The new for ‘22 Kia Sportage belongs at the pointy end of any shortlist when deciding on your next medium SUV – no mean feat considering the sheer weight of competition.
This new-generation model looks sharp especially in GT-Line spec, has a flash twin-screen interior option, comes with a broad specification walk and numerous engines, and like all Kias has one of the best warranties in the market.
The old Sportage was smaller than its main rivals, but this iteration is a bigger and roomier offering.
Because medium SUVs are so popular with buyers, manufacturers pull out all the stops, which means the Sportage has some stiff competition: the related Hyundai Tucson, top-selling Toyota RAV4, impressive new Mitsubishi Outlander, and stylish Mazda CX-5 are just four examples.
If the Sportage ends up being the one for you, you’re going to need to whittle your decision down. There are four spec grades, three engines, and two drive configurations, and drive-away price points of around $35,000 to $55,000. Let’s help you make the right choice.
The new Sportage is a healthy 175mm longer than its predecessor. It measures 4660mm long, 1865mm wide and 1680mm tall, on a 2755mm wheelbase that’s up 85mm, to bolster back-seat space.
The boot is massive, at a claimed class-leading 543 litres with the back seats in use, growing to 1829L with them folded. The fact it offers this with a full-size spare wheel too, is worth noting.
Kia advertises nationwide drive-away pricing, with the range opening at $34,690 and topping out at $54,990.
The list below comprises four specification levels starting with S, moving up to SX, then SX+, topping out with the GT-Line. All four grades share a diesel engine, but there are two petrol engines offered.
2022 Kia Sportage drive-away pricing:
- Sportage S 2.0 FWD 6MT/6AT: $34,690/$35,690
- Sportage S 2.0D AWD 8AT: $42,690
- Sportage SX 2.0 FWD 6MT/6AT: $37,490/$38,490
- Sportage SX 2.0 AWD 8AT: $45,490
- Sportage SX+ 2.0 FWD 6AT: $44,490
- Sportage SX+ 1.6T AWD 7DCT: $46,990
- Sportage SX+ 2.0D AWD 8AT: $49,990
- Sportage GT-Line 1.6T AWD 7DCT: $51,990
- Sportage GT-Line 2.0D AWD 8AT: $54,990
The base Sportage S gets 17-inch alloy wheels, a full-size alloy spare (not something all rivals offer), a Safe Exit Warning alert system, LED headlights and tail lights, cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a basic digital instrument readout with TFT centre display, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, six speakers, and a reversing camera.
The walk up into a Sportage SX ups the wheels to 18-inches, adds dual-zone climate control, a leather shift knob, remote levers to fold the back seats in the cargo area, rain-sensing wipers, and enhances the infotainment to a 12.3-inch touchscreen with satellite-navigation and digital radio. The Android Auto/Apple CarPlay reverts to wired.
The leap into the SX+ adds 19-inch wheels, luxuries like artificial leather seats, seat heating for front occupants, a powered driver’s seat, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power tailgate, rear tinted privacy glass, a proximity ‘smart’ key with push-button start, paddle shifters, and a better eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
The final jump to the GT-Line puts everything on the table, including machined alloy wheels, a curved 12.3-inch instrument cluster, leather and faux suede trim; heated, cooled and powered front seats; dual LED headlights, a wireless phone charger, ambient interior lighting, panoramic sunroof, alloy pedals, and a 3D surround-view camera.
The GT-Line is naturally the most impressive and a good chance to account for a majority of sales (as per the Seltos and Sorento), but for the value-consciousthe SX is a good balance, adding plenty of extra features for a reasonable $2800 premium.
Clear White is standard, the rest a $520 option.
- Clear White
- Steel Grey
- Gravity Grey
- Fusion Black
- Vesta Blue
- Dawning Red
- Snow White Pearl*
- Jungle Wood Green*
*SX+ and GT-Line only, Kia making sure the hero hues are on range-toppers with the biggest wheels.
All grades have seven airbags including a front-centre inflator, two ISOFIX and three top-tether points, front and rear parking sensors, road-sign detection and readout, and autonomous emergency braking designed to detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists, and work at junctions. It also beeps if the car ahead moves and you’re dawdling.
There’s also lane-keeping haptic feedback assist billed as offering line and road-edge detection, blind-spot and rear-cross traffic collision avoidance assist that uses the ESP, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, and a Lane Follow Assist function where it teams up with a lane-keeping aid to allow assisted highway driving.
The GT-Line adds a few extra highlights including blind-spot camera displays in the instruments when you indicate, and AEB that works when reverse parking. The diesel GT-Line in particular also adds a nifty remote smart parking assist that turns the key fob into a remote control.
Unfortunately the Sportage does not yet have an ANCAP crash rating – however the mechanically similar Tucson is a five-star vehicle so it would be a surprise if the Kia did not score the same.
Buyers of the S and SX have a pretty simple engine choice to make. Those who mostly drive around the ‘burbs and don’t mind more stately performance can opt for the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol with front-wheel drive and six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Outputs are nothing flash frankly, at 115kW of power and 192Nm of torque, the latter delivered at 4500rpm.
However you can upgrade to the more effortless and push-in-the-chest 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with eight-speed auto and electronically-actuated AWD on-demand with three terrain-specific delivery modes giving traction to the rear tyres when there’s a loss up front. This engine makes 137kW and 416Nm, from only 2000rpm. It also slashes fuel consumption from 8.1 litres per 100km to 6.3L/100km on a combined-cycle loop.
The trade-off for this extra grunt, more slippery road traction and longer driving range, is the gruffer engine noise at idle, and the rather hefty $7000 price jump. If you do regular road trips, tow things (up to 1900kg braked but with a 100kg download), or just want some extra punch, then it’s clearly better.
This diesel stays the choice in the luxo SX+ and GT-Line, but that modest petrol option is switched out for something that looks more promising: a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol with 132kW and 265Nm, from 1500rpm. That’s about 40 per cent more torque or pulling power, available way earlier in the rev band meaning you don’t need to work it as hard.
It also swaps out the six-speed automatic with torque converter for a seven-speed dual-clutch auto (DCT) and swaps front-wheel drive for on-demand AWD like the diesel, but without the Snow/Mud/Sand terrain modes. In terms of overall outputs and capabilities, this unit narrows the gap substantially.
It’s worth noting that a 169kW petrol-electric hybrid model is expected to arrive in 2022, though the company is still yet to lock it in. It would be very welcome as a diesel substitute with similar efficiency but better refinement, and would line-up nicely against the top-selling RAV4 Hybrid range.
2022 Kia Sportage engine specs:
|2.0-litre petrol||1.6-litre petrol||2.0-litre diesel|
|Power||115kW @ 6200rpm||132kW @ 5500rpm||137kW @ 4000rpm|
|Torque||192Nm @ 4500rpm||265Nm @ 1500-4500rpm||416Nm @ 2000-2750rpm|
|Transmission||6MT or 6AT||7DCT||8AT|
|Configuration||Front-wheel drive||All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
This new model uses a different platform to the old model, which brings superior torsional stiffness. It’s actually a derivative of the platform that underpins the bigger Sorento, plus the related Hyundai Tucson. Kia Australia’s local suspension team specified the damper tune to suit local roads, adding ride compliance while retaining body control.
Having spent time driving various vehicles with the new N3 platform, we’ve found the general ride and handling balance to be excellent, with models featuring smaller wheels and a smidgen more tyre sidewall a little better at rounding off smaller inputs. The other major improvement over some other Kia-Hyundai vehicles is the suppression of tyre roar over coarse-chip roads.
All grades come with a ‘DMS’ function comprising four driving modes called Eco, Normal, Sport and Smart. The first three change things like throttle calibration and transmission shift points to suit your driving preference, but we advise just leaving it in Smart and letting the car’s onboard computers make the choice for you.
|Front suspension||McPherson strut|
|Front brakes||305mm ventilated discs|
|Rear brakes||300mm solid discs|
|Turning circle||11.4m – 12.2m|
|Ground clearance||181mm minimum|
As with all Kia models the new Sportage is backed by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with seven years of capped-price servicing.
Scheduled maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres for 2.0-litre petrol and diesel models, but the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol has its intervals shortened to 12 months/10,000 kilometres.
Pricing for the Sportage’s capped-price service program is yet to be finalised, but the company has given indicative figures for each engine as follows:
- 1.6T GDi AWD: $323, $573, $422, $783, $364, $851, $672 (12mths/10,000km)
- 2.0L MPi FWD: $316, $565, $399, $759, $356, $706, $378 (12mths/15,000km)
- 2.0D CRDi AWD: $350, $541, $422, $783, $364, $851, $672 (12mths/15,000km)
Diesel isn’t for everyone, but it’s the pick of the drivetrains on account of its torque delivery and longer service intervals. The price hike is a factor but I’d be inclined to stump up, personally.
If you take road trips, like the idea of exploring some modest trails, or want superior towing and load lugging, then this is especially advisable.
In terms of spec walk, while the GT-Line is clearly the most desirable, they all come well-equipped with safety features.
That SX grade looks like a no-brainer over the base S, making it the value pick, because you get the better-looking infotainment and a cooler wheel design for a modest price bump.
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MORE: Everything Kia Sportage