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
  • Ford Kuga
    Ford's targeting a class above with its bigger Kuga

    Ford Kuga

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

    Mazda CX-5

    3
  • If the new CR-V looks more crossover than old-guard SUV it may be because the roofline is 30mm lower than before

    Honda CR-V

    4
  • Kia’s well priced compact soft-roader has been given attention-seeking looks

    Kia Sportage

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Kia range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 April 2015
    The original S-Max was a game changer – your only option if you wanted a fun, seven-seat MPV. The new model aims to be the same, only better.
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Space and practicality has never been an issue for the Seat Leon ST, and thanks to a Cupra 280 engine it's now fast, too - but does it gel as a package?
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Ariel's third model is the best yet - in fact, it's one of the best driving experiences we've ever had
  • Car review
    23 April 2015
    Mazda's Skyactiv tech revolution transforms its cheapest model
  • The new Espace is a seven seater and described by the company as a 'crossover'.
    First Drive
    23 April 2015
    Renault replaces its classic flagship MPV with a new take on the seven-seat utility vehicle, but it's not for sale in the UK