Over the years, the Sportage has graduated from 'cheap and cheerful' to semi-premium in its build quality, materials, technology and driving qualities. It has also rated well as a Wheels Car of the Year contender.
In its current form, the Kia Sportage is priced from the low $30,000 range, and can be had with three engine options – 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol, 1.6 turbo petrol and 2.0 turbo diesel.
The top-shelf Sportage GT-Line diesel stands as a convincing rival to semi-premium options like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5.
Find our Kia Sportage news and reviews below, or visit our SUV landing page to consider the full range of options in this popular segment.
Kia Sportage Specifications and Prices
|Variant||Price||Drivetrain||Fuel Type||Fuel (city) L/100km||Power (kW)|
|S||$32,445 - $39,845||front, 4x4||Petrol, Diesel||6.3-8.1L/100km||115kW|
|SX||$35,000 - $42,400||front, 4x4||Petrol, Diesel||6.3-8.1L/100km||115kW|
|SX+||$41,500 - $46,900||front, 4x4||Petrol, Diesel||6.3-8.1L/100km||115kW|
|GT-Line||$49,370 - $52,370||4x4||Diesel, Petrol||6.3-7.2L/100km||137kW|
2022 Kia Sportage SX review
Base engined Kia Sportage might be more relaxed but it's a better drive than the turbo all-wheel-drive versions.
Up until now, I hadn’t driven the six-speed automatic front-wheel drive petrol Sportage, having had several different tests of the twin-clutch turbo-engined GT-Line.
I had a suspicion that the petrol front-wheel drive would be a more agreeable car more of the time, despite the undoubted charms of the top-of-the-range Sportage, which narrowly beat the Tucson in a straight fight.
The SX is the second step in a Sportage range that is more expensive than before but a lot better equipped, better looking and, one imagines, a better drive. This is the one that looks like the sweet spot of the range at well under forty grand but with a pretty good spec list.
Pricing and features
The Sportage SX spec is an appreciable jump over the base model S. It’s not as though the S is a bare-bones hack, either, sporting an identical safety package to the higher models.
The car I had was the SX petrol automatic starting at a neat $37,000 before on-road costs, two and a half large over the S automatic. Both S and SX are available with a manual transmission for an equally neat $2000 less.
You get 18-inch alloys, a six-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights, sat-nav, heated windscreen, leather wheel and shifter, powered heated and folding mirrors, auto wipers and a full-size spare.
Annoyingly, only white is free, the other five colours (Steel Grey, Gravity Grey, Vestra Blue, Dawning Red and Fusion Black) are $520 extra. Not a huge amount but not cheap either.
All variants of the new Kia Sportage come with a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating.
The huge safety package features seven airbags (including a front centre airbag to save you from head clashes in a side impact), the usual traction and stability controls, forward and reverse auto emergency braking, reverse cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane following assist, blind-spot monitoring, exit warning and speed sign recognition.
A bunch of the cleverer safety features are not available on the manual, however.
For the kiddies, there are two ISOFIX points and three top tether anchors.
Comfort and space
As has become the norm with Korean SUVs, the lower end of the range sports a different cabin design, at least in the front. You’ll have the upgraded 12.3-inch touchscreen (the S has the 8.0-inch unit). It’s massive, quite nice to use and is paired with a digital dashboard that is simpler than the GT-Line’s. It’s quite clear and easy to decipher and still changes theme when you change drive modes.
There is also a traditional T-bar shifter and from the pictures, you’ll notice it’s very traditional. I kind of like it, a bit of a retro moment in a very tech-forward cabin.
The cloth seats are very comfortable and supportive in the front, too, and I’m That Guy who very often prefers the textile upholstery for both look and feel.
You also get two cup holders and bottle holders in the doors, space for your phone under the screen and a generous console bin.
Moving to the rear, the seats are very comfortable and you get rear air vents to help keep your cool when you find out there aren’t any USB ports back here. The transmission tunnel isn’t too big, but it will still be a struggle for three adults across the back without clashing feet. Headroom is expansive, as are foot and knee room.
Rear storage starts at a hefty 543 litres, expanding to an impressive 1829 litres with the seats down, which is quite a lot.
You can carry more by towing 750kg unbraked and 1900kg braked – but with the least-powerful Sportage engine under the bonnet, you won’t be setting any land speed records.
On the road
As we discovered in the GT-Line, the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol and its seven-speed twin-clutch transmission are not the greatest pairing.
As with the Seltos, the lower-end versions have a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol (and a diesel, but I’ve not yet driven that to comment on it). That same engine is found in the Seltos and is more agreeable than the 1.6 in general duties.
The 115kW and 192Nm on offer is adequate in the sense that most people aren’t looking for startling performance in their medium SUV. Unlike the GT-Line’s turbo (and the gasping 2.0-litre Mazda CX-5, which is a chore), the Sportage’s slower version is a smooth, silent type.
You will notice the lack of grunt when fully loaded but in everyday driving, it’s really nice to drive – quiet, smooth and composed.
Then again it’s not a surprise to find out that a 1500kg SUV with those figures available isn’t a fireball. But, if it’s just you and one other person, it does go okay – and as I say, it’s lovely and smooth and stays out of your ears.
Also riding on 18-inch wheels with a bit more sidewall, the ride is markedly plusher on the SX, adding to the more relaxed vibe introduced by the engine.
You do lose a bit of the keenness of the GT-Line’s front end and the exclusively front-wheel drive motivation means a little less of that smug security in the wet. In the dry – we had about twenty minutes where it wasn’t raining the week I had the Sportage – it was pretty good.
The steering is nicely weighted and the body goes with you so if you’re on your own fancy a bit of a laugh, the Sportage does its best to stay controlled and planted. It also rides really well, shrugging off the bumps and slaloming required by Sydney’s understandably potholed roads.
It’s a very relaxed car and it’s really about being a nice place to be while stuck in traffic, which it absolutely nails.
Kia’s ADR testing yielded a fuel consumption result of 8.1L/100km on the combined cycle. A fairly sedate, mostly suburban week in my hands returned 9.7L/100km.
Kia’s seven-year / unlimited-kilometre warranty applies, as does roadside assist.
The capped-price servicing regime covers the first seven services and you’ll need to return to Kia every 12 months or 15,000km. The prices themselves are identical to the turbo petrol but you have to roll in every 10,000km with those cars.
Over the seven services, you’ll pay $3749, Incidentally, this is what Qantas wanted to charge me to fly to Singapore from Sydney at the time of writing, which seems a trifle pricey for the flight.
It’s not especially cheap for the servicing either, especially when you see Toyota’s $200-odd-per-interval servicing and even Mazda’s pricing is cheaper (although with shorter intervals).
I knew I’d like this car before I got it, partly because this engine and transmission combo is predictably solid and predictably leisurely – but without the turbo 1.6’s gearbox histrionics.
It’s very comfortable, good value and packed with safety gear.
It also looks absolutely fantastic. You’re not supposed to be able to buy cars that look this good at this price and I reckon if I had one on the driveway, that would never get old.
What might get old, though, is the lack of power when you’re out on the freeway and need to overtake, or you need to break into fast-moving traffic.
If the Sportage had a better base engine, it would be night on perfect.
You’re not supposed to be able to buy cars that look this good at this price and I reckon if I had one on the driveway, that would never get old.
2022 Kia Sportage SX FWD specifications
Things we like
- Looks great even on smaller wheels
- Mostly terrific interior
- Good ride and handling balance
Not so much
- Scratchy plastics on the doors
- No wireless CarPlay/Android Auto
- 2.0-litre a bit underdone
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Frequently Asked Questions
The KIA Sportage ranges in price from $32,445* for the S Petrol, and $52,370* for the GT-Line Diesel AWD Auto
*Pricing excludes stamp duty, other government charges and options. Prices subject to change.
The KIA Sportage was built in Korea
The KIA Sportage has a 5 ANCAP crash safety rating
The KIA Sportage is available in unleaded petrol and diesel fuel types
The KIA Sportage has 5 doors
The KIA Sportage comes with a boot size of 543 litres