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.

Road test editor
The Sportage faces some tough rivals, such as the popular Skoda Yeti

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.