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How safe is the 2023 Kia Sportage? Score revealed for family SUV rival to Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Mitsubishi Outlander

The Sportage is sold in long-wheelbase guise in Australia, but the short-wheelbase version was tested by Euro NCAP.

Kia’s top-selling model, the Sportage medium SUV, has finally been crash tested for the Australian market after going on sale late last year.

The Sportage achieved a maximum five-star rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) under its 2022 protocols, and the score was based on actual testing conducted by Euro NCAP.

Kia has two body styles for the Sportage depending on the market. Australia takes a long-wheelbase (LWB) version, while the short-wheelbase (SWB) model is sold across Western Europe and it was this Sportage that was tested.

ANCAP confirmed that Kia provided additional information showing that “equivalent performance can be expected for vehicles supplied in Australia and New Zealand”.

When CarsGuide asked whether the longer dimensions of the Australian-spec car would have impacted the result given the shorter vehicle was crash tested, the safety watchdog provided this statement.

“The slightly longer wheelbase of Sportage models supplied to Australia has been considered and evaluated as part of ANCAP’s local rating assessment.

“Based on the technical evidence provided by Kia to ANCAP, the slightly longer wheelbase does not have any significant effect on the Sportage’s crash / safety performance. There are slight differences in the seating and restraint configuration, and these differences have been assessed by ANCAP as providing comparable performance to that of the SWB tested in Europe.”

ANCAP has requested additional information from manufacturers to further assess slightly different variants for some time now.

The Australian-spec Sportage went on sale late in 2021. The Australian-spec Sportage went on sale late in 2021.

In testing, the Sportage scored 87 per cent for both the Adult and Child Occupant Protection tests, with a low risk of injury in a collision with an oncoming vehicle.

The Sportage is fitted with a front centre airbag that helps avoid injury between the driver and front passenger in the instance of a side collision.

ANCAP said the Sportage performed well in most auto emergency braking (AEB) tests involving pedestrians and cyclists, but it was patchy when interacting with other vehicles.

Unlike Australian versions, European-spec models are not fitted with the junction assist function of AEB, so this feature was not tested. However, ANCAP said Australian models would have likely achieved a higher score for Safety Assist tests if it had have been included in the European models.

The Sportage joins a number of its direct competitors in coming with a five-star ANCAP rating, including the Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Haval H6, MG HS, Volkswagen Tiguan and the mechanically related Hyundai Tucson.