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.

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