is spacious with enough room to seat five adults in comfort, and the rear seats are well-equipped for family needs with ISOFIX mounts and large windows. General fit and finish throughout the cabin is good although there are some scratchy plastics in lower-reaching areas.
The Sportage is equipped with a seven-inch touch screen system with Android Auto and Apple Car Play as standard, and the system is easy to use, though not as impressive as the equivalent system in the Skoda Karoq or SEAT Ateca. There are plenty of areas to store items throughout the cabin with large door bins, an area to hold smartphones and a pair of large coffee cup holders. Boot space is good with 503 litres of room available which is significantly more than the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres) and on par with the Hyundai Tucson (513 litres).
The big news for this updated Sportage is that the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine of old has been replaced with a new 1.6-litre diesel engine, which Kia is touting as the cleanest diesel engine it has ever made. This engine is available in two power outputs, either 115hp or 136hp, and with a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic. As standard, the Sportage runs a front-wheel-drive system though it is also available in all-wheel-drive variants.
The new 1.6-litre diesel model is well-suited to Irish roads with reasonable performance and excellent fuel economy. It gathers pace around well and overtakes strongly at motorway speeds, while we achieved around 5.4 litres per 100 kilometre of driving in fuel economy, with annual motor tax rated at €270. The six-speed manual gearbox is well-suited to mixed driving, and we found the 115-horsepower variant offered sufficient power for most needs.
The Sportage prioritises comfort out on the road, and it is well-suited to family life with light steering and standard parking sensors. Through tight turns the Sportage feels planted and it has a firmer suspension setup than class rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, although it isn’t particularly inspiring to drive like most compact SUVs. The 19-inch wheels on our high-specification test car do add a degree of harshness over bumpy surfaces, so we would recommend the smaller 17-inch options. All-wheel-drive is strictly available with the largest 2.0-litre diesel engine, however front-wheel-drive should suffice for most buyer’s needs.
Prices for the new Kia Sportage start from €29,495 in Ireland and there are several different lines of specification to choose from (K2, K3, K4 and GT Line). The entry K2 model is well-equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, folding heated mirrors, LED daytime running lights, a leather steering wheel, upper and lower ISOFIX mounts, a seven-inch touch screen system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, rear parking sensors, cruise control, manual air conditioning and a suite of driving aids such as Emergency stop and brake assist.
Prices for the K4 model that we drove start from €33,045 and it adds sportier 19-inch wheels, a gloss black grille, chrome detailing, rain sensing window wipers, rear LED lights, heated front and rear seats, a smart key with keyless start, lane keep assist and upgraded brakes.
Carzone verdict: 3.5/5
The Kia Sportage is an established crossover favourite with Irish families, and subtle updates for 2019 with improved engines and tech will help to reinforce this position. The Sportage is spacious and well-equipped with affordable running costs, which makes it ideal for driving on Irish roads. Competition in the class is fierce however, and the Sportage loses out to some of its main rivals on refinement and cabin quality.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Kia Sportage K4
Prices from: €29,495
Price as tested: €33,045
Annual Road Tax: €270
Engine: 1,598cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Top Speed: tbc
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 503 litres