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Kia Sportage 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.8
Kia is a brand on the march, with sharply designed product and the backing of the industry's best new car warranty - and the medium five-seat Sportage SUV is at the front line of the brand's surge.

Despite its relatively small size, Kia is a brand on the march, with a brace of new, sharply designed products and the backing of the industry's best new car warranty.

The Kia Sportage is at the front line of the surge, with sales of the medium, five-seat SUV climbing rapidly.

Let's take a look at the Kia Sportage line-up for 2017.

Kia Sportage 2017: Si (FWD)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$16,888

Is there anything interesting about its design?  8/10

Kia's exterior design has come into its own in this current generation of models, with its designers adopting  the same large, hourglass-style grille across the range.

There's a deferential nod to the Sportage's SUV intentions, with thin black plastic overfender liners and covers, while the nose offers good clearance for cityscapes and parking blocks.

The Sportage is among the sharpest looking medium size SUVs out there at the moment, and the Si and SLi models don't let the side down. They do miss out on the distinctive quad LED driving lamps of the top grades, but the single halogen foglights still look okay.

  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017
  • Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017 Kia Sportage GT Line diesel 2017

The GT Line stands out even further, with concept car-like 19-inch rims, a body kit, blacked-out exterior and an unusually cool headlight/LED driving lamp arrangement.

As the interior photos show, it's quite dark throughout, thanks mainly to its GT Line status. Various shades of grey and black dominate, with a lighter roof liner adding some ambience to the interior.

Right from the entry level version of the Sportage, this SUV is spot on for everyday practicality.

When it comes to colours, 'Clear White' is available right across the range, along with 'Clear Silver', 'Sparkling Silver' – more of a grey, really - and 'Fiery Red.'

The range-topping petrol can also be had in 'Snow White' or 'Cherry Black', while 'Mercury Blue' is available across most of the range. Brighter hues like orange and gold aren't offered.

How practical is the space inside?  9/10

Right from the entry level version of the Sportage, this SUV is spot on for everyday practicality, with a load of features that will be used regularly – and a lack of gizmos that will be ignored.

The 7.0-inch infotainment screen is one of the standard features across the range, and can be controlled either by a touch or via a clear, concise and easy-to-operate line of buttons on the centre console – though the deep-set screen means it can be a stretch to reach it.

A pair of traditional dials brackets a small digital screen in the centre of the dash. Again, it's a real nod to simplicity and ease of use. The steering wheel controls are comprehensive, even on the base Si, but again they are simple to understand and use.

Storage spaces are plentiful and clever in the Sportage, too. Two cup holders are in the centre console, there's room for larger bottles in all four doors, as well as a pair of (slightly small) cup holders in the centre rear armrest.

There's 466 litres of boot size with the seats up – more, in terms of boot space dimensions, than the Mazda CX-5.

A pair of ISOFIX baby seat mounts are fitted on the rear outboard seats, but the centre rear sash belt is mounted in the ceiling. It needs to be disconnected if you want to make the most of the large cargo space, which is a pain, to be honest. It diminishes from the car's otherwise good practicality.

If you're running a kid's sport team, there's one question you'll undoubtedly have; how many seats does a Kia Sportage have? Just five, and there's no option for a third row.

The 60/40 split rear seats flop down quickly and firmly with the pull of a lever on the sides of the seats. There's 466 litres of boot size with the seats up – more, in terms of boot space dimensions, than the Mazda CX-5 – and 1455 litres of luggage capacity in the down position.

One small annoyance is a lack of auto-up on the passenger side front window in the entry-level Si, but it's common across a lot of Kia and Hyundai cars.

There are plenty of places to charges phones and tablets across all Kia Sportage models, with a pair of 12 volt sockets for rear-seat passengers and a pair for the front, as well as USB and auxiliary in ports.

  • 2016 Kia Sportage SLi. 2016 Kia Sportage SLi.
  • 2016 Kia Sportage SLi. 2016 Kia Sportage SLi.
  • 2016 Kia Sportage SLi. 2016 Kia Sportage SLi.
  • 2016 Kia Sportage SLi. 2016 Kia Sportage SLi.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is coming for the Si, we're told, and will be able to be retrofitted by dealers with a simple software upgrade. This allows you to use your phone like an MP3 player, amongst other functions.

There's no CD player or digital radio for the sound system, though the standard speakers are surprisingly impressive. The GT Line also gets an inductive phone charging tray.

Despite the Sportage being a medium SUV in size, it fits four adults in absolute comfort and ease.

A cargo net and tie-down hooks are included in the cargo area of SLi and above models, and there's a full-sized spare underneath the boot floor. There are also LED lights throughout the cabin.

Despite the Sportage being a medium SUV in size, it fits four adults in absolute comfort and ease, and five when required; three kids across the back is no problem. The driving position is slightly higher than expected, but it's still perfectly suited to both small and tall drivers.

The full-length glass sunroof of the top-spec GT Line doesn't affect head height, but it also doesn't slide back; it only tilts up.

Controls in the GT-Line for oft-used switches like lane departure and blind spot warning systems, and even the illumination controls for the dashboard are well placed, rather than being buried in the multimedia system menu. The top-spec car also gets an electronic handbrake.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  8/10

How much is a Kia Sportage? Well, the entry-level Si is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) with a 2.0-litre petrol engine for $28,990, or all-wheel drive (AWD) with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel for $33,990.

The standard features list includes good quality cloth seats, 17-inch alloys, reversing sensors and camera (with moving guidelines), fog lights, automatic lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift, a 7.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Bluetooth and streaming, three 12-volt plugs and a USB port.

Offered in AWD with the bigger 2.4-litre petrol engine only, the $30,990 Si Premium adds - electrochromic (auto dimming) rear view mirror, LED daytime running lights, rain sensing front wipers, driver and front passenger window auto up/down, illuminated vanity mirrors, satellite navigation multimedia system with SUNA traffic information, and dual-zone climate control air conditioning.

The SLi will cost you $33,990 in FWD 2.0-litre petrol form, or $38,990 for the AWD diesel, and adds smart key with push button start, leather appointed seats with contrast stitching, 10-way driver's power adjustable seat, front sensors, gloss black grille mesh and extra exterior chrome trim, LED tail-lights, a 4.2-inch TFT screen, automatic wipers, privacy glass, and a luggage net.

The price for the top-of-the-range Sportage GT-Line, meanwhile, is $43,490 for the AWD 2.4-litre petrol, or $45,990 RRP in AWD 2.0-litre turbo-diesel diesel form (no drive away price is offered). It's very well equipped in its price range with 19-inch alloys, AEB, lane departure warning, an automatic tailgate, keyless entry, auto lights and wipers, as well as gadgets like LED headlights and fog lamps, dual-zone climate control, vented and heated powered seats, and park assist.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  8/10

Three engine specifications are available across the Kia Sportage range, with a six-speed automatic transmission standard on all models. Manual variants were discontinued late in 2016.

The engine specs of the base 2.0-litre MPI petrol engine in the Si and SLi are starting to show their age, with a more modern direct-injection unit likely to power the car in the near future.

The current motor pumps out 114kW at 6200rpm and 192Nm at 4000rpm, and is backed by a six-speed automatic that drives the front wheels.

Kia's common rail direct-injection 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is a willing performer with excellent manners.

Kia's common rail direct-injection 2.0-litre turbo-diesel specs, meanwhile, are 136kW at 4000rpm, with 400Nm of torque available from as low as 1750rpm. Its horsepower is available across the range, and is a willing performer with excellent manners.

The top grade GT's engine size is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol, and sports ratings of 135kW at 6000rpm and torque specs of 237Nm at 4000rpm, and is only available as an AWD. It's not offered with an LPG conversion, in case you're wondering.

Towing capacity of the 2.4-litre is 1500kg, the 2.0-litre can tow 1600kg, while the diesel can lug 1900kg of braked trailer; we'll bring you a towing review soon.

Kia's common rail direct-injection 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is a willing performer with excellent manners. Its 136kW peaks at 4000rpm, while its 400Nm of torque is available from as low as 1750rpm.

Its six-speed auto is linked to a front-biased all wheel drive system that can send 40 per cent of torque to the rear wheels for extra 4WD traction. There's also a remote button to lock the centre diff, while a drive-select switch allows for Eco and Sport modes for gearbox and throttle.

How much fuel does it consume?  7/10

From a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 7.9 litres per 100km, we saw a best combined fuel economy figure on the dash of 9.1L/100km over 350km in the 2.0-litre petrol Si.

Our diesel test, meanwhile, returned a best combined fuel economy mileage figure of 7.9L/100km over 350km, versus a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 6.8L/100km.

The 2.4-litre engine is claimed to return a combined fuel economy figure of 8.5L/100km.

All Kia Sportage models have a fuel tank capacity of 62 litres.

What's it like to drive?  8/10

The Sportage is built for a life around town, and the lighter front-drive petrol powered Si is perfect for it.

The 2.0-litre engine gets thrashy and noisy when acceleration is needed up hills, though, with the automatic occasionally confused by which ratio to pick and hold. Despite its age, it's still a very smooth and tractable unit when coasting around on light throttle, even though its 0-100km/h performance figures won't worry even a warm hatch.

The Sportage GT Line diesel is light on its feet, even with the addition of the heavier AWD/diesel drivetrain.

The 2.4-litre engine fares much better, although its AWD drivetrain takes the edge off its ability to nip up hills.

The Sportage GT Line diesel is light on its feet, even with the addition of the heavier AWD/diesel drivetrain. It's also impressively quiet, letting minimal road noise into the cabin, despite larger, wider and lower profile 19-inch tyres.

  • Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017 Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017
  • Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017 Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017
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  • Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017 Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017
  • Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017 Kia Sportage Si Petrol 2017

All Sportages benefit from a localised tuning program for the MacPherson strut front suspension and multilink rear suspension that imparts a ride and handling set-up that leans towards firm and supportive.

With a few bodies and a bit of gear aboard, the occasionally sharp edges of the ride are nicely rounded out. A tight turning circle of 10.9m is also useful.

The Sportage is a predictable, stable and simple car to drive.

This is not an off-road review; after all, the capability of a crossover in the rough stuff is minimal at best. The ground clearance of 172mm, for example, is about 50mm less than that of a Subaru XV, and it doesn't suggest a safe wading depth.

Overall, the Sportage is a predictable, stable and simple car to drive, without the compromises that sometimes come with a taller SUV.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

7 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  6/10

The base spec Si, Si Premium and SLi unfortunately all miss out on almost all of the electronic safety features available today, including blind spot detection, lane change assist, forward collision warning system, lane departure warning system and auto emergency braking – though all of this kit is standard in the top-spec Sportage GT Line.

All models enjoy a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, though, and each has six airbags, front (not Si) and rear sensors and a rear view camera.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  8/10

Kia's seven-year warranty is the best in the automotive business at present, and includes roadside assist and a free first service at three months.

Capped-price servicing covers the warranty period, too, with $419 the lowest and $726 the highest service costs over four years for the diesel powered cars, with a seven-year total of $3695. That's an average of $528 per service.

The petrol service program costs between $306 and $711 per service. The majority of services are under $400, with seven years of maintenance costs equalling $2942. Don't forget to get your owners manual ticked.

When it comes to diesel problems, clutch problems or transmission problems, the new Sportage has shown no dramas.

If you are wondering if the Kia Sportage uses a timing belt or chain, all variants of the engine use the latter. A chain is preferable to a timing belt as it gives a longer life.

When it comes to diesel problems, clutch problems or transmission problems, the new Sportage has shown no dramas. A JD Power reliability rating study ranks it well, with few problems, complaints, issues or common faults.

Resale value for most Korean brands is still not as good as some of their Japanese rivals; a 2015 Sportage Platinum diesel, for example, will have lost about 30 per cent of its new value if trading in, or about 12 per cent on a private sale.

Waiting time on new cars is minimal, according to Kia.

Pricing Guides

$22,990
Based on 467 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$16,888
Highest Price
$40,777

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT-LINE (AWD) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $29,490 – 40,777 2017 KIA SPORTAGE 2017 GT-LINE (AWD) Pricing and Specs
GT-LINE GREY LEATHER (AWD) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $31,350 – 37,730 2017 KIA SPORTAGE 2017 GT-LINE GREY LEATHER (AWD) Pricing and Specs
Si (AWD) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $25,990 – 29,990 2017 KIA SPORTAGE 2017 Si (AWD) Pricing and Specs
Si (AWD) AO EDITION 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $27,720 – 33,440 2017 KIA SPORTAGE 2017 Si (AWD) AO EDITION Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.8
Design8
Practicality9
Price and features8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety6
Ownership8

“Stop thinking of Kia as 'cheap and cheerful', because it doesn't apply any more. It's selling a lot of cars thanks in part to an industry-leading seven-year warranty, but they're also selling cars because they look good, they're well-specced and they're well priced.”

Is Kia's Sportage on your small SUV radar? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$14,491

Lowest price, based on 327 car listings in the last 6 months

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