Kia has facelifted the Sportage, and it has done a decent job. You have to look carefully to spot the styling changes, but the more important work has been done under the skin. Revised suspension settings give a more comfortable ride, both when towing and in everyday driving, and a thicker windscreen reduces wind noise. The dashboard is better finished than before, and the list of standard equipment has grown.
Our range-topping test car has the 181bhp version of Kia’s 2.0-litre diesel, so there’s plenty of go. Towing from 30-60mph took 13.7 seconds.
At motorway speeds the Kia proved stable, only caught out by a gusty crosswind. In the lane-change test, however, it struggled for grip on a dry track and was pushed around by the caravan.
The hill start was more to the Kia’s liking. The handbrake held as long as it was pulled on firmly, and the combination of a strong engine, four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox made short work of the 1-in-6 slope.
The Sportage picks up mixed scores for practicality. We’re pleased the car comes with a Trailer Stability Programme, a reversing camera and a full-sized spare wheel. However, we couldn’t find room for two items from our typical holiday luggage load.
Choose the top KX-4 spec and the Sportage nudges close to a £30k price tag, but the long list of toys and seven-year warranty go some way to justifying the price.