The Sportage is the model with which Kia made itself known and appreciated in Italy in 1993. But between that first generation – with chassis and side members, reduced gears and zero electronics – and the new series it seems that well over thirty years have passed. If the original Sportage was an outsider that proposed itself as a robust and economical alternative to the off-road vehicles in vogue in those years, the fifth generation is instead a refined crossover, able to compete with the most famous brands. The leap in quality, even if only compared to the previous generation born in 2016, is evident: the platform is the new N3 used for the larger Sorento; all engines are electrified (mild, full and plug-in hybrids), with the exception of the always popular LPG version arriving in the second half of the year.
The interior is hyper-technological, with a double 10.5 ”curved screen that combines the dashboard and center console. The finishes are accurate, in some ways even rich; you may or may not like the design but it is certainly not trivial, with that bright double comma that characterizes the front especially at night. There is plenty of space, even behind, where three people sit comfortably, and in the trunk, which is close to 600 liters in volume. Finally, the electronic equipment is very rich, and includes among others the LED matrix headlights, the DriveWise driving assistance system package, and small amenities such as the inductive charger for the mobile phone.
Difficult to find major defects in this model, in short, if not the complication of managing all the functions from the touch screen (fortunately there are two physical controls to adjust the climate temperature), but this is now a common trend for many brands. As it is to abandon the diesel, which instead the Sportage still offers but in a single 1.6 mild hybrid version with 136 HP. During our test drive we drove the full hybrid version, with the 180 HP 1.6 turbo petrol engine combined with an electric motor for a total power of 230 HP, the six-speed automatic transmission and front or all-wheel drive, in the rich GT set-up. Line. The hybrid system is very reactive and leaves ample room for purely electric driving, as soon as the speed and traffic conditions allow to “sail”.
On the road you can appreciate the comfortable setting of the suspension, neither too soft nor too rigid, and the steering response, always intuitive. Overall, the Sportage seems designed to welcome the family on long motorway journeys, but we tested it on the series of switchbacks that lead to La Thuile’s 1,450m and we can testify that if you want, you can also have fun. The prices of the full hybrid version range from € 35,950 for the Style version to € 42,950 for the GT Line Plus.
As always, the price list depends on the level of electrification of the engine. The simpler mild hybrid versions start at 29,950 euros for the petrol version (1.6 150 bhp) and from 31,950 euros for the turbodiesel. More expensive are the plug-ins (only with all-wheel drive) whose 13.8 kWh battery drives up prices, ranging from 43,950 to 50,950 euros. To facilitate the commercial launch, which begins this weekend, Kia is offering a promotion which, in the event of financing and trade-in or scrapping, files 4,000 euros from the list price.