Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Well laid-out dashboard works well
  • Quality is good on the whole
  • Simple controls and good driving position

The Sportage follows many of Kia’s other models with a greater focus on ‘perceived quality’ of the interiors of its cars. The main dashboard is covered with soft-touch plastic that feels of good quality, although it does look a touch shiny compared with an equivalent Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX-5. Search lower down the panels and the plastics get harder and scratchier, but they still feel hard-wearing. Kia has become well-known for its build quality and reliability, and we don’t think you’ll feel short-changed with this interior.

Go for a Sportage 1, 2 or GT-Line and you get yourself a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. There’s nothing wrong with the equipment list on the 1 (quite the opposite. It has been updated since launch but looks a little outdated now in terms of graphics, but we’re pleased to report a speedy processor and responsive screen with clear and intuitive menus to navigate through. Plenty of firms get this so very wrong – including some direct rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 – so it’s refreshing to find one that’s so simple to operate.

Platinum Edition, 4 and GT-Line S come with a large 8.0-inch touchscreen as well a an upgraded JBL sound system.

The driving position itself feels very good, with a slightly elevated situation and good forward visibility. The rearwards view is hampered a little by a small rear windscreen aperture, but this isn’t a serious problem – especially when models higher up the range get a reversing camera and parking sensors as standard.

Is it comfortable?

  • Soft and comfortable seats front and rear
  • Excellent ride quality on rough roads
  • It's quiet on the move with little wind noise

There are few complaints when it comes to comfort in the Sportage – even entry-level models come with pleasingly soft and squishy fabric seats that offer plenty of support as well as comfort. There’s a good amount of adjustment in both front seats – as well as the steering wheel – so those in the front should find it easy to get a good setup.

Those in the back fare well, too, with a rear bench that features a reclining backrest and enough room to stretch out. They also get one USB port and one 12v socket, but little else on the mid-spec 4 models we’ve tested.

This flexibility, combined with a well-controlled ride that isolates the worst bumps in the road from the occupants, makes for a relaxed car to cover long distances in. There’s quite a lot of road noise intruding into the cabin if you go for the high-spec models with their large 19-inch wheels, but stick with the lower-spec models, and this does wonders for both road noise and ride comfort.

Wind and engine noise aren’t a problem for the most part, though working the engines hard can make for a slightly grumbly experience in the diesels, and a slight moaning sound in the petrols. However, it’s never unbearable, and this would also be the case in the majority of the Sportage’s rivals.

The engines have improved over the years and the latest mild-hybrid 1.6-litre diesel remains hushed throughout, with only a distant clatter at motorway speeds. The stop-start system isn’t the smoothest, however, but this is typical with most diesels in this class.