Used car review: Kia Sportage (2016-2021)


28 Feb 2022

The Kia Sportage is a household name and deservedly so. Here's everything you need to know about buying a used one. 

YesAuto Score:

64/ 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


+ Plenty of space inside

+ Pleasant to drive

+ Decent levels of standard equipment


- Engine range is a bit dull

- No plug-in hybrid option

- Interior is on the basic side

Verdict: Roomy, competent and a great all-rounder family SUV, the fact that the Kia Sportage is one of the most popular cars in its class isn't an accident. Look for higher-spec models and you'll be impressed by how much equipment you get too. 

Used Kia Sportage (2016-2021) review: the five-minute read

Shopping around for a family SUV that's well-equipped, safe and won't cost a fortune to run? Then chances are the Kia Sportage is on your shortlist of candidates. The mid-size five-seater SUV has become something of a household name over the years and has been one of the more popular models in what is already a congested segment of the market. 

A common sight on UK roads, the Sportage's design has aged well and it remains one of the better looking cars in the class, but if you want it looking its best then consider getting the GT Line model. Up to 19-inch wheels were available too, but if you'd rather have more comfort when driving consider something with 17-inch wheels. 

While few expect SUVs such as this to be exceptionally dynamic cars to drive the Sportage does a good job of striking a balance between comfort and keen handling. There isn't a great deal of body roll when cornering and it does remain planted and surefooted at higher speeds. Light but predictable steering makes it easy to manoeuvre in town and its relatively compact size makes it a cinch to park in the average space.

Away from town and out on the motorway sees the Sportage prove itself as a great mile-muncher thanks to its quiet ride at higher speeds and economical diesel engines that put in their best performance over longer distances. All models were equipped with cruise control from the factory, with adaptive cruise control available on GT-Line S models. 

The six-speed manual gearbox is good to use and is geared in such a way as to maximise economy. A seven-speed automatic is better again and provides smooth shifts between gears. With mild-hybrid models that came later in this generation of Sportage, the engine automatically turns off when decelerating in-gear and braking. 

During these periods, including extended stop-start functions, the car's ancillary systems are powered by the second battery located in the boot. A starter generator is integrated directly with the engine to ensure quick and smooth restarts. 

One other positive is that famous Kia seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty. Even if you're buying a used model, the warranty transfers with the car, so it's worth checking the age and mileage when narrowing down a particular model. 

For great Kia Sportage deals click here

Extended read…

Used Kia Sportage (2016-2021) interior and infotainment 

When the Sportage initially went on sale there was a total of six specification grades including a First Edition, but later in the Sportage's life that offering was sensibly trimmed down. You won't find a lot of colour inside the Kia Sportage, but despite a sea of black plastic it is a car that's well made and comes with a good amount of standard equipment across its specification grades. We like that many of the car's everyday functions are still carried out by physical buttons on the centre console, as that makes them easier to use without having to take your eyes off the road. 

All versions came with DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB port and cruise control, and from the second level there was a 7-inch touchscreen with sat nav and a reversing camera. Trim level '3' received an 8-inch touchscreen and nicer luxuries such as an electrically adjustable front seat, panoramic sunroof and heated steering wheel. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also available. 

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Used Kia Sportage (2016-2021) practicality and boot space

The Sportage was designed with family life in mind so it is quite a practical car on the inside. For starters, the boot measures 491 litres for most models, only the mild-hybrid versions see a slight reduction to 439 litres on account of the second battery. It's an easy task to fold down the split-folding rear seats, and doing so will expand the cargo capacity to between 1,428- and 1,480 litres depending on the model. The Kia's boot is a little smaller than some other rivals though in this busy segment of the market there isn't a great deal of difference to be found. 

Rear seat passengers will find the Sportage comfortable as there is a good level of headroom and kneeroom behind the front seats. Both outer rear seats have easily accessible Isofix child seat anchor points and the middle seat is wide enough to remain useful. If that central seat isn't required there is an armrest that folds down and contains two cupholders. 

Used Kia Sportage (2016-2021) engines 

Throughout the course of this generation of Sportage there were many engine options available. By far the most popular was the 114bhp 1.7-litre diesel as it proved economical to run. A larger 2.0-litre diesel was also available and came in either 134bhp or 182bhp guises. These had added performance and made for a nicer driving experience, especially over longer journeys or if you need to tow. 

In more recent years that 1.7-litre diesel was replaced by a 1.6-litre unit with mild-hybrid tech, meaning that it could add a small electrical boost to performance, switch off the engine when coasting to a stop and was smoother at restarting. Don't expect any massive savings in fuel consumption with this tech, but every little bit helps. 

Kia did also sell a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 128bhp and 174bhp outputs. Although these weren't quite as popular, if you're likely to cover less annual mileage and stick more to urban driving routes, they do provide a bit more refinement. 

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Used Kia Sportage (2016-2021) driving 

You’re unlikely to want to take it on your local trackday, but then that applies to almost all SUVs in this segment. Instead, the Kia Sportage does the everyday things rather well, with a compliant suspension setup that provides a comfortable and mostly smooth ride. Through bends the Kia keeps its line and doesn’t roll around very much which will give plenty of confidence to most drivers. Kia did also off all-wheel-drive transmissions with some engines, for added grip in tricky weather. 

Light and accurate steering complements the ride and in urban settings the raised driving position provides good outward visibility. A decent turning circle and relatively few turns lock-to-lock make it easy to navigate tighter confines and squeeze into parking spaces. 

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