The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is today’s motorists’ model of choice, with drivers lapping up the mix of practicality, space and driveability.

I spent a week in a favourite among the front-runners in the SUV stakes, the Kia Sportage, a four-wheel-drive, petrol/electric hybrid 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line.

Style file
The five-door car ticks the box marked ‘kerb appeal’ with its appealing, dynamic lines. The design is sleek, yet muscular, giving the Sportage a real presence, with the front featuring distinctive futuristic-styled boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights.

There is a choice of four attractive alloy wheel designs across 17-, 18- and 19in diameters, my car sporting the 19in variety.

Inside story
Slip behind the steering wheel and you will find a premium cabin with high-quality, tactile materials, its dashboard featuring twin 12.3-inch touchscreens with curved panoramic display.

Finely detailed metal-look air vents and a signature strip that runs across the dashboard and onto the door panels give the Sportage a modern, high-tech appearance, while the comfortable, supportive seats are upholstered in suede leather and the D-shaped leather-trimmed steering wheel with perforated inserts and GT-Line logo delivers a sporty touch.

There is also rear privacy glass.

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Well thought-out ergonomics contribute to ease-of-use, the interior being designed to ensure all vehicle controls can be accessed quickly and easily. An electronic parking brake, standard on all models, is located by the steering wheel, freeing up space on the centre console.

On the practicality front, the 40:20:40-split rear seats fold down easily and simply by pulling a lever and the luggage space is a generous 591 litres, increasing to 1,780 litres with the rear seats folded down. You will also find 12-volt power sockets in the front-centre fascia and luggage compartment, a centre console storage box, cupholders in the rear armrest and a second-row personal lamp.

Asian Image: The Sportage, Kia’s best-selling car in the UK, Europe and globally. 

The South Korean manufacturer is always generous with lovely, usable features and here they included front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera system, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with LED indicators, rain-sensing aero blade wiper, multi zone climate control, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, driver's lumbar support, driver's manual seat height adjuster, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel adjustment, six-speaker audio system, satnav, rear USB charging ports, USB-C charging ports on the side of front seats, and Kia’s latest connectivity technology. The car also has the reassurance of a seven-year warranty.

The many high-tech safety features include anti-lock braking system (ABS), downhill brake control (DBC), electronic stability control (ESC), forward collision-avoidance assist (FCA), hill-start assist control (HAC), intelligent speed limit assist (ISLA), lane following assist (LFA) and lane keep assist (LKA).

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On the road
The Sportage scores highly for driver satisfaction, the combination of petrol engine and electric motor proving a smooth double act, with power laid down via a six-speed automatic transmission. The model’s four-wheel-drive and terrain mode function (mud, snow, sand) provided an extra level of confidence.

It was a treat to get behind the wheel, the car responding well in all driving conditions, with well-balanced ride and handling and assured stopping power. Performance/consumption/emissions figures are 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds with a top speed of120mph, combined petrol consumption of 49.6mpg, and CO2  of 129(g/km).
Tech time

There is a choice of petrol, mild hybrid, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions of the Sportage. In the self-charging hybrid (HEV) model I drove, the compact turbo-charged 1.6-litre petrol engine is part of an advanced powertrain package that also features a 44.2kW electric motor and a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. This powertrain combination delivers a total system power output of 226bhp.

Eye-catching looks, a wealth of top features and the pleasure of a seamlessly-smooth hybrid power system made for a great week in the accomplished Sportage, Kia’s best-selling car in the UK, Europe and globally. 

Price: £35,445 (on the road).