What is it?
It’s Kia’s best-selling car in the UK and for the first time a dedicated European version has been created to establish new standards across the SUV segment. It combines a modern exterior design with a cutting-edge premium interior, featuring an integrated curved display with the latest advancements in connectivity technology.
The Sportage has been developed on Kia’s new ‘N3’ architecture and benefits from a European-focused high-tech engineering programme aimed specifically at European customers.
However, in another first for the Sportage, the latest model is available with a Plug-in Hybrid drivetrain, establishing a new benchmark in the growing electrified SUV segment. The new Sportage PHEV features a 1.6-litre T-GDi engine, a 66.9kW permanent magnet traction electric motor and a 13.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. These combine to realise a WLTP combined fuel economy figure of 252mpg, and an emissions-free driving range of up to 43 miles – enough to cover most daily commutes, or for local journeys.
To create a dynamic, engaging, and optimal driving experience, the new Sportage Plug-in Hybrid includes numerous highly innovative technology breakthroughs. A new Terrain Mode on ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models gives the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid outstanding drive capabilities in more challenging conditions such as snow, mud and sand, allowing owners to pursue more adventurous leisure activities.
It also leads the way in safety, featuring both passive and active high-technology safety technologies – including Kia’s world-renowned DriveWise suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
The Sportage has been an important ingredient in the astonishing rise in sales of Kia in the UK, Europe and globally and it’s the best-selling model in those markets. From 1995 to 2021, almost a third of a million examples of the Sportage (327,502 units across all four earlier generations) have been sold in the UK, with the fourth-generation car, in particular, a runaway success.
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What do we think?
The all-new PHEV features a high quality, high-tech, driver-centric interior designed for European customers, the first time such a focus has been made in the model’s history. The cabin fuses together advanced technology, luxury features, premium materials, and modern style, ensuring occupants remain comfortable, engaged, and connected on every journey.
All vehicle controls are quickly and easily accessible. Owners of ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models get an integrated curved display with twin high-definition 12.3-inch screens. The digital instrument cluster directly in front of the driver benefits from the latest liquid-crystal display technology for incredibly precise and clear graphics. The central touchscreen caters for all driver and passenger connectivity, functionality, and usability requirements.
The centre console is positioned for the driver and front passenger to provide further flexible storage. For example, by simply pressing a button, the cupholders located in the centre console rotate outwards, and can be pushed back in when not needed, providing a larger, more practical space in which to store items. The centre console also features the shift-by-wire transmission dial. A smartphone charging bay, standard on ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, offers high-speed 15W wireless charging – the fastest wireless charger fitted to any new Kia model.
The cabin is finished in the highest quality materials and the driver and front passenger seats combine innovation, comfort, and functionality, housing fast-charge USB ports, all part of being fully connected, with the Kia Connect smartphone app allowing users to connect with their vehicle remotely. You can sync calendars, plan journeys with online navigation and access key onboard features, including live traffic alerts, local fuel station information and real-time weather forecasts. A simple tap into the Remote Monitoring section of the Kia Connect app will even remind the driver if their doors are locked, the windows are up, and where you left the vehicle.
Packaging of the Plug-in Hybrid minimises impact on passenger and luggage space. The high-voltage battery is placed centrally between the two axles under the body ensuring a balanced weight distribution and an interior space that is practical, comfortable, and versatile.
The Sportage is underpinned by a wheelbase of 2,680mm, a width of 1,865mm without door mirrors, length of 4,515mm and height of 1,645mm without roof rails, resulting in a package that leads the way in legroom, headroom, and luggage capacity thanks to the clever packaging of the high-voltage battery. The Plug-in Hybrid offers 955mm of legroom for second-row passengers while headroom at the rear is 998mm. Luggage capacity is 540 litres (VDA). To maximise convenience, the rear seats can fold down in a 40:20:40 split allowing for 1,715 litres cargo space.
The new Sportage PHEV rides on 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, with a choice of two wheel designs and up to nine exterior colours. Seven of these colours are optionally available with a black roof for a striking two-tone effect on ‘GT-Line S’ models.
Kia claims the plug-in Sportage will cover 43 miles on electric power alone, maybe more around town, which should be plenty for the average commute or shopping run. CO2 emissions listed as 25g/km and fully recharging the 13.8kWh battery from a home wallbox takes around two hours.
A big plus, therefore, is that the PHEV attracts a BiK rate of just 8% until at least April 2024. That’s a bout one third of the rate of the full hybrid. That’s the good news, not so much a starting price of more than £38,000 which may be somewhat daunting for private buyers, but still worth a look as a company vehicle.
There are several driving modes to choose from including EV, Hybrid and Automatic, which decides how best to mix the petrol and electric power sources. There are also Eco and Sport modes plus settings for different terrain.
On the road, the PHEV is relaxing to drive with little wind noise is well suppressed while the hybrid system and transmission feels refined. While there are all those different modes from which to choose, the PHEV is more than happy to be left to its own devices and you’ll easily achieve over 70mpg as an average over a variety of roads.
Ultimately, you can appreciate the amount goodies and technology on board which takes some of the edge of the price while interior space is a strongpoint. Cargo space does take a bit of a hit compared to the rest of the Sportage rage but is still more than adequate while lowering the rear seats boosts available space from 540 litres to 1,715 litres.
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi ‘4’ PHEV AWD
P11D Value: £41,795
Engine: 1.6-litre PHEV
Max power (bhp/rpm): 261 / 5,500
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 350 / 1,500-4,500
0-60 mph: 7.9 seconds
Top speed (mph): 119
Battery: 13.8kWh Li-ion polymer battery
Hybrid type: TMED
EV range (miles): 43
Max power (kW): 66.9
Capacity (Ah): 38.3
Nominal voltage (V): 360
Fuel Consumption WLTP combined: 252mpg