Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Kia Sportage PHEV AWD Review

The Kia Sportage is now available as a Plug-in Hybrid for the first time, with an electric range of 43 miles and official fuel economy of 252 mpg.

  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
  • Kia Sportage PHEV
Green Car Guide Rating: 8/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:  Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi ‘GT-Line S’ PHEV AWD
  • Fuel:  Petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
  • Fuel economy combined (WLTP):  252 mpg

Summary

  • Kia Sportage now available as a Plug-in Hybrid
  • Electric range of 43 miles
  • Fuel economy of 252 mpg
  • All-wheel drive

Background

The Kia Sportage is now in its fifth generation (the original Sportage first launched in the UK in 1995) and for the first time the Sportage is now available with a Plug-in Hybrid drivetrain. The latest Sportage has also been developed specifically for Europe; so does it represent progress?

Kia Sportage PHEVKia Sportage PHEV

Design & Engineering

The styling of the latest Sportage certainly reflects progress – it has a lot more visual character than previous versions, on the outside and inside. Because it’s an SUV, it’s spacious, with a 540-litre boot (or 1,715 litres if the rear seats are folded). The Sportage looks really good in many of its available colours, but in our opinion it doesn’t look as good in the white colour of our test car.

There’s a 4-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine mated with an electric motor and a 13.8kWh li-ion polymer battery, a six-speed automatic transmission, and an electronic all-wheel drive system is standard on all Plug-in Hybrid versions.

Interestingly, our test car had no badges saying it was a PHEV or that it was AWD, yet both are features that manufacturers usually want to shout about.

Kia Sportage PHEVKia Sportage PHEV

Kia Sportage PHEV Driving Experience

There’s instant good news with the Sportage PHEV – it automatically starts off in electric mode (some PHEVs start in hybrid mode, which usually means that the car will be running on its petrol engine, which is bad).

Driving around town on electric power is a quiet and refined experience, and as with virtually all PHEVs, this is much better than using the petrol engine, which can be revvy in such an environment. However the Sportage is refined on its petrol engine at motorway speeds, with the exception of some road noise on occasional poor surfaces.

With 261 bhp of power and 350 Nm of torque, performance is good. Ride quality is perfectly fine, even if slightly on the firm side, and handling is what you would expect from a PHEV SUV weighing almost two tonnes (with the battery being responsible for 140 kg of weight) – but the chassis feels more agile than the last generation of Sportage.

There’s a button that allows the selection of three modes for the hybrid system: Electric, Hybrid (both self-explanatory) or Automatic (it’s not really clear what the advantages of this mode are).

There are also two drive modes: Eco and Sport. It’s strange that there’s no Normal or Comfort mode, and the Sportage would be much better for having such an option, because performance is dialled back in Eco mode (the electric motor only develops 90 bhp), and in Sport mode the petrol engine charges the battery, which you don’t necessarily want.

Partly due to having no Normal mode, to get the best out of the car when you’re driving you often find yourself switching the rotary dial for the drive modes between left and right to swap between Eco (which usually means Electric) and Sport modes, and also using the EV/HEV button to switch between Electric and Hybrid modes.

Another omission is an option to ‘Save’ the battery charge for later, for example when you’re driving on a motorway before entering a built-up area.

There’s also a button for ‘Terrain’ (on ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models), which gives you the options of Snow, Mud and Sand. One thing to note is that the ground clearance isn’t huge, due to the battery being slung under the passenger compartment.

The Sportage PHEV can tow up to 1,350kg (braked).

The interior of the Sportage will be familiar to anyone who has driven a Kia EV6, which means that it’s excellent in terms of functionality, design and quality. There’s a row of digital buttons under the wide central touchscreen – these buttons can be changed to either control the main touchscreen functions or the heating and ventilation system.

There’s a circular gear selector as per the EV6 which works perfectly well, and you can switch off the lane departure warning system with a touch of a button on the steering wheel.

Kia Sportage PHEVKia Sportage PHEV

Kia Sportage PHEV Economy and Emissions

The Kia Sportage PHEV has an official combined WLTP electric driving range of 43 miles. This helps to give an official fuel economy figure of 252 mpg, along with CO2 emissions of just 25 g/km. This results in the Sportage PHEV’s Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability for 2022/23 being just 8%.

In the real-world we were getting 35 miles on electric power, and an average of 55 mpg during a week mainly comprised of long-distance driving. The range on the petrol engine was around 330 miles.

The Sportage PHEV also has a 7.2kW on-board charger so it can charge more quickly than most other PHEV models (1 hour 45 minutes for a 10 – 100% charge).

Kia Sportage PHEVKia Sportage PHEV

Price and Model Range

The Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi ‘GT-Line S’ PHEV AWD costs £44,550. There are four model grades: ‘GT-Line’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘GT-Line S’. Apart from the Plug-in Hybrid, the Sportage is also available with petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid and hybrid powertrains.

Kia Sportage PHEVKia Sportage PHEV

Conclusion

The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid has certainly progressed compared to previous models. The new Sportage has more dynamic styling, the interior which is similar to the EV6 is well designed and it works really well, and the overall driving experience is very good. Because it’s an SUV, it’s also spacious, ie. family-friendly, and it has all-wheel drive. The electric range of 43 miles is useful, but we would like to see a ‘Normal’ drive mode in addition to Eco and Sport, and also a battery save function. Other than that the Sportage has become even more of a high quality all-rounder than the last generation. The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid gains a Green Car Guide rating of 8/10.

Car facts and figures Kia Sportage PHEV AWD Review

  • Test economy: 55 mpg
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 25 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):  TBC
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2022/23): 8%
  • Price:  £44,550
  • Insurance group:  TBC
  • Power:  261 bhp
  • Torque:  350 Nm
  • Max speed:  119 mph
  • 0-62 mph:  7.9 seconds
  • Weight:  1,905 kg
  • Towing capacity: 1,350 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor