Sit in the Kia Sportage’s driver’s seat and it’s clear that some cost saving has gone on in the cabin, but only in areas where it matters very little, if at all.
The base specification Sportage is competitively equipped. All models come with alloys, climate control, electric windows, a leather-covered steering wheel and gearlever knob, front fog lights and cornering lights, automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, cruise control and a multi-function steering wheel.
When that is taken into account, there should be few complaints about some shiny plastic on the dashboard.
Even with these cheaper materials in view, the Kia’s cabin is a pleasant place to be. The high-set seat makes it feel very much like the SUV it is, and it has a broad range of manual adjustment that makes it easy to get comfortable.
There’s also ample head and legroom in the back, although some families may regard it as a disadvantage that the Kia lacks the individual sliding, or even removable, seats that are a feature of some of the Sportage’s competition.
The fixed 60/40 split-fold rear bench doesn’t compromise practicality by much. The big, conveniently shaped boot can hold up to 564 litres with the seats up, or 1353 with them folded, and that despite a full-sized spare wheel beneath the boot floor. That load capacity isn’t the best in this class, but it’s very good next to rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai (410 litres) and Skoda Yeti (416 litres).
Visibility is less ideal. The rear view is quite poor because of the letterbox-shaped rear windscreen, while the chunky, raked-back A-pillars also prove obstructive.