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 most important 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 file at 4.7 p.c. The Sportage is a serious contributor to that. It’s the Korean model’s greatest promoting mannequin globally—not surprisingly, because it’s persistently been an incredible, well-priced, dependable midsize SUV—which makes this revamp all of the extra necessary.
This new mannequin sticks to these core values, nevertheless 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 seems to be very trendy but additionally slightly over-styled, significantly across the confusion of angular LED headlights.
As for engines, the Kia Sportage affords one thing for everybody, until you’re after a pure electrical automotive—by which case, you may need to have 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 affords comparable know-how to a Toyota Rav4, which is one other of the Sportage’s many and various rivals. A small 1.5-kWh battery provides quick stints of pure electrical working at low speeds, or once 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 a much bigger 13.8-kWh battery, which you cost through a Type 2 AC socket and may be topped up from flat to full in underneath 5 hours at a most fee of three.3 kW—slightly 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 seemingly 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 automated gearbox along with the electrical motor, and they flick between electrical and petrol with out an excessive amount of noise and vibration. They’re additionally comfortable 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 in case you can, as they will make the low-speed journey a contact uneven.