Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


Driven: 2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid. Image by Kia.

Driven: 2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid
Will Kia’s hybrid-powered family SUV be an improvement on its popular predecessor?


<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Kia reviews

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid

4 4 4 4 4

Over the past 15 years, the Kia Sportage has gone from being a bit of a budget alternative to being one of the UK's most popular cars. The new version adds hybrid power and some futuristic styling inside and out, but will that be enough to keep it among the best sellers in this competitive class?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Kia Sportage GT-Line S 1.6 T-GDi HEV
Price: From £40,675
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and hybrid system
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Battery: 1.5kWh
Power: 215hp
Torque: 350Nm
Emissions: 132g/km
Economy: 48.7mpg
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 120mph
Boot space: 587 litres


Perhaps the biggest departure for the Sportage is the new design, which is far more futuristic than that of its predecessor. Sharp angles, cool lights and a slightly alien-looking nose really set it apart from the crowd, and while it's certainly distinctive, it will divide opinion. It certainly does in the Car Enthusiast office. Anyway, the Sportage's popularity suggests the style isn't putting too many customers off, and it's definitely modern and striking, which stops the car from looking too much like every other SUV you've ever seen.


In recent years, Kia has really upped its game in terms of interior quality and design, and the last-generation Sportage was a shining example of that. More upmarket than expected in terms of materials and construction, it helped to cement Kia’s place in the mainstream, and now the brand has moved on again with the new Sportage.

Instead of quality, though, the emphasis is on technology, so the Sportage is offered with a massive central touchscreen and a digital instrument display, both of which are very clear and easy to read, without necessarily offering quite as much functionality as you get from some other brands – particularly European ones. Nevertheless, the systems are stable and responsive, which puts them ahead of the curve in terms of user-friendliness.

Somewhat less user-friendly (although far from the worst offender on that front) is the touch-sensitive bar below the screen. Essentially offering two different functions, the panel can switch from audio controls to heater controls at the touch of an icon, and it incorporates two rotary dials for volume and temperature, depending on which mode you’re in. Naturally, you’re usually in the wrong one, but the system is an improvement on other brands that prefer heater controls in the touchscreen.


Family SUVs need to be practical, so it's a good job the Sportage comes with a huge boot. At 587 litres with all five seats upright, it'll carry more than that of a Nissan Qashqai or even a Mazda CX-5. While it's true the plug-in hybrid version offers less space, the 540-litre boot in that car is still ample, and offers an improvement compared with most of its direct rivals.

Passenger space is ample, too, with sufficient room in the front and in the back. Admittedly, rear space isn't necessarily as class-leading as that of the boot, but it's enough to seat adults in relative comfort.


The Sportage is offered with a choice of powertrains, but notable by its absence is a diesel option. Instead, you can choose petrol, plug-in hybrid or hybrid power, and it's the latter we sampled here. With a 1.6-litre petrol engine helped out by an electric motor, the system produces a plentiful 215hp, which can go to either the front wheels alone, or all four wheels if you specify the all-wheel-drive option.

Either way, you get more than enough performance to be getting on with, and a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds is perfectly adequate. Use that performance, though, and the engine gets a bit noisy, which is out of keeping with the generally hushed character you experience at everyday throttle positions. Normally, the electric motor takes a surprising amount of the strain, so the car is pretty relaxed and quiet.

Because the electric motor does so much of the work, the hybrid Sportage is efficient, returning 48.7mpg on the official economy test. Unfortunately, it won't achieve that on long runs, because the petrol engine is working harder at higher speeds, but more than 40mpg should be attainable without any trouble at all. For a family SUV with more than 200hp, that isn't bad going.

Ride & Handling

While the Sportage’s exterior design will be seen as an improvement by some and a retrograde step by others, the way the car drives has changed in a less subjective way. The old car wasn’t especially exciting, but it was quite comfortable, and Kia seems to have sacrificed some of that cushiness in search of greater involvement.

The thing is, the Sportage still isn’t that much fun to drive – you’ll have a better time in a Skoda Karoq, a Seat Ateca or a Mazda CX-5 – but it has improved a little, with slightly more sense of security and body control than in the old car. The steering is still quite numb, though, and it never feels all that agile. And the price of that extra security on the road is that the ride isn’t quite as soft and pliant when you just want to cruise about. It isn’t unpleasant by any stretch, and the hybrid is better than the heavier plug-in hybrid on this front, but some of the UK’s less exemplary road surfaces make their presence felt, and you get the impression the old car would have soaked them up just a little better.


Value has long been a key pillar of the Kia offering, but when it comes to the Sportage the brand has gone decidedly mainstream. The basic petrol-powered Sportage starts at £29,375, which makes it very slightly more expensive than the entry-level Skoda Karoq, but the hybrid comes in at just under £35,000 and this high-end version costs just over £40,000 before options. It's a lot of money, but you get a lot of kit, including 18-inch alloy wheels, a Harman Kardon sound system and suede upholstery, as well as heated and ventilated seats.


If you want modernity, technology and efficiency from your new Sportage, then the latest-generation car is a notable improvement on its predecessor. But the looks will be challenging to some and it doesn't feel as comfortable as the old car, while a lack of diesel power might be off putting to those who regularly travel long distances. That said, the Sportage is still likely to find plenty of fans among its target market, and we expect sales to be very strong indeed.

James Fossdyke - 14 Mar 2024    - Kia road tests
- Kia news
- Sportage images

2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.

2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.2022 Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line HEV. Image by Kia.


Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©