At time of writing, there wasn’t even a price listed for it on Kia’s website. So ours, a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with an electric motor and a 1.49kWh battery, producing a combined 226bhp, is the most expensive model currently available.
The rest of the range is populated by 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel 48V mild hybrids in a choice of five trims. The Sportage has long been well pitched as a middle-of-the-range, practical, comfortable family car with every bit of kit you would need to be included. Our GT-Line S trim has no extra options. More on that later.
Stepping into it for the first time, it strikes me how premium the Sportage feels – and how far it has come in this regard. Okay, it’s not quite German premium levels of perceived quality but it also feels very far from a value proposition, let’s say. The curved 12.3in touchscreen neatly integrated into the dashboard looks slicker than the most recent of Volkswagen’s offerings.
There’s plenty more miles ahead to assess it fully, but my experience to date is that the hybrid system is very quiet and smooth so the change between petrol and electric power is almost imperceptible. You can just about hear the engine but you can’t feel it. It’s also very close to hitting its 44.1mpg WLTP figure (remember, not the best in the first place because it’s all-wheel drive) but I’ve been doing largely town driving in electric mode, so with some more out-of-town miles, we’ll see how it balances out.
It’s impressively comfortable too, in its seats and the storage space for things (cups, phones, keys) around them. There’s no scrambling around to find your personal belongings and there’s also plenty of room in the back and boot. Indeed, there’s greater leg room, headroom and boot space than in the previous model.
Let’s get to that specification, something Kia has always hung at least some of its appeal on. Highlights include a panoramic sunroof, 360deg camera/monitor, heated steering wheel, power tailgate (my recent Jag E-Pace didn’t have one of those…), rear USB charging ports, wireless charging and Harman Kardon hi-fi.