The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder
A good-looking crossover SUV, capable in its class but not beyond.
Pros
Strikingly attractive appearance
Spacious interior
Wide choice
Cons
Like all such cars, it’s a triumph of form over function
Merely acceptable ride
Trim is not the highest quality

Kia Sportage Mk 3 review (2010-2015)

The Sportage comes with looks that promise much but in truth, it delivers little compared with conventional alternatives.

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What is the Kia Sportage?

The Sportage is a Korean crossover SUV that knows that in this class appearances are everything. It comes with looks that promise much, clothing a car that delivers little compared with conventional alternatives.


View the used Kia Sportage cars for sale on driving.co.uk


In this regard it is little different from most of the cars that populate this perpetually underachieving class. Closest rivals include the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai; the only notable product in the category is the exceptional Skoda Yeti.

The drive

The line-up stretches far and wide, across three diesel and two petrol engines, four equipment grades and, to complicate matters further, the choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Given that almost all vehicles will be used as general family holdalls rather than off-roaders, there’s little argument in favour of spending the extra on all-wheel drive.

Indeed, given that the two-wheel-drive versions are light, frugal and cheap and offer surprisingly good performance and economy, there’s not much of a case to be made for choosing a big engine either. The entry-level 1.6-litre petrol or 1.7-litre diesel should more than suffice.

While the Sportage has adequate performance and economy by class standards, it is underwhelming compared with a normal car. Similarly, it handles well compared with, say, a Qashqai, but in truth that’s not saying much. Compared with a Golf or a Focus, it’s a pudding. At least we can say the ride quality is good without the need for further qualification.

The interior

2013 Kia Sportage Mk3 interior

The Sportage’s static qualities are far more impressive than its dynamic ones. In the cabin you’ll find the towering driving position that’s sought after by buyers of this kind of car and excellent visibility in all directions except over the shoulder.

There’s loads of space in there too, not just for you and your kids, but for all the family clobber. The boot has a cavernous 564-litre capacity before you put the rear seats down, far ahead of the class average.

If the interior lacks anything, it’s flexibility. The rear seats fold but they don’t slide, recline or come out. Then again, most owners would choose space over gimmicks and would be right to do so.

The cockpit is architecturally sound and cosmetically inviting. It has the look of a premium dashboard even if, as you will discover should you decide to go prodding around at some of the hard plastics in use, the feel is somewhat missing.

What to look out for when buying a used Kia Sportage

Kia averages little more than one recall a year across its entire model range, so it’s no surprise that Sportage owners have yet to be summoned to their dealer. Reliability issues are also few and far between; that’s how Kia can afford to provide that generous warranty. This doesn’t mean faults are completely unknown, however.

The front seats can suffer from tears along the sides of the base, near the front, because of the frame chafing the material. Also, some cars have been known to suffer from central locking issues. But so far that’s about it, and dealers tend to look after their customers pretty well.

Kia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDi 2WD specifications
  • Price: £20,600 (correct at time of first publication)
  • Engine: 1685cc, 4 cylinders
  • Power: 114bhp @ 4000rpm
  • Torque: 192 lb ft @ 1250rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Acceleration: 0-62mph in 11.9sec
  • Top speed: 107mph
  • Fuel: 54.3mpg (combined)
  • CO2: 135g/km
  • Road tax band: E
  • Dimensions: L 4440mm, W 1855mm, H 1645mm
Kia Sportage rivals

 View the used Kia Sportage cars for sale on driving.co.uk