Fun fact: if you live in Australia, you’ve probably been pronouncing this car’s name wrongly all your life.
Let’s clarify this once and for all: it’s not a Spor-tahh-je like you’d pronounce ‘reportage’, it’s Sport-age. Rhymes with shortage and mortgage.
The good thing about the all-new Kia Sportage is that it has no space shortage and may be considered pretty affordable for its class. It’s also a very family-friendly SUV that is great to drive and look at.
My first impression of the fresh look of Kia Sportage: elegant, stylish, and somewhat European.
The Sportage feels familiar, yet it took almost nothing from its predecessor. It’s a little teaser for a promising future of Kia design.
The exterior became much more muscular and solid, and I appreciate how much thought was given to the little details like brushed chrome inserts and contrasting gloss black wheel arches.
The front was completely reworked to accommodate a wider grille and boomerang-shaped LED lights which look great at night-time.
One would think that the complexity of the exterior would compensate for the simplicity of the interior, but it’s not the case with 2022 Kia Sportage SX 2.2D AWD.
The 2022 Kia Sportage SX Diesel AWD we have on test starts at $42,400 plus on-road costs, or about $46,870 drive-away using a Brisbane postcode.
It’s $5200 more expensive than the SX Petrol FWD, and $2555 dearer than the base Sportage S Diesel AWD.
Diesel-powered rivals are becoming rarer in this segment, with several brands ditching diesels in favour of petrol-electric hybrids. Regardless, both fuel types are generally more efficient offerings than petrol-only alternatives.
Key rivals include:
Prices exclude on-road costs unless specified
Production car interiors are typically judged on comfort, ergonomics, and functionality. For me, the Kia Sportage SX scores high points in every aspect.
The interior of Sportage SX feels pretty luxurious, thanks to the new cockpit design with accents of brushed metal (well, metal-look) and piano black elements on the driver panel and doors.
A soft-touch dashboard, armrest and leather-appointed details like the steering wheel and shift knob are an upgrade from the lower Sportage S grade. Sadly, the SX doesn’t come with leather seats.
Overall the interior feels very driver-centric, which is a plus.
There’s a basic digital driver’s cluster with LCD speedo and tacho readouts flanking a 4.2-inch supervision display, while the infotainment touchscreen measures a whopping 12.3 inches. Connectivity is on point, the graphics are rich, and the interactivity is excellent.
The Sportage’s designers have replaced your usual aircon switches with a configurable touch bar. To be completely honest, I’m conflicted about this feature.
The touchscreen buttons look amazing, but they are just too close to each other for my liking. Unless you’re operating an autonomous vehicle, changing some settings at 110km/h can be tricky. I appreciate all things digital, but just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
The multifunction steering wheel is great. My favourite feature is a customisable button that helps you reach your favourite settings while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
For example, I would use the custom button to either record voice memos, put the infotainment system into Quiet Mode (if my passengers are asleep in the back seat), or enable the screen’s privacy settings. Given the Sportage SX’s huge screen size, hiding the displays for phone contacts or call history might come in handy.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wired only for models with the larger screen and navigation, so you need to plug and unplug your phone each time you get in the car.
Kia’s quirky Sounds of Nature also features – the pre-recorded white noise of ocean waves, a lively forest or a crackling fireplace can create a pretty relaxing atmosphere too. If this weren’t a car review, I’d suggest pairing it with your most expensive candle.
I also really like Kia’s smart size-changing cupholder design. Foldable separators allow you to claim some important real estate back and use the middle console for larger items like an umbrella or an iPad. There’s also a pretty spacious storage cubby under the centre armrest.
Even though the interior is driver-centric, it is still designed with other passengers in mind. The back seats are very roomy, each front seat has map pockets, and there’s rear air vents for added comfort.
Unfortunately, the Sportage SX is misses out on wireless phone charging and USB-C chargers in the front seats – they’re are only available in the SX+ and GT-Line versions.
The boot is pretty impressive, at a claimed 543 litres. If you need even more space, you can quickly increase it by pulling the remote rear seat folding lever, which splits seats 60:40, and helps open up 1829L.
The Kia Sportage SX comes standard with a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine with front-wheel drive, but on test we have the optional 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel with all-wheel drive.
Outputs for the diesel are rated at 137kW (4000rpm) and 416Nm (2000-2750rpm), with drive sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel efficiency is a claimed 6.3L/100km on the combined cycle, and there’s a 54L fuel tank.
Kia Australia offers the 2.0-litre diesel across all Sportage variants.
It’s clear the Sportage was designed to be an all-rounder.
I liked switching between different driving settings based on my mood and seeing how the vehicle behaves. Eco, Normal, Sport and Smart modes are available – it’s usually sporty for me, rarely smart.
More adventurous drivers can also choose from multi-terrain mode options: Snow, Mud and Sand. The system will automatically optimise traction and stability controls so you can feel more confident on loose surfaces.
If you want to see how the new Sportage performs off-road, check out our Medium SUV Off-Road Mega Test here.
Most of my driving is usual daily commutes around town and the city, and I must say Kia is a great companion for slow city driving.
If moving 30-40km/h between 4-6pm is a regular thing for you, the Kia offers great amenities to pass the time – a great sound system for your favourite music, a surprisingly well-balanced driver seat with decent lower back support, and well-insulated cabin to keep all the noise away.
The Sportage stretches 4660mm in length, has a 2755mm wheelbase and weighs up to 1759kg in diesel spec. It quotes a minimum turning circle of 12.2 metres.
Taking this into account, front and rear parking sensors and rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines come in very handy. If you upgrade two grades up to the top-spec GT-Line, you can get the Remote Smart Parking Assist feature which is unfortunately not available on the SX.
Safe Exit Warning will detect approaching vehicles from behind and raise a sound or visual alert if a passenger attempts to open the door into oncoming traffic or cyclists when parked.
The SX version also comes with the whole alphabet of active safety features – from AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) to TSA (Trailer Stability Assist).
My personal favourites are Downhill Brake Control and hill-start assist, which always come in handy if you live in a hilly area.
I also enjoyed the Leading Vehicle Departure Alert feature, which reminds you to stop daydreaming and notifies if the vehicle in front started moving.
Back on the highway, the Sportage SX’s diesel engine engine proved to be quite responsive and gets its big body moving pretty confidently.
The eight-speed automatic transmission offers quick, snappy shifts and keeps the engine in the power band when you need it. Who cares about the 0-100 time – all you need to know is that it progresses smoothly and steadily.
Despite being a high-riding SUV, the Sportage handles well and can be a bit of fun to thread through corners. The steering is pleasantly weighted and responsive too.
The Korean brand has also done a good job of keeping unpleasant diesel clatter to a minimum.
Sportage S highlights:
- 17-inch alloy wheels (machine face)
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (wireless)
- DAB digital radio
- Six-speed audio system
- ‘Basic’ digital instrument cluster with 4.2-inch TFT display
- LED headlights (reflector-type)
- LED daytime running lights
- Partial-LED tail lights
- Full-size spare wheel
- Leather-accented steering wheel and PVC shifter
- AEB with pedestrian/cyclist/junction assist
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane Follow Assist
- Intelligent speed limit assist
- Adaptive cruise control**
- Electric park brake**
- Reversing camera
- Rear parking sensors
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Front-centre airbag
**not available for manual variants
Sportage SX (as tested) adds:
- 18-inch alloy wheels (machine face)
- 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment
- Satellite navigation
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (wired)
- Power driver’s lumbar adjustment
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Dual-zone climate control with auto de-fog
- Auto up/down windows (front)
- Leather shifter
- Remote-folding second-row seats
Sportage SX+ adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- 8-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio
- Faux leather seat trim
- Heated front seats
- LED front fog lights
- Power driver’s seat with power lumbar
- Electric tailgate
- Electrochromic rear-view mirror
- Keyless entry with push-button start
- Steering-mounted paddle shifters
- Rear privacy glass
- Front parking sensors
Sportage GT-Line adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels (machine face)
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- Leather seats with suede upper
- Driver’s seat with memory function
- Power passenger seat adjustment
- Heated/ventilated front seats
- Bi-LED headlights (projector type)
- Full-LED tail lights
- Shift-by-wire gear selector (dial type)
- Wireless phone charger
- Ambient interior lighting
- LED interior lighting
- Panoramic sunroof
- Alloy sports pedals
- Blind Spot View Monitor
- Parking Collision Avoidance (AEB reverse)
- Remote Smart Park Assist*
- Surround-view cameras with 3D view
The Kia Sportage wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on tests carried out by Euro NCAP.
Category scores included 87 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 66 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 74 per cent for safety assist.
The five-star rating applies across the whole range currently sold in Australia, with all engines and trim levels covered.
Standard safety features include:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian and Cyclist detection
- Junction assist
- Forward collision warning
- Adaptive cruise control (auto only)
- Intelligent Speed Limit Assist
- Blind-spot assist (auto only)
- Blind-spot monitoring (manual only)
- Rear cross-traffic assist (auto only)
- Rear cross-traffic alert (manual only)
- Multi-collision brake
- Lane Following Assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Reversing camera
- Rear parking sensors
- 7 airbags incl. front-centre airbag
Sportage GT-Line adds:
- 360-degree cameras with 3D view
- Blind Spot View Monitor
- AEB – Low speed (reverse)
Th 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 diesel models – whichever comes first.
Each visit over those seven years will cost $349, $541, $435, $794, $393, $695 and $417. In total, the Sportage Diesel will set you back $1325 over three years, $2512 over five years, and $3624 over seven.
By comparison, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid costs just over $200 per annual service for the first five years, or less than half of what Kia charges.
Compared to the related Hyundai Tucson, the Sportage on a different level visually and caters to a younger and more active audience.
I loved the interior screens and finishes, generous dimensions and high driving position complemented with multiple safety features.
Also, let’s not forget Kia’s seven-year factory warranty, making it a safe choice for long-term commitment.
But please, stop calling it Spor-tahh-je. Sportage rhymes with shortage!
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MORE: Everything Kia Sportage