Kia Sportage PHEV review: “Low tax rate makes it a great company car” – Colin Goodwin

Colin Goodwin says the Kia Sportage PHEV – which costs £38,395 – has a generous boot, leaving 540 liters to fill even with that subtraction. Sport, Eco and Automatic modes are available

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi PHEV GT Line
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi PHEV GT Line

A friend dropped a bombshell on me a few weeks ago. He has ordered a new Kia Sportage PHEV. His nearly 20-year-old Ford Focus is about to be recycled into cooking pots, so a new family car is needed.

His choice of the Kia is reasonable, the bombshell is that for the last year I’ve been trying to get him to have a classic Porsche 911 that I, um, maybe can enjoy with him.

Kia used to make cheap machines, undercutting rivals from Europe and Japan. Now that is no longer the case. The poundlands of the car world these days are Dacia and MG, and it’s no coincidence that they’re doing exceptionally well in these times of financial pressure.

So my mate’s Porsche could be stuck indefinitely because the Sportage PHEV isn’t cheap.

The cheapest model costs £38,395



Kia normally uses a very simple naming system for its trim levels, but went astray with this car as the PHEV range starts with GT-Line instead of “1”, “2”, “3” and “4” and goes to goes ‘3’ then ‘4’ and ends with the flagship GT-Line S.

We’re testing the cheapest model, which will set you back £38,395. Just out of interest, the most expensive GT-Line S is £43,795. When I asked my buddy which one he ordered the other day, he couldn’t remember.

He buys his Sportage PHEV with cash as he is a private player and doesn’t want financing.

Too bad it’s not a commercial user as this Kia is extremely attractive as a company car thanks to a very low BIK tax rate of 8%.

The extra weight is noticeable, says Colin



Very few rivals can match that (the PHEV version of the Volkswagen Tiguan has a 14% rating) and while the Kia looks a bit pricey compared to rivals, if it’s used as a company car the actual spend will be significantly less .

All Sportage PHEVs have a 1.6-liter direct-injection petrol engine with 178 hp and an electric motor with 90 hp.

The combined power of the two totals 261 hp. All have four-wheel drive via an automatic transmission.

It’s the 13.8kWh battery – which gives the Sportage a maximum electric range of 43 miles – that helps put this car in such a low tax bracket, with CO2 emissions of just 25g/km. Of course, you’ll struggle to achieve that electric range in the real world, but mid-30s should be possible, especially with lots of city and off-highway driving.

The size of the boot is generous



The battery not only adds 330kg to the Sportage over the lightest petrol version, it also takes up some luggage space – 40 liters to be precise.

But luckily the Sportage has a generously sized trunk, so even with that subtraction there’s still 540 liters to fill.

Some legroom is also lost in the rear, but your passengers will hardly notice it. But the extra weight is noticeable, as there’s more body roll than the non-PHEV models.

That’s made up for by an impressive 0-100km/h performance in just 7.9 seconds.

Sport, Eco and Automatic modes are available.

It takes a little getting used to the controls of the car, says Colin



Driving around in sport will drain battery power quickly, meaning the petrol engine has to do more work and your MPG will drop. In Eco the car is quite sluggish, so we left it more on automatic.

The new Sportage has traditional buttons and dials for the most commonly used functions – very useful.

The controls on that lower panel (separate and below the infotainment area) take a bit of getting used to, but once you get them to select the heater control it’s easy enough.

I would have much preferred my friend to have spent his money on an old Porsche and heeded my advice to buy a used Skoda Superb PHEV for the family car.

But I think he will be happy with his Sportage PHEV.

The facts

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi PHEV GT-Line five-door crossover

Price: £38,395

Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder plus electric motor, 261 hp

0-100km/h: 7.9 sec

Fuel Consumption: 252.0mpg

Co2: 25g/km

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Fry Electronics Team

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