Kia Sportage VS Peugeot 5008
- Great ride
- Good standard safety
- Great standard features
- Rivals offer AWD cheaper
- Full safety suite on GT-Line only
- Petrol engine thirsty
- Doesn't look like a seven-seater
- Cabin design definitely unique
- Crazy-practical cabin
- Interior tech can be slow to use
- Much-hyped gear shift rather annoying
- Priced toward the premiums
If you take a snapshot of the Australian mid-size SUV market, it becomes apparent that the Kia Sportage is an oft-overlooked option in a sea of storied Japanese nameplates.
Perhaps it’s because the Sportage is a bit more controversially styled than its Tucson cousin, or perhaps it’s a victim of its own success, having been an attractive option for populating car-share fleets like GoGet.
But I’d argue that the Sportage is special in more ways than it gets credit for, and shouldn’t be overlooked by Australians on the hunt for a new mid-sizer, even this far into its lifecycle.
Read on to find out why, and which variant in the Sportage’s just updated 2020 lineup is our pick of the bunch.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
I know it’s difficult, but try for a moment to imagine an Australia without Peugeot in it. Actually, it’s not that difficult at all, is it? It would look, well, a whole lot like the Australia of today. Hell, it wouldn't even help with traffic - less than 3400 new cars would have vanished last year, barely enough to make a dent.
Because the French brand is not making much of an impact Down Under. There are probably a few reasons for that; the fact it has been trapped between being not Japanese or Korean, and yet not-quite European, compounded by unpopular product which was also probably too expensive.
But that was the old Peugeot. Before the brand switched to a new importer in Australia (Inchcape, which also imports Subaru), and before the new-look senior management team arrived vowing to breathe new life into the brand here. Most importantly, though, it was before the arrival of the really rather good (and 2017 European Car of The Year) 3008 SUV, which marked the dawning of a new era for Peugeot.
This is the second salvo in this new-product offensive, the 5008; a sexy seven-seat SUV Peugeot has high hopes for in Australia. And given it’s essentially a bigger version of the 3008, we have high hopes for it, too.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The Sportage continues to age gracefully, now offering an increasingly finely tuned range of variants to suit most price brackets.
While its engine and transmission choices leave a little to be desired, it continues to offer impressive ride, handing, and technology when compared to many (but not all) Japanese segment rivals.
Our pick of the range is the SX in either engine, as it offers the lion’s share of Sportage spec items at the right price.
The French comeback rolls on, with the 5008 continuing the good work of the 3008, just with more room for cargo or humans. A really very versatile interior, a solid choice of engines and - thank goodness - a conventional automatic combine to make the 5008 a genuine contender in the seven-seat class. Peugeot deserves kudos for its well-stacked standard features and safety lists, too.
But the brand considers this a premium car, and so has priced it like one. Only time will tell whether buyers agree with them...
Is this French roll set to continue with the 5008? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The Sportage isn’t as conservatively styled as its sensible spec would suggest. Clearly influenced by the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, with the bonnet-mounted light fittings, curvaceous edges and strip-light across the tailgate, the overall look aims to put the “sport” in “Sportage”.
It has enough of its almost insectoid personality to be criticised as a straight rip-off though, for better or worse, and its most recent facelift in 2018 accentuated its best features. At least one criticism that can’t be leveled at the Sportage is that it looks boring.
The more aggressive look certainly sets it apart from the conservatively styled Hyundai Tucson with which it shares a chassis, and that’s even more evident on the inside where there’s a sportier asymmetrical dash with a raised centre-console and slick, three-spoke steering wheel.
While everything is ergonomic in here – with an added bonus of dials and shortcut buttons for the climate controls - the screen-in-dash look is getting a bit dated. The same could be said for the interior plastics, which are finished largely in the same drab grey colour, no matter which grade you pick. The design of them is nice, but anything under the soft dash-topper is hard to the touch.
Thankfully, everything is superbly put together with not a squeak or rattle to be heard on any of the test cars I sampled, and the pared-back application of silver highlights in the dash is tasteful. The quad-dial instrument cluster is a classic layout. There’s no option for a digital dash in the Sportage range.
The two-tone alloys look great, no matter which grade you pick, and aside from the flared bits and LED light fittings on the GT-Line, it’s genuinely hard to tell the grades apart from each other, which is good for low-spec buyers.
Overall, the Sportage presents a design which has aged well, thanks to a more risqué approach being taken when this generation first launched in 2016.
We said at the time that the Peugeot 3008 might be the best-looking SUV in its segment, and the 5008 shares that same curb appeal - even if it doesn't look quite as handsome as its smaller siblings.
It falls into a weird size category; at 4641mm, it's 165mm longer than the five-seat 3008, but it's dwarfed by true seven-seaters, like the CX-9 (5075mm). But that's no bad thing for its looks.
Bigger is rarely better when it comes to car design, and the 5008 looks compact and dynamic, with only the area stretching from the C-pillar to the tail-lights hinting at the seven seats within. A bulging bonnet, blacked-out body kit and big shining alloys across the line-up give the 5008 a strong road presence.
Cleverly, it feels bigger inside than it seems from its exterior, with the interior feeling spacious and airy up front, and with positively spacious interior dimensions in the second row.
The cabin design is going to be one of those love/hate things, though; a futuristic-feeling design that won’t appeal to everyone. The textured, layered dash design makes the driver and front passenger feel like they're sitting in their own cockpit, with piano key-style controls in the dash that take care of everything from the air-conditioning to the hazard lights.
Like most Korean SUVs, the Sportage has the idea of practicality cooked-in throughout its cabin. It starts in the front row, where the driver and passenger have access to some large cupholders in the doors and centre console (suitable for 500ml containers), a decently sized top-box and glovebox, as well as a very large trench in front of the shift-lever, which also hosts the USB and aux inputs, as well as dual 12V power outlets.
In the back seat, there are plenty of amenities, with decently sized cupholders in each door, pockets on the back of the seats, air-conditioning vents on the back of the console as well as dual power outlets. Another neat trick is that the Sportage has reclining rear seats, allowing extra comfort for rear-seat passengers, or extra boot space where required.
To its credit, the boot space is easy to use and comes with an adjustable rolling cover. Part of the reduction in sheer capacity is due to a full-size alloy spare living under the boot floor – a big bonus for regional buyers, who may need one as a matter of safety.
Leg and headroom are simply great, no matter which seat you’re sitting in, and the big rear doors on the Sportage open nice and wide – good for low-mobility passengers or those needing to fit a child-seat.
It’s insanely clever, the 5008. And you could probably own one for 12 months or more before you discovered all the practicality features hidden around the cabin. But allow us to give you a little head start.
For one, the cup holder count sits at eight (more than one per passenger, for some reason), plus front-seat riders can access the usual collection of USB and power connections.
The infotainment/multimedia system across all trim levels is operated by a clean and simple-to-use 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped, and there’s a wireless charging pad for your Android device (or iPhone, with a special case). Expect a sat-nav navigation system (or you can use your phone’s GPS maps), DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connection and a CD player, but there’s no DVD player on offer anywhere in the range.
While there’s no business pack model like you’d find overseas, all 5008s are commendably well equipped, with LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control with full stop and dual-zone air conditioning all appearing standard across the range.
The Allure does feel less plush vs the GT-Line and GT models, the former adding special floor matts and an auto-opening boot, while the latter scores bigger, 19-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats with a massage function for the driver. But more kit comes along with extra cost, of course, so the compromise is the fact the GT-Line and GT’s rrp reside higher up the price list by comparison.
Leather seats (the GT-Line and GT are fitted with man-made leather as standard), is a $3700 option, while a sunroof will set you back $2000, both of of which appear on an admirably short optional features/accessories list.
A flat white (the colour, not the coffee) is only the hue you’ll get for free, but optional colours include 'Pearl White', three kinds of grey, black, green and blue. Those colours sound a little beige (we really need three greys?), and you can forget out-there tones like gold.
Each of the three middle-row seats is individually mounted on a sliding rail, so every passenger can decide exactly how much legroom they want, too. And, especially with the seats set to their furthest-back position, there is plenty of room to sit in comfort. Each front seat-back is equipped with a storage net, but even more clever are the fold-down tables mounted above the nets that arrive as standard on every model.
Space is predictably tighter in the third row, with the two rear spots feeling more like temporary jump seats than a full-time solution, but they are very handy for a big family nonetheless.
The real party trick here is the 5008’s boot space, though. First, you can fold down the third and second rows, and even the passenger seat, to unlock a staggering 2042 litres of storage space.
Want more? You can remove both of the third row seats entirely (they weigh 11kg each), freeing up even more space in the back. It also means how many seats you use is up to you; if you’re a smaller family that occasionally needs seven seats, you can leave them in the garage until you need them.
Price and features
You did read that right, the Sportage range – despite looking exactly the same as last year’s iteration – has received a mild nip and tuck, which includes new variants and pricing. As before, the Sportage range is offered with a choice of three engines, two petrols and a diesel, with either front- or all-wheel drive across four trim levels. All prices on the Sportage range are drive-away.
Kicking off the range is the S, which is available as a 2.0-litre petrol front-wheel drive in either a re-introduced six-speed manual ($28,990), six-speed auto ($29,990) or as an eight-speed auto diesel AWD ($36,990).
Standard spec, even on the entry-level car, is impressive. Included are 17-inch alloy wheels (no steelies here), LED DRLs (but halogen headlights), leather-trimmed wheel and shift-lever, hard-wearing cloth seat trim, a 3.5-inch dot-matrix info screen in the dash, a 7.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android auto support, dual-zone climate control, as well as rear parking sensors and camera. Another nice touch is that the base S model also scores auto rain-sensing wipers as standard.
Considering the standard active-safety suite explored in the safety section of this review, the S could easily be the pick of the range of any other SUV lineup, but our pick is still the mid-grade SX (previously known as the Si).
Available in the same three drivetrain choices at a $2500 premium, the SX adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels, front-facing parking sensors, a more impressive-looking 8.0-inch touchscreen with DAB+ digital radio and built-in sat-nav, backed by an eight-speaker JBL audio system. We’d say the extra spice is well worth it, making the SX our pick.
Jumping up to the SX Plus (previously the SLi) adds leather seat trim (which is hard-wearing, but isn’t the most luxurious-feeling fake leather on the market), an upgrade to the visual treatment with chrome and gloss black highlights, a larger colour TFT screen embedded in the dash, and, for the first time in a mid-grade Sportage, a powered tailgate. The SX Plus is well equipped, but if you can do without leather seat trim, it's not really worth the $7000 like-for-like switch up from the SX…
Available as an all-wheel-drive only, the penultimate Sportage is the GT-Line. Finally gaining a full suite of LED front lights and, frustratingly, the only way to specify a Sportage with blind-spot monitoring, active cruise control and rear cross traffic alert, the GT-Line is relatively expensive, even for the segment, at $46,490 for the 2.4-litre six-speed auto petrol or $49,490 for the eight-speed auto turbo diesel.
Other fruit for the extra money includes a sports bodykit, aggressive 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, a wireless phone-charging bay, and an automatic-parking suite.
In France, Peugeot is a mass brand - the country's answer to our Holden or Ford. But the company's new bosses don't reckon that strategy will work here, and so they are instead moving the 5008 more upmarket, axing the Euro-only entry-level models so the range here begins with a better-equipped vehicle instead.
All of which means the cheapest way into the Peugeot 5008 family is the $42,990 Allure, a front-wheel drive, petrol-powered model that arrives with 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, auto headlights and wipers, electric (and heated) door mirrors and keyless entry.
Inside, you'll find those three rows of 'man-made leather' seats, dual-zone climate and automatic windows. Tech is covered by an 8.0-inch central touchscreen with navigation and DAB, along with wireless charging for your Android phone (iPhones require a special case).
Next is the GT-Line, which will set you back $46,990. It adds an auto-opening boot that can be activated by swiping your foot underneath it, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, chrome exhaust tips and some GT-Line styling touches like special floor mats and a reshaped front bumper.
Finally, you can spring for the GT, which lists at $52,990. That seems like quite a jump, sure, but you do get a diesel engine (which we'll come back to under Engines/Transmissions), as well as 19-inch alloys, Alcantara trim in the cabin, heated front seats (with a massage function for the driver) and more aggressive wheelarches.
Engine & trans
The Sportage is offered with a choice of three engines, all of which are unremarkable.
These engines are also starting to show their age, but the fact that you can choose either petrol or diesel across the range will be a win for some consumers.
The 2.0-litre petrol offered as the front-wheel drive option on the S, SX, and SX Plus grades produces 114kW/192Nm and can be chosen with either a six-speed auto, or a six-speed manual on the bottom two grades.
The 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine offered across the range with only an eight-speed automatic in all-wheel drive produces a better-sounding 136kW/400Nm (hence the price hike).
The GT-Line is the only grade that can be had as a petrol in all-wheel drive, it benefits from a larger 2.4-litre petrol engine with outputs set at 135kW/237Nm, paired only to a six-speed automatic.
It would be nice to see higher tech turbocharged petrol engines make it to the Sportage range for the sake of both power and fuel efficiency, but these kinds of dated petrol powertrains are par-for-the course in the Australian mid-size SUV landscape.
A benefit to many drivers will be the torque-converter automatic transmissions, rather than their lacklustre CVT counterparts, which appear in most of this car’s Japanese rivals.
There are two engine sizes on offer, a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine in the Allure and GT-Line, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel motor in the GT. Both pair with a six-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual) and drive the front wheels exclusively (a proper 4X4 isn't available - you'd think the diesel was crying out for a 4WD system - though a faux-AWD system can be optioned).
There is no LPG option available, but much has been made of Peugeot’s race to embrace electric powertrains, so expect a plug-in hybrid model to be a part of future planning. Peugeot claims a maximum towing capacity of 1550kg in petrol-powered cars, and 1500kg in diesel vehicles. A towbar is an optional accessory, though.
At 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm for the petrol engine, and 133kW at 3750rpm and 400Nm at 2000rpm for the diesel, the horsepower specifications are near enough line-ball. But the low-end torque of the diesel ensures it feels the punchiest around the city.
The automatic transmission is a traditional gearbox, as opposed to a dual-clutch or CVT auto unit. As such, those all-too-common automatic gearbox problems usually associated with them (confusion at slow speeds and slurring or stuttering) are nowhere to be found.
Fuel-tank capacity is listed at 56 litres, and Peugeot claims a tare weight of between 1470kg and 1575kg. For information concerning your battery, oil type or diesel particulate filters, consult your owner’s manual.
A downside to old engines with rigid transmission ratios pulling heavy SUV bodies is a notable cost in the fuel-consumption department.
The 2.0-litre front-drive variants carry claimed combined fuel-consumption figures of 7.9L/100km, but the figure most people will experience is in the rather more honest official “urban” figure of 10.9L/100km.
In my back-to-back tests of the 2.0-litre petrol versions of the SX and SX Plus I produced figures on either side of that number, scoring 10.5L/100km and 11L/100km in the real world, over about 350km of testing respectively.
Not great, then, and those figures are easily bested by CVT rivals – even the 2.5-litre all-wheel-drive Forester – according to real-world figures put on the board in recent CarsGuide reviews.
Mercifully, the Sportage is capable of drinking base-grade 91RON petrol to fill its 62-litre tank.
The petrol engine will return claimed fuel economy of 7.0 litres per hundred kilometres for the combined (urban, extra-urban) cycle, while diesel fuel consumption is listed at 4.8L/100km. Emissions are pegged at 156g/km (petrol) and 124g/km (diesel) of CO2.
The Sportage’s engine choices don’t offer the most modern drive experience on the mid-size SUV market, but its locally tuned suspension really makes it stand apart from the pack. This means it’s at its best in most driving scenarios you’ll experience in Australia. I’ve driven Sportage variants on long-distance freeway drives, across the worst, most potholed streets Sydney’s CBD has to offer, as well as rutted gravel tracks on the other side of NSW’s Blue Mountains, and all of them behaved admirably, everywhere.
On the axis of sport-to-comfort I’d say the Sportage’s ride sits slightly to the sportier end of the equation. It’s a stiffer ride than the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, or the new Toyota RAV4, for example. Yet it seems to strike a more comfortable balance than the sporty CX-5.
The handling is really nice for an SUV this size, as I’ve said in previous reviews – it’s nimble and feels almost like you’re piloting a giant hatchback. For reasons I can’t seem to pin down, I vastly prefer the Sportage’s ride and handling to that of the Tucson. It just feels more balanced all round than its Hyundai cousin.
The engines are a bit of a letdown, however. While all are adequate for city-commuting duty, on the open road and up hills the petrol drivetrains get thrashy and noisy quickly – and at higher revs the limitations of these engines' outputs become apparent.
That having been said, both automatic transmissions are slick and predictable. When power is needed they also lock into gear nicely, unlike their CVT competition. We are yet to sample the re-introduced manual variants.
There are plenty of times when being predictable is a bad thing (professional sports, movie plots, bank robbing), but the 5008 is predictable in all the right ways. And that's because it drives, more or less, like a bigger version of the 3008 SUV that arrived in Australia last year.
We spent the bulk of our time in the diesel-powered GT, in which we tackled just about every imaginable road type, from freeways to twisting stuff to off-road gravel runs. And we came away genuinely impressed by the 5008's overall dynamics.
The ride sits on the firm side of sporty, and feels more so on the 19-inch alloy wheels of the GT cars, but the suspension rarely strays into uncomfortable, and always feels well connected to the road below.
The extra power of the diesel translates to slightly better acceleration, with a 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds, a touch quicker than the petrol car's 10.5 seconds. A performance car this ain't, but it doesn't feel underpowered, either.
With 230mm ground clearance, you'll get more off-road ability than in a low-slung sedan, but there's no true four-wheel drive system available, instead you can option 'Grip Control' on the Allure and GT-Line cars for $200 (it's a no-cost option on the GT, but you have to swap the 19s for 18s), which acts as a faux-AWD system.
Should you attack a twisting road, you'll find the 5008 sits flat through the sharpest of bends with almost no roll in the body. There are sportier cars, of course (and the button marked 'Sport' in the cabin seems to do little but add dead weight to the steering), but the French SUV won't embarrass itself on the bendy stuff.
But it's home in the city, and keep the inputs smooth, and the 5008 coasts through the CBD with ease. The fact that it's on the small side for a seven-seat SUV is a huge bonus for city driving (remember, this is a car designed for Paris - a place that knows a thing or two about tight streets with limited parking), and the tech-laden cabin is comfortable and convenient.
It’s not the quietest diesel we’ve driven, though the cabin is well-insulated from the noise, and there’s no shortage of lag when you really put your foot down. One more word of caution, though; Peugeot uses an all-electric gear shift to select Park, Drive or Reverse, and it can be both fiddly and slow to respond. It’s best to take your time with it while you’re figuring out the quirks.
Even just last year, the Sportage’s standard active-safety equipment would have been considered pretty good, even a whole point better than what I’ve given it here. The thing is, though, thanks largely to ANCAP and EuroNCAP’s far more stringent analysis of active technology in the last year, the game has been raised by many of the Sportage’s competitors.
It would be nice, for example, to see active cruise control and blind-spot monitoring available on the SX Plus grade, or, better still, available as an option pack across the range, a-la-Hyundai’s approach.
And now, with the introduction of high-tier active-safety suites on low-spec variants of the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester, it’s hard to give the Sportage flying colours in this department.
Still, the fact that auto emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist (LKAS) and driver-attention alert (DAA) ship on the base-model S is reasonably impressive.
Outside of that, all Sportage grades get six airbags, the expected stability and brake controls, as well as three top-tether and two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points.
The Sportage carries a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating as of this-generation’s launch in 2016.
The 5008’s safety story is a solid one, with every model arriving with six airbags (including curtain airbags that cover both the second and third rows), a (strangely low-resolution) 360-degree parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, AEB, lane-departure warning, speed-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and park assist, along with the usual suite of traction and braking aids and three ISOFIX attachment points.
Step up to the GT-Line or GT and you’ll add active blind-spot monitoring and cornering headlights.
The 5008 is yet to be ANCAP crash-tested, but it scored the maximum five-star safety rating when crashed by Euro NCAP.
Kia continues to lead the pack with a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is two years more than the acceptable segment standard. That’s also backed by eight years of roadside assist if you service at an authorised dealer.
There’s also a comprehensive capped-price-servicing program for the life of the warranty, averaging out to a not-particularly-cheap $391.71 per year for the 2.0L petrol, $408.14 for the 2.4L petrol, or $511.43 for the diesel.
The Sportage will have a battle on its hands in the coming years, with fellow Korean competitor, Ssangyong, looking to launch its new-generation Korando with a highly competitive seven-year ownership program.
The Peugeot 5008 is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty, with matching roadside assist, and will require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 20,000km.
Peugeot’s 'Assured Price' servicing program lists the service cost for each of the first nine services on the brand’s website. Servicing is cheaper than before, too, now $1745 (petrol) and $1685 (diesel) for the first three years - more than $500 cheaper than the out-going model.
Every 5008 arrives with a clever take on the traditional owner’s manual (a new app in which you point your phone at the part of the car you want to know about and it will jump to that page on the digital manual) and a space-saver spare tyre in petrol models and a repair kit in diesel models.
It’s far too soon to know of any problems, common faults or reliability issues, but keep an eye on our Peugeot owner’s page.