THE Sportage has been an important ingredient in the rise in sales of Kia in the UK, Europe and globally, with the mid-size SUV its best-selling model in those markets.
Since 1995, almost a third of a million Sportages have been sold in the UK, with the fourth-generation car, in particular, a runaway success - 197,626 sold between 2016-2021.
Now, for the first time in the best-selling Kia Sportage's history, a dedicated European version has been created bringing greater luggage capacity, headroom and legroom compared to its predecessor, with outstanding legroom for second-row passengers.
The turbocharged 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol engine in comes paired to a functional six-speed manual transmission and develops 148bhp and 250Nm of torque.
It can accelerate to 60mph in 9.9 seconds, before achieving a top speed of 113mph. With CO emissions of 152g/km, the combined fuel economy works out at 42.2mpg.
A soft suspension set-up meaning the Kia is able to deal effectively with bumps in the road and reduce any unpleasant jolts intruding into the cabin.
The steering is a little light, but this means the SUV is easy to pilot around town and in heavier urban traffic. The ride is stable and comfortable with plenty of grip, and Kia has done a good job in reducing wind and road noise from the cabin, too. Even at motorway speeds, it's all very civilised.
The well-equipped Sportage 3 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and LED front fog lamps. Inside there's black cloth and faux leather upholstery, driver's lumbar support, front power adjustable seats, including height adjuster, heated front and rear outer seats, heated steering wheel, cruise control, engine start/stop button with Smart Entry System and an aluminium pattern finish for the centre facia and door garnish.
The interior is designed to ensure all vehicle controls can be accessed quickly and easily.
On entry, drivers are greeted by a bold, integrated curved display featuring twin high-definition 12.3-inch screens. The digital instrument cluster directly in front of the driver benefits from the latest liquid-crystal display technology for incredibly precise and clear graphics. In the centre is an easy to use, high-tech touchscreen that caters for all driver and passenger connectivity, functionality, and usability requirements.
Further convenience features throughout the interior include USB-A and USB-C fast chargers, multi-purpose hangers on the front seat backs, and 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats.
Awarded the full five stars by Euro NCAP, the Sportage is an incredibly safe family car. A suite of airbags provides protection for the occupants, including driver, passenger, side curtain and front-seat centre. ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchor fixings are provided for the rear outer seats.
Other safety equipment includes cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, along with various camera and radar-based systems that are designed to help prevent an accident. These include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist which monitors for pedestrians, cyclists and other cars, and Lane Keep Assist.
A Lane Following Assist system is able to safely track the vehicle in front through heavier motorway traffic and identify appropriate spaces in other lanes in which to move in to.
The fifth-generation Sportage is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor and provides ample space upfront for the driver and front seat passenger. Second-row occupants are treated to 996mm of legroom courtesy of new slimline front seats. It's spacious enough for three adult passengers.
There's plenty of places for your odds and ends in the Sportage's cabin.
For instance, there's awide, open shelf ahead of the gearstickthat'sbig enough foreven large smartphones.
The central cup-holders are wide and deep, and the armrest behind hides another deep bin. The glovebox is a decent size and the door bins are able to hold a one-litre bottle.
USB-C sockets are fitted in the side of the front seats, so rear seat passengers should be able to easily charge any portable devices. There arecup-holders in the back, too, whilestandard three-zone climate control means occupants in the back can also specify their own temperature setting.
Luggage capacity comes in at up to 591 litres, rising to 1,780 litres with the rear seats folded down.
The fifth-generation Kia Sportage feels a real step-up over the previous model yet continues to represent excellent value for money thanks to its generous kit levels.
It does everything a family SUV needs to do with its comfortable, practical interior, impressive list of standard safety features and a comprehensive line-up of engines that won't cost a lot to run.
And, of course, it comes with Kia's demonstration of faith - a transferable. seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
148bhp, 1,598cc, four-cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission