Remember when Kia was an underdog to the established automotive manufacturers? How instances have modified. Kia and its sister marque, Hyundai, are actually two of the largest names within the automotive market. Kia alone accounts for a 7 p.c market share within the UK. In the US, Hyundai-Kia have been the fifth biggest participant in 2021, comfortably beating VW and BMW, and Kia alone set a brand new market share report at 4.7 p.c. The Sportage is a serious contributor to that. It’s the Korean model’s largest promoting mannequin globally—not surprisingly, because it’s persistently been an amazing, well-priced, dependable midsize SUV—which makes this revamp all of the extra necessary.
This new mannequin sticks to these core values, however it additionally makes some huge leaps. First of these is the drastic change in styling. Subjective as ever, it’s as much as you whether or not you just like the look of the Kia Sportage, however to those eyes it appears very trendy but additionally moderately over-styled, significantly across the confusion of angular LED headlights.
As for engines, the Kia Sportage presents one thing for everybody, until you’re after a pure electrical automotive—by which case, you would possibly wish to take a look at the Kia EV6, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq 5, or Skoda Enyaq iV. The Sportage caters to everybody else, with petrol or diesel engines in addition to the hybrid engines we’re specializing in right here, together with a “full” hybrid and a plug-in hybrid badged Sportage HEV and Sportage PHEV.
The full hybrid presents comparable expertise to a Toyota Rav4, which is one other of the Sportage’s many and diverse rivals. A small 1.5-kWh battery provides quick stints of pure electrical working at low speeds, or if you’re off the throttle and coasting alongside, however you possibly can’t plug it in and you don’t get greater than a minute or so of pure electrical working at a time.
The plug-in hybrid will get an even bigger 13.8-kWh battery, which you cost by way of a Type 2 AC socket and may be topped up from flat to full in underneath 5 hours at a most price of three.3 kW—somewhat gradual in comparison with some rivals, however not a deal breaker. That battery brings a claimed WLTP pure electrical vary of 43 miles, however I managed round 36 miles fairly simply in real-world driving. Winter circumstances will doubtless see that drop to round 30 miles.
Both the HEV and PHEV use a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder petrol engine and a six-speed dual-clutch computerized gearbox at the side of the electrical motor, and they flick between electrical and petrol with out an excessive amount of noise and vibration. They’re additionally cozy and assured to drive, and quiet, supplied you’re not revving the coarse-sounding petrol engine too onerous. Just keep away from the massive 19-inch wheels should you can, as they’ll make the low-speed experience a contact uneven.