What is the difference between the European Sportage and the version sold in other markets around the world? KIA states that, when deciding the scope of the design for the Sportage, Europe, and indeed the UK, deserved an SUV honed for buyers’ specific tastes. A spokesperson added: “This allowed the designers and engineers to create two versions of the car. The European model gets an optimal wheelbase, with ideal dimensions and proportions for European roads, while the international model grows in size and features different powertrains, technologies and other features. The result is a pair of cars that better meet the needs of different regions, avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we have two distinct versions of the Sportage that seriously deliver on each of their briefs on opposite continents.”

Inside story

The line-up begins with ‘2’ models, moving up to ‘GT-Line’, ‘3’, and ‘4’ grades, and top-drawer ‘GT-Line S’. Inside the ‘2’, there’s an electric parking brake, auto-dimming mirror, steering wheel controls for the audio system, and remote central locking. All ‘2’ models are equipped with black cloth seats, a driver’s manual seat height adjuster, leather steering wheel and metallic finish to the centre fascia and door garnishes. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth with music streaming are fitted as standard to all versions of the Sportage, together with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display, six speakers and DAB radio for ‘2’ models. In addition, a 4.2-inch supervision colour cluster display is provided on the instrument binnacle. Front and rear parking sensors are bolstered by a reversing camera system displayed on the integrated touchscreen.

Climb into a ‘GT-Line’ and you will find an expansive and curved 12.3-inch touchscreen display with navigation system and 4.2-inch instrument cluster, plush suede and leather upholstery, driver’s lumbar support, D -shaped sports leather steering wheel with perforated inserts and ‘GT-Line’ logo, black headlining, sports pedals, an aluminium pattern finish to the centre fascia and door garnishes plus an engine start/stop button with Smart Entry System.

The ‘3’ takes all of the above as its starting point and adds 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, engine start/stop button with Smart Entry System and an aluminium pattern finish for the centre fascia and door garnish.

The ‘4’ adds a Harman Kardon premium audio system, along with a 15W wireless smartphone charger and a 360-degree Around View Monitor.

The ‘GT-Line S’ variant provides front occupants with a 10-way driver and 8-way passenger powered, ventilated seats and a smart powered tailgate.

The centre console provides further flexible storage. For example, by simply pressing a button, the cupholders located in the centre console rotate outwards and can be pushed back in when not needed. This area also features a shift-by-wire transmission dial on automatic models while a wireless smartphone charger on ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models offer 15W wireless charging. Dual- or tri-zone climate control systems (depending on the spec) allow front and rear passengers to tailor the interior temperature to suit. Further convenience features throughout the interior include USB-A and USB-C fast chargers and coat hangers on the front seatbacks.

Finely detailed metal-look air vents and a signature strip run across the dashboard and onto the door panels to give it a luxurious appearance. Top-spec ‘GT-Line S’ models have seats trimmed in premium dark suede and leather, a black headlining, and suede trim inserts throughout.

Size matters

Size-wise, this five-seat family crossover is 30mm longer, 10mm wider, 10mm longer wheelbase, and 10mm higher than its predecessor, hence more headroom, legroom and boot space. The 40/20/40 split rear seats (rather than the usual 60/40 arrangement) fold down by pulling a lever on either side of the boot area. Up to 591 litres of luggage space with the seats up and a maximum boot capacity of 1,780 litres with the rear seats down. Door bins and glovebox are a decent size too. Rear seat backs can recline, though cannot slide back and forth.

While forward visibility around relatively thin A-pillars is good, the over-the-shoulder view out of the back is limited due to the sloping roofline, shallow rear window and chunky rear pillars. Large wing mirrors help with rear vision combined with rear parking sensors and a camera linked to the touchscreen with dynamic guidelines.

Infotainment and connectivity

The Kia Connect smartphone app allows users to connect with their vehicle remotely. Drivers can sync calendars, plan journeys with online navigation and access key onboard features, including live traffic alerts, local fuel station information and real-time weather forecasts. The Remote Monitoring section of the Kia Connect app will even remind the driver if their doors are locked, the windows are up and where they left their vehicle. A Harman Kardon premium sound system is offered as standard equipment on ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ editions.

Advanced driver assistance systems

The ‘3’ variant we took out this week with advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies,

As part of Kia’s DriveWise ADAS package, all versions of the new Sportage feature Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Junction Turning functionality, helping avoid collisions with oncoming cars, pedestrians and bicycles when turning left or right across junctions.

Highway Driving Assist (HDA) maintains a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead when driving on a motorway and helps to centre the new Sportage in its lane. HDA can also adjust vehicle speed according to the speed limit and is fitted to all automatic versions of the Sportage. Lane Following Assist features on all versions and helps centre the vehicle in the lane. When driving, LFA can be switched on and off with the press of a button.

When operating the indicator, if there is a risk of collision with a rear-side vehicle, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist provides a warning to the driver on all ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models.

Inherited from the Sorento and EV6, the Sportage also features Kia’s Blind-Spot View Monitor system on ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models.

For navigating into and out of tight parking spaces, drivers can call upon the Sportage’s Remote Smart Parking Assist system to take the hassle out of parking entirely.

On balance, the fifth generation Sportage provides a spacious cabin with plenty of tech throughout. It feels relatively quiet and civilised due to some NVH management measures. The overall interior design is easy on the eye. Everything feels reassuringly solid. Rival models include the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Ford Kuga.