The Kia Sportage is the Korean firm's offering in the SUV/hatchback crossover market. You can question the purpose of this segment but you can't doubt its success. Any major car manufacturer worth its salt wants a slice of the sales action in this increasingly lucrative class.

This is the third-generation Kia Sportage. The first one, a basic SUV based on Mazda mechanicals, appeared in the UK in 1995 in five-door form only and remained on sale until 2004, by which time Kia was ensconced within Hyundai.

Second-generation Sportages were based on the same platform as the Hyundai Tucson, and this version was introduced in late 2010 as part of a raft of sharp-looking new models penned by German designer Peter Schreyer.

For a vehicle with such clear SUV DNA, you might wonder where the 'crossover' element comes from. Indeed, the Kia Sportage is actually a well-priced compact soft-roader, but it has been given the attention-seeking looks and marketing blurb to move it into the same territory as the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Skoda Yeti.

The engine line-up consists of 1.6 and a 2.0-litre petrols and diesels of 1.7 and 2.0-litre capacity, with the latter powerplant available in two states of tune.

Lower-powered engines come with Kia's ISG (Intelligent Stop and Go) stop-start system, while the brace of 2.0-litre units get four-wheel drive. Automatic transmissions are available as an option with the 2.0-litre engines. 

Trim levels are simple: 1, 2, 3 and 3 Sat Nav on the two-wheel-drive cars and KX-2, KX-3, KX-3 Sat Nav and range-topping KX-4 on the all-wheel-drive models.

Top 5 Crossovers

  • Nissan Qashqai
    The Nissan Qashqai gets a new look and more functionality in an effort to attract a new generation of buyers

    Nissan Qashqai

    1
  • The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

    Skoda Yeti

    2
  • CX-5's exterior has been shaped using Mazda's 'Kodo - soul of motion' design

    Mazda CX-5

    3
  • It looks like a 4x4 but it isn’t. So what’s the point of this crossover?

    Peugeot 3008

    4
  • Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
    The Suzuki's low price tag will make it appealing to many

    Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    CLA looks, bonkers 45 AMG performance, but with added estate practicality. An enticing mix, but is this Shooting Brake worth the extra?
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    Savagely rapid, four-wheel-drive diesel version of BMW's four-door coupé could be brilliant, or it could be a niche too far. We drive the 435d xDrive Gran Coupé to find out.
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    This is our first opportunity for a UK drive in a manual version of the new Discovery Sport. Does swapping cogs yourself make more sense?
  • First Drive
    3 March 2015
    Sharper handling, more refined and better-looking. Still a bit rough around the edges, mind, but now good enough to be a class contender
  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried