Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDI 2022 UK review

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDI 2022 UK review

The theme of basics being done well extends to the accuracy of the steering, the neutral handling balance, the tractable powertrain and the simplicity of the gearshift.

Truth be told, the basic Sportage appeals in the same way that unexceptional Ford Focus variants do. There are few bells or whistles and not an awful lot of power or torque, but what is there has some polish to it, the car moving with just a hint of a spring in its step.

The suspension is particularly nicely tuned. The rates are on the sportier side for a crossover of the Sportage’s ilk, but it’s a pliable flavour of firmness. On 18in wheels (an inch larger than standard), the car responds well to quietly enthusiastic B-road driving but at the same time doesn’t seem compromised in terms of low-speed ride or motorway cruising.

I would be surprised if the heavier hybridised Sportages – particularly those also fitted with rear driveshafts – in general feel so fluid.

Kia’s 1.6-litre T-GDi engine is less inspiring. It’s responsive enough for a small turbocharged unit and doesn’t constantly feel overwhelmed in the face of 1500kg, but it remains only averagely efficient on paper and is a touch gravelly compared with rivals.

That’s a shame because, barring some conspicuous hard plastics, the Sportage’s new cabin is refined and attractive, with the Mercedes-style instrument-and-infotainment panel feeling less offensively vast than it might. Second-row head room is also excellent (but leg room only so-so), although the seats themselves don’t do anything clever in terms of layout, as they do in the Honda HR-V.