The SUV is just an evolution of the hatchback.

It’s hardly difficult to trace the lineage. Much like small sedans were the Neanderthals to the hatchback’s Homo Sapiens, hatchbacks themselves have become the prototype for something bigger, chunkier, more secure.

Are they really better though? Our Kia Sportage here is the middle of your average SUV range in 2018. It suits the ‘future hatchback’ paradigm to a T – with its accentuated proportions looking as though someone’s just put a hatchback in Photoshop and dragged it out diagonally.

To see if the Sportage offers anything more than a hatch, I took it on a 400km round-trip camping adventure from Sydney to the Wolgan Valley (around 180km north-west). My trip involved three passengers, a boot full of supplies and camping gear, as well as varied terrain including 15km of unsealed roads.

So, has the SUV earned its spot as the car market’s apex predator? And, is the SLi the pick of the Sportage range? Read on to find out.