What's the used Kia Sportage 4x4 like?
It would be accurate to say that the Sportage is one of the cars that has led Kia’s revival over the past few years, with the third-generation version selling more in its final year of production than any year before and being responsible for a quarter of all Kia’s sales.
This is the fourth-generation car, and it takes all the good points of that previous model – the attractive styling, the practicality, the low cost and the splendid seven-year warranty – and then adds a dash of dynamic glamour, being better to drive and more comfortable to be in. With a range of new engines and some revisions to the interior, its purpose is also to push the brand slightly upmarket, bringing it up against some pretty tough opposition.
Under the bonnet is a 1.7-litre diesel (the best seller in the range), 2.0-litre diesels with 134bhp or 182bhp and two petrols: a 1.6-litre unit and a more powerful turbocharged 1.6-litre engine.
On the equipment front, there are seven levels to pick from: 1, 2/KX-2, 3/KX-3, 4/KX-4, KX-5, GT-Line and GT-Line S. The entry-level Sportage comes equipped with 16in alloys, front foglights, hill start assist and descent control as standard, while inside there is air conditioning, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and cruise control.
Upgrade to 2 and you will find 17in alloys, roof rails, rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and lights, and Kia's safety systems, while inside there is dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera and Kia's 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system, complete with sat-nav and smartphone integration.
Sportages kitted out in 3/KX-3 trim gain luxuries such as an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, a panoramic sunroof and a eight speaker JBL audio system, while 4/KX-4 adds ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, electrically adjustable front seats, front parking sensors, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and keyless entry/start, along with Kia's autonomous braking system and blindspot monitoring system.
KX-5 models gain a electric tailgate, automatic parking assist, a wireless phone charging system and two-tone leather upholstery, while the GT-Line models add an aggressive body kit, numerous GT-Line decals and inserts, a twin exhaust and Kia's signature LED front foglights. The GT-Line S adds numerous features found as standard on the KX-5 Sportage, including Kia's 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, JBL sound system, panoramic sunroof and adaptive xenon headlights.
On the road, the base 1.6 petrol feels a bit weedy. The turbocharged 1.6 petrol version gets along very nicely but still doesn’t offer the low-down grunt of the diesels. They start with the 1.7-litre unit, which is a smooth and punchy and impressive unit, if let down a little by a hint of gruffness at lower speeds. Even the lower powered of the two 2.0 diesels feels gutsy enough, and the higher-powered model is very lively.
Body lean is well controlled in corners, and there’s a good level of grip available. While the steering is pleasant enough and its handling safe and predictable, the Sportage, in common with many other SUVs in this class, isn’t especially fun to drive. Its ride is likewise competent, even if it actually feels slightly firmer than one or two of its rivals, and it can be very unsettled by bumps and potholes on cars fitted with the larger 19in wheel option. Refinement is good, too, especially at motorway speeds, with little in the way of wind and road noise, although the diesels emit a gravelly note around town.
Inside, the Sportage has a good driving position that caters for drivers of all shapes and sizes. The view is good, and the dashboard and surrounding areas are covered in reasonable plastics, with some matt and some shiny surfaces. It feels solidly put together, and all the controls are logically placed, but some rivals are classier inside.
There’s plenty of space up front, though, and two rear seat passengers have enough head and leg room, while three adults can sit side by side for shorter journeys. The Sportage has a big boot, too, with a low loading lip and a large opening.