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Kia Sportage 2024 review: SX Hybrid

So, I accidentally climbed into the wrong Kia Sportage in the supermarket car park on Thursday. That’s never happened to me before. You know, actually opening the door of a completely random car and getting into it and putting my seat belt on.

But that’s how much the regular petrol version of the Sportage looks like this new hybrid version.

The owners had parked next to me in their Sportage, which was also silver, while I was in the supermarket. There are lots of questions: Why hadn’t they locked their doors? Why didn’t I notice their Sportage had big roof racks and a giant dent in the side of it? And, why am I telling you this?

As intriguing as those questions are, we’re not here to answer them right now because this investigation is centred on Kia’s first hybrid version of its Sportage.

Yep, finally after what seems like way too long Kia has a rival to Toyota’s RAV4 hybrid mid-sized SUV.

The Sportage Hybrid on test is the SX grade which sits lower in the range but still costs quite a lot, we think.

So, the questions we’re answering today are ones like, is the Sportage SX Hybrid worth the expensive price compared to its petrol twin?

I’ve even worked out how far you’d have to drive and how long you’d probably have to own the hybrid before you break even on the extra money you’ve spent.

And there are other questions, like how fuel efficient is it? And even others like how safe is it and how practical is it? Oh, and what it’s like to drive? That’s important, too.

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 6/10

Let’s get straight to the price because this could be a deal breaker if you’re on a budget and the only reason you’re thinking of buying the hybrid is to save lots of money on your petrol bills.

The Sportage SX Hybrid lists for $45,950. That’s $8400 more than the list price of the same car with a petrol engine.

When I say “same car”, I mean the same SX grade, in front-wheel drive, like the hybrid. The petrol engine in the hybrid is better in every way than the engine in the petrol SX, and that’s probably part of the reason why you’re paying so much more.

Toyota’s pricing on the RAV4 appears more reasonable with hybrid versions costing about $2000 more than the petrol versions of the grade they’re based on.

Do you get more features than the petrol SX? Nope. Same equipment, but there's plenty of it.

Coming standard on the SX Hybrid are 18-inch alloys wheels, LED headlights, and LED running lights. The silver roof rails are standard, too.

I accidentally climbed into the wrong Kia Sportage in the supermarket car park I accidentally climbed into the wrong Kia Sportage in the supermarket car park

Inside the SX Hybrid the seats are cloth and the 12.3-inch media display is standard. So is sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s dual-zone climate control.

That’s not bad if this car was $35K like the petrol version but the hybrid SX is more than $45K and you’re not getting proximity unlocking or push-button start, nor power-adjustable driver’s seat nor power tailgate.

Really, you could buy the SX+ petrol variant for $42 grand and get all of those things, plus a Harman Kardon sound system and synthetic leather seats.

Sure, petrol is expensive these days and a hybrid uses far less, so you’ll make the money back, right? Well, if that’s the reason you’re buying the Sportage Hybrid SX brand new, then don’t. I’ve worked out how far you’d have to drive the hybrid to save $8400 in fuel below. 

The only hybrid grade offered is the GT-Line, which is the top of the range and the most expensive Sportage at $55,420. But that’s only $5500 more than the petrol GT-Line and therefore better value in comparison to the SX Hybrid and its petrol twin.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its engine and transmission? 9/10

Normally we cover the design and practicality before we get under the bonnet but you’re on a fact-finding mission and I’m your guide, your guide to cars. That would be a good website name.

Okay, the Sportage SX Hybrid has a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol sporty and fuel-efficient engine making 132kW and 265Nm. There’s also an electric motor producing 44kW and 264Nm. Their combined output is 169kW/350Nm.  

The hybrid variants are front-wheel drive only and have a six-speed automatic transmission. 

It’s a great engine, smooth transmission and the way the motor interacts is almost seamless. 

This isn’t a plug-in hybrid, either. The batteries recharge automatically through regenerative braking. Really, for Australia, this type of hybrid is the way to go, offering superb range and no anxiety about charging.

Efficiency – What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range? 9/10  

Kia says that after a combination of open and urban roads the Sportage SX Hybrid will use 4.9L/100km. The petrol SX with the 2.0-litre engine and front-wheel drive uses 8.1L/100km.

In our own fuel test we recorded 6.9L/100km which was mostly urban with a couple of motorway trips during the week.

Getting back to our earlier question regarding the money you’ll save in fuel. I’ve worked it out using actual maths.

So, using Kia’s official fuel economy of 4.9L/00km, that’s 3.2L/100km less than the 2.0-litre petrol SX and if fuel is $2 per litre you’re saving $6.40 for every 100km you drive in comparison.

Now, $6.40 goes into $8400 (the extra you’ve paid for the hybrid) 1312.5 times. Multiply that by 100 to get the number of kilometres you’ll need to travel. So, that’s 131,250km you’ll need to go to save the $8400 in fuel. 

Most Aussies do 10,000 kays a years on average. That means you’re looking at over 13 years. Tell you what, the person who buys it second hand will get the best deal because they really will save money on fuel. 

It’s true the Sportage Hybrid is fuel efficient and I’ve scored it very well for that, but if it was me I’d be looking to buy one second hand so I wasn’t getting hit hard with the new car hybrid price premium.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10

The Sportage Hybrid SX is almost identical in looks to the petrol Sportage, which is why I mistook somebody else's car for mine. There’s a small badge on the tailgate of the hybrid which says HEV for Hybrid Electric Vehicle, but that’s really the only giveaway.

The Sportage is a more interesting looking SUV compared to less avant-garde rivals like the RAV4. I love the arrow LED running lights, the wide, mesh grille, and the tail-lights.

Kia now offers a hybrid version of its Sportage and we tested the SX grade. Kia now offers a hybrid version of its Sportage and we tested the SX grade.

The cabin is also differently good looking and premium, apart from the blank panels on the centre console - the ones that remind you didn’t get the Sportage with heated seats…

Still, even with the blank panels it’s a premium-looking cabin with the 12.3-inch screen and black materials. It would have been nice if the synthetic leather seats were standard on this SX Hybrid instead of the cloth.

The Hybrid is almost identical in looks to the petrol The Hybrid is almost identical in looks to the petrol

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside? 8/10

The Sportage is a mid-sized SUV - it’s not as big as a Kia Sorento, but it is larger than a Kia Seltos. 

There’s plenty of room up front with storage in the centre console, cupholders and door pockets.

  • There’s plenty of room up front There’s plenty of room up front
  • The second row has great legroom and headroom The second row has great legroom and headroom

The second row has directional air vents and great legroom and headroom even for me at 189cm tall. My nine-year old son reckons the window sill is too high to see out of.

He’s out of his booster seat now but he’s a tall kid and doesn’t have this visibility issue very often as we move from test car to test car.

The boot is also big at 586 litres (VDA) behind the second row. It’ll fit the three-piece CarsGuide luggage set with room to spare.

  • The boot is also big at 586 litres (VDA) The boot is also big at 586 litres (VDA)
  • It’ll fit the three-piece CarsGuide luggage set It’ll fit the three-piece CarsGuide luggage set

Driving – What's it like to drive? 8/10

The Sportage SX Hybrid is better to drive than the petrol SX with the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine. It starts silently thanks to the electric motor and will coast away serenely until you need to move faster and come to a hill where you need the power of the engine.

The brake pedal feel is better than I’ve experienced in many hybrid cars and the transition from engine to motor is almost seamless.

The ride is comfortable, there’s no jiggle over potholes and handling isn’t bad for this type of family SUV. 

The only negative point to report is that because the hybrid Sportage is front-wheel drive, there can be a loss of traction if you accelerate hard from a standstill on a wet road or while climbing a steep hill.

If you’ve never driven a hybrid before, you’ll be absolutely fine - the only thing you'll need to get used to is turning the key and not detecting any engine noise.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating? 9/10

In terms of safety the Sportage was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2022. The SX Hybrid has pretty much the same safety tech as the GT-Line. So there’s AEB, lane keeping assistance and a rear cross-traffic alert. There are also front and rear parking sensors

For child seats there are two ISOFIX points and three top tether anchor mounts across the second row.

Disappointingly Kia has swapped the full-sized spare alloy wheel you’d get in the petrol and diesel variants for a space saver spare in the hybrid.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs? 7/10

The Kia Sportage SX Hybrid is covered by Kia’s seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty which is better than most car brands that tend to only offer five years' coverage. 

Servicing, though, can be expensive for the Sportage through Kia and while the prices are capped, the cost over five years it’s about $3000.

Okay, this is pretty easy. That SX Hybrid is excellent - it’s fuel efficient, it drives really nicely, it’s practical, but it’s not great value when you consider it’s more than $8000 pricier than the SX petrol. If you want good value, get the GT-Line hybrid. It comes with more features for not that much more money compared to the petrol version. 

Oh, and if you’re reading this in three years time and thinking about buying a second-hand Sportage SX Hybrid, then do it.


Based on new car retail price



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