New 2022 Kia Sportage review

Rory White

14 Dec 2021

1/8
Kia's all-new Sportage is roomier, more efficient and higher-tech than ever. Should it be the family SUV you sign on the dotted line for? We've driven it to find out.

YesAuto Score:

84/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Spacious, high-quality cabin

+ Great infotainment system

+ Genuinely efficient engines


CONS:

- Steering a bit vague

- Our car felt too firm

- Almost too much engine and trim choice


Verdict: The Kia Sportage is a hugely improved family SUV and instantly propels itself to the top of your list of test drives. Based on what we've driven so far, there are more fun and more comfortable options though.


2022 Kia Sportage review: the five-minute read


We don't blame you if you're trying to buy a family SUV and you're a little confused. There are now more family SUV options than Conservative Christmas partygoers, and the quality is improving all the time. Case in point: the 2022 Kia Sportage.


It's still a five-seat family SUV but has had a complete makeover to do battle with other similar SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson, Skoda Kodiq, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4 and Peugeot 3008.


And what a difference on the outside. The Sportage gets a gaping grille section flanked by boomerang-shaped LEDs at the front, there are sharp creases and chrome trim strips down its sides and a ducktail-like boot lid with a sporty roof spoiler and more eye-catching LED lights at the rear. Looks are subjective, but the Sportage has no problem standing out.



The Sportage is unrecognisable inside versus the old model too. Kia is now beyond its 'most-improved' status and is standing firmly shoulder-to-shoulder with the VW Group for quality, plus the Sportage's solid switches and classy piano black and chrome trims lift the whole experience.


Our car was also fitted with Kia's twin 12.3-inch screen infotainment system, which is standard from 3 trim. On UK cars, the right screen is a crisp, configurable set of driver's dials, while the left is a bright, responsive infotainment screen. Its menus are easy to follow and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range if you prefer.


Families will also love the amount of space on offer. Four tall adults will have no problems getting comfortable inside, so getting three kids across the rear seats is easy. The rear doors also open extremely wide for easy child seat placement and the Sportage's boot is a very healthy size.



There's no shortage of choice regards engines, with petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines on offer. So far we've driven the 230hp non-plug-in petrol-electric hybrid, which is very quiet at all times. Push it hard and it'll accelerate with a surprising pace, but take it easy and more than 40mpg is easy to achieve.


Our left-hand drive car was fitted with an adaptive suspension we won't be getting in the UK, plus some pretty noisy winter tyres. It felt firm most of the time and didn't deal well with broken Tarmac, yet the Sportage's steering is vague and even in firmer Sport mode it never feels particularly agile. The bottom line is that there are more fun family SUVs, but then, how important is that in reality?


Not very, we think, which is why, despite these minor disappointments (which could be solved on normal tyres and suspension), the Kia Sportage is still one of our favourite family SUVs. Add in the fact that it's competitively priced and comes stacked with standard equipment and the Sportage has to be on your list of test drives.


We'll update this review as soon as we've driven more Kia Sportage models in the UK.


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Extended read…


2022 Kia Sportage interior and infotainment


Kia has already proven it's got what it takes with the interiors in its Sorento large SUV and EV6 electric car, so it's perhaps no surprise that the Sportage follows that trend.


Indeed, Kia is now beyond its 'most-improved' status and is standing firmly shoulder-to-shoulder with the VW Group for quality, plus the Sportage's solid switches and classy piano black and chrome trims lift the whole experience. Even the way the lid covering the cubby at the base of the dash soft closes shouts premium.


And the good news is that the majority of this quality and look is standard across the Sportage range, so you don't need to be in the range-topper to benefit.


Our car was fitted with Kia's twin 12.3-inch screen infotainment system, which is standard from 3 trim. On UK cars, the right screen is a crisp, configurable set of driver's dials, while the left is a bright, responsive infotainment screen. Its menus are easy to follow and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range if you prefer.


On lesser models, you get an 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment and a 4.2-inch colour screen between analogue dials for the driver. Wireless smartphone charging and an upgraded Harmon Kardon sound system (which sounds great) is reserved for the top two trims, 4 and GT-Line S.


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2022 Kia Sportage practicality and boot space


This is the important bit for a family SUV and the Kia Sportage does a very good job.


OK, so it doesn't have the option of seven seats like the Skoda Kodiaq, but for four tall adults travelling together or a family with three younger kids, the Sportage will be very accommodating.


One of the best bits about the Sportage for those with kids is the fact that its rear doors open very wide to leave a gaping hole for getting bulky child seats inside, even if there are only two rather than three Isofix points on its rear bench.


Storage inside the Sportage is also great, with generous door bins on the front and back doors and a decent glovebox. We also like that all models get USB ports for the rear passengers integrated into the front seatbacks.


And to round off a very strong showing from the Sportage, at 591 litres its boot is amongst the biggest in the family SUV class. OK, so a Skoda Kodiaq outdoes it, but once you're up to this sort of space it matters less and less. Bear in mind that PHEV models get a smaller boot, though.


Nevertheless, it's good to see that the rear seats split in a handy 40:20:40 configuration as standard and fold completely flat.


2022 Kia Sportage engine


Where to start? There's a massive choice when it comes to the Sportage's engine and gearbox.


There's a 1.6-litre petrol with 150hp or a 1.6-litre diesel, with either 115hp or 136hp. Then there's a 230hp non-plug-in hybrid or one that you do plug-in with 265hp at the top of the range.


Then, depending on which engine and trim you go for, there's either a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, plus two or four-wheel drive. In an age where manufacturers are slimming down their options, this is almost too much choice.


So far we've driven the 230hp non-plug-in petrol-electric hybrid, with all-wheel drive, which is very quiet at all times. Push it hard and it'll accelerate with a surprising pace (0-62mph takes about 8.0 seconds) but take it easy and more than 40mpg is easy to achieve thanks to decent periods of electric driving at lower speeds.


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2022 Kia Sportage driving


Our left-hand-drive test car was fitted with an adaptive suspension system we won't be getting in the UK, plus some pretty noisy winter tyres.


Even with its adaptive dampers in their more comfortable setting it felt firm most of the time and didn't deal well with broken Tarmac, yet even in firmer Sport mode it never feels particularly agile. This isn't helped by steering that's pretty vague. There's plenty of grip and not much body lean, but not much fun to be had either.


The bottom line is that there are more fun family SUVs, but then, how important is that in reality? Not very.


What's more concerning is the comfort factor, but we hope that a go in a UK-spec car with a UK suspension tune will be better. Especially given Kia's recent efforts to make its Sorento and EV6 very comfortable machines.


Still, our car was fitted with Kia's adaptive cruise control and lane keep system, which is standard on all models above entry-level 2, as long as you have an automatic gearbox. It's one of the better systems on sale and genuinely helps make motorway driving more relaxing as a result.


We'll update this driving section as soon as we've driven more Kia Sportage models in the UK.


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Rory White

14 Dec 2021