Kia Sportage is almost an ‘oldtimer’ in this day and age, having been around since 1993. It’s undergone quite a few upgrades and changes in almost 30 years on the market.

The fifth generation is built on a new architecture and has fascinating styling. It’s no longer aimed at buyers who simply want to move people, it’s designed to be stylish and even slightly upmarket in people’s minds.

The classic Kia Tiger Nose grille and boomerang-shaped daytime running lamps make a real styling statement. At the rear it has a what you could call a swooping fastback design.

The fifth-generation Sportage has boomerang-shaped LEDs, razor rear lamps and a swooping curved roof that gives it a look that almost leans in the direction of a coupe. The Snow While Pearl on our test car tied in beautifully with the large black sunroof and the black wheels.

The dual aero spoilers, one above the rear window the other below add to the looks sporting looks.

The bold arrow-like shape of the daytime running lights certainly says they are there for more than providing visibility for other road users.

Can’t say the black-on-black interior is to our tastes, but it’s the trendy thing these days so it will help to sell more Sportages.

The latest Sportage has a wheelbase of 2755mm, a length of 4660mm, width of 1865mm and height of 1660mm. There’s 1050mm legroom for second-row passengers and 1000mm headroom. This is noticeably better than the outgoing model. This means someone of my size and build can get comfortable in the rear without having to ask the driver to share space with me.

Three abreast in the rear seat is pretty good in this latest generation if the occupants are of normal width, if one or more are on the tubby side it does get less comfortable. The centre tunnel is low and doesn’t force the person in the centre seat to sit with their feet beside it.

Inside there’s a curved 12.3-inch digital cluster, and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen in the GT-Line we tested. It’s easy to see at a quick glance, thus minimising the time the driver takes their eyes off the road.

The sound system is by harman/kardon and could be easily adjusted to produce the sort of outputs we like.

Power from the Sportage comes from a variety of engines; a 2.0-litre petrol (115kW / 192Nm), 1.6-litre turbo-petrol (132kW / 265Nm) and 2.0-litre diesel (137kW / 416Nm).

The 1.6-litre is exclusively available on the GT-Line and SX+ variants and is paired with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It sends power to both the front and rear wheels for improved performance and handling, particularly in low grip situations.

Our test car is a Sportage GT-Line with the 1.6-litre petrol and premium paint and has a driveway pricing of $51,990.

Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance System technology helps the Sportage to avoid potential hazards.

The Intelligent Speed Limit Assist system available on the all-new Sportage detects speed signs through the front view camera. Information is then displayed on the instrument cluster.

The optimised speed can then be used to set the Speed Limiter or Smart Cruise Control by confirming the speed limit. Can’t say we are keen on this as drivers know the correct speed for the road conditions, which may be below or above the posted speeds. So, we don’t want our car lagging behind others on the road or charging up behind them.

On motorways this can lead to others coming up behind us having to change lanes, then get back into the correct lane in front of us.

Kia Sportage has been the subject of Kia Australia’s Local Ride and Handling Program, the Sportage is designed to cater to Australian roads and the style of driving Australians prefer.

Kia Australia’s Ride and Handling Engineer, Graeme Gambold, said: “While it’s been a challenge due to Covid complications and taken a little longer than usual, NQ5 is sporty, youthful, fun to drive, yet comfortable and capable of soaking up even the harshest of road conditions”.

It’s no sports machine but comes closer than we anticipated in the way it turns in promptly and is happy to change direction if the road tightens or loosens.

Debuting in the Sportage GT-Line is a 3D surround view monitor which optimises images from four cameras (front, side mirrors and rear) to provide a 360-degree view in various modes. It allows the user to easily zoom and drag the camera view to suit their needs. This is particularly useful when squeezing backwards into a tight spot in a carpark, especially an underground one with poor lighting.

Kia’s latest Sportage is a solid reworking of the models before it and it looks certain to continue the sales successes of its four ancestors.


S 2.0-litre petrol: $34,690 (six-speed manual), $35,690 (six-speed automatic)
S 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $42,690 (eight-speed automatic)
SX 2.0-litre petrol: $37,490 (six-speed manual), $38,490 (six-speed automatic)
SX 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $45,490 (eight-speed automatic)
SX+ 2.0-litre petrol: $44,490 (six-speed automatic)
SX+ 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $49,990 (eight-speed automatic)
SX+ 1.6-litre turbo-petrol: $46,990 (seven-speed DCT automatic)
GT-Line 1.6-litre turbo-petrol: $51,990 (seven-speed DCT automatic)
GT-Line 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $54,990 (eight-speed automatic)
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all government and dealer delivery charges.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Sportage GT-Line 1.6-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 1.598 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 132 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 265 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 164 g/km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic

Length: 4660 mm
Wheelbase: 2755 mm
Width: 1865 mm
Height: 1680 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1643 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 54 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

Looks: 9/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 6/10
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: 7.2/10


About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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