February 2009


  • Interesting design and well-built feel
  • Comfortable and adjustable interior
  • Less body roll in corners than some rivals
  • An alternative choice to the Nissans and Hyundais


  • Alternatives have cleaner engines
  • Underwhelming interior on some models
  • Prices are high for top-spec cars
  • Lacks prestige of upmarket competitors
The new Sportage represents a long-jump forward in quality and design for Kia, and the wide range of price points should help the Korean brand carve larger profits from the growing SUV sector. However, it competes in a crowded market sector - nearly every other manufacturer has a horse in this race.

The Sportage sits below the large Sorento SUV and above the MPV-like Carens in Kia's stable of family cars. Competitors include the strong Hyundai Tucson, the stylish Renault Kadjar, and the ubiquitous Nissan Qashqai - among others. Kia is up against stiff opposition.

It offers high levels of space with all the height and versatility expected from an SUV. The boot is large, the back seats fold down for extra cargo space, and there's room for four adults to travel in comfort. The Sportage has been made generally larger in this generation, meaning more room for people and their luggage.

The punchy diesel engines may feel more powerful than those of competitors, but they're also noisier and slightly less efficient. While the Sportage is generally pleasant to drive, there are rivals on the market that deliver a smoother experience on the road.

Appearance-wise, the new Sportage represents a significant departure from Kia's existing design language. The headlights appear to be mounted higher on the car, almost on top of the bonnet, and are strikingly different to the pleasing design of the previous generation.

Our verdict on the Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 4
The new Sportage meets the requirements of a huge number of families in the UK, offering excellent space, practicality and versatility. It also offers reasonable on-road behaviour, and there's a four-wheel-drive option. But it competes in a crowded market sector, with some very competent rivals - some of which outperform it on emissions and refinement.