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Model update: Kia Sportage GT-Line S

Date: 10 March 2022   |   Author: Pete Tullin

It's extremely difficult to stand out in the crowded family SUV sector but Kia's Sportage may just have found a way of doing it.
Standard equipment:
19in alloy wheels, 40:20:40 split rear seats, LED lights, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, suede leather, heated front and outer rear seats, 12.3in colour display screen, sat-nav, Apple Carplay, Android Auto front and rear parking sensors, downhill brake control, drive mode select, forward collision-avoidance assist, city/pedestrian/cyclist/junction turning assist, hill-start assist, intelligent speed limit assist, lane following assist, lane keep assist, trailer stability assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, parking collision avoidance assist, seven-year 100,000-mile warranty.

If you're old enough to remember the original Kia Sportage then you'll probably also recall how you would do almost anything to avoid driving one. Boy, how times have changed.

Underpinning the 2022 Sportage's swanky new looks is an all-new platform and a fresh range of powertrains, all aimed at boosting driving manners, performance, refinement and efficiency.  

The motor line-up includes a 150hp 1.6-litre T-GDi, which, in the 48-volt mild-hybrid guise we're driving here, comes with a seven-speed automatic as standard.

Additionally, a self-charging hybrid delivering a combined 226bhp will be followed later this year by a four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid model. Featuring an electric motor and a 13.8kWh battery pack, it is expected to give an EV range of around 30 miles.

Rounding out the lineup is a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel in 113bhp and 134bhp guise.

Judging by our experience of the mild hybrid version, the Sportage drives as well as it looks. All-round visibility is notably improved compared with its rather pokey predecessor but perhaps the thing that strikes you most is just how quieter this new model is. 

It's exceptionally good at blotting out road noise and the suspension does an extremely slick job of isolating occupants from heftier lumps and bumps. In some respects, it is a victim of its own success, because by focusing so much energy on quelling larger interlopers, less significant bumps, such as those created by expansion joints and smaller surface ripples, can seem more notable. 

The fact the steering is rather devoid of connection means there is a slight sense of driving by wire, but to some extent this hardly matters, as the chassis is blessed with extremely high levels of reassuring grip.  

The mild-hybrid system is generally impressive, too, delivering strong, flexible progress with smooth transitions between the two power sources. Just occasionally though, the engine response can tend to go a wee bit rogue and react rather aggressively to accelerator inputs; which is not great if all you want to do is gently mosey along in stop-stop traffic. 

The T-GDi engine can also get somewhat vociferous when pushing the dial beyond its favoured 2-3,000rpm comfort zone but, unless you're inclined to play Mr Angry with the accelerator pedal, the auto box will up-shift early in the rev range and do its best to keep you away from the shoutier end of proceedings.  

There's nothing unusual about wide-screen panoramic digital displays these days, or the cornucopia of infotainment menus hidden behind their glossy façades. The Sportage is no exception to this and its one of the more intuitive systems to operate, plus it has a couple of party tricks up its sleeve. 

As well as changing appearance and hues with the various driving modes, the speedo and rev counter will also transform into circular blind spot camera displays on higher-spec models. Additional techie touches include a discreet chime that signals the departure of the vehicle in front, which is useful if you're prone to a spot of traffic light daydreaming. 

Besides the tech, the overall quality of the Sportage's interior is smart and solid. Granted, the seat cushions are a little thin on material content and the rotary auto gearbox selector will probably not be to everyone's tastes but overall there's a sophisticated feel about the place and a neat execution to everything you come in contact with. 

Notable exceptions include a few harder plastics in the lower reaches of the cabin, but these are mainly reserved for the areas your boots and luggage will most frequently come in contact with. There's plenty of head, leg and elbow room for four and there's a decent sized boot to accommodate the luggage. At 565 litres with rear seats in place, it's slightly smaller than a VW Tiguan but a fair chunk bigger than the 430 litres you get in a Qashqai.

The latest Sportage may have taken a fair few years and quite a few iterations to get to this point but with its striking looks, advanced tech, improved driving manners and efficient powertrains, the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan would do well to take note.

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line S 48V DCT AWD  

P11D: £38,380

Residual value: 41.76%

Depreciation: £22,354

Fuel: £8,206

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,670

Cost per mile: 55p

Fuel consumption: 40.4mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 158g/km (36%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £191/£383

Luggage capacity: 562 litres

Engine size/power: 1,598cc/150hp 


  • Excellent cabin isolation
  • Airy, spacious interior
  • Clever tech
  • Noisy engine when extended
  • Vague steering connection
  • Occasional jerky accelerator response