Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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We tested the plug-in hybrid Kia Sportage

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After testing its HEV hybrid version , we have gotten behind the wheel of the plug-in hybrid Kia Sportage , which debuts in our market in its fifth generation, designed and developed in Europe.

It is the only one in the range of the new Kia Sportage with a ZERO label and, in turn, it is the most powerful of the family, with 265 CV, and is also only four- wheel drive.

We analyze this variant of the compact SUV on a large scale and these are our conclusions after tasting this PHEV version in a first contact test, which is added to others from Kia such as the Niro PHEV or the Ceed and XCeed , among others.

Spotting the differences: the Kia Sportage versus its siblings

Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid

Regarding its gasoline and diesel brothers, as well as the mild-hybrid or the hybrid, the Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid is the same car although with some differences.

But at first glance, the only thing that distinguishes it before our eyes is the ZERO label, which it carries on the front windshield, or the emblems that detail it as PHEV. And what is the dimensions with the rest: 4.51 m long, 1.86 m wide and 1.65 m high.

The only plug-in Kia Sportage. The mechanical difference is the most obvious, as it is made up of the 1.6 T-GDI, common to all petrol variants and in its 180 hp option, and a 66.9 kW (91 hp) electric motor. Adding forces to both, they offer up to 265 hp and 350 Nm . It is the same one found in the Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid.

COMBUSTION ENGINE 1.6 liter turbo direct injection petrol
POWER/TORQUE 180 CV / 265 Nm @ 1.500 – 4.500 rpm
ELECTRIC MOTOR Permanent magnet
POWER/TORQUE 66.9 kW (91 CV) / 304 Nm
DRUMS 13,8 kWh
MAXIMUM SPEED / ACCELERATION 0-100 191 km/h / 8.2 seconds
CO₂ EMISSIONS 25 gr/km


The battery from which the electric motor takes its energy has a capacity of 13.8 kWh . And its electric autonomy approved in mixed cycle is 70 km, and can be up to 78 km in the city. The Kia Sportage PHEV’s on-board charger charges at a power of 7.2 kW.

In addition to the electric motor, to shorten fuel consumption, it is accompanied by other technologies. Like the HSG starter-alternator, which we find in the Sportage mild-hybrid, or the control unit for the hybrid power.

Almost the same space in the rear seats as the thermal ones. The space for the occupants in the Kia Sportage PHEV is practically the same as in its combustion brothers, also signing a battle of 2.68 m.

KIA SPORTAGE PHEV 2.680 mm 998 mm 955 mm
REST OF KIA SPORTAGE 2.680 mm 998 mm 996 mm


However, legroom for rear-seat occupants is somewhat less: back-to-back firm 955mm instead of 996mm (4.1cm less). The difference is not very big, which is due to the fact that the battery is placed between the two axles.

Be that as it may, after sitting in this second row, we found that it offers quite ample space for the legs, as well as for the head, which is remarkable. On paper and from the seat cushion, it promises 998mm like the rest of the new Sportages.

It is not the Sportage with less trunk. Despite the inclusion of the electrical system, the plug-in hybrid Kia Sportage has a 540-litre boot , with more capacity than the mild-hybrid diesel (526 litres), which is the smallest in the entire range.

In short, it does not enjoy a flat bottom to reach the 587 liters of the hybrid, which curiously is the one that offers the most capacity. Despite this, it is more than enough capacity, and it seemed to us that it has a wide space between the mouth of the trunk and the seats.

In addition, it does not have a tray but an extensible curtain that can be removed when the rear seats are folded down. In doing so, capacity is set at 1,715 liters to the roof.

two huge screens

Sitting behind the wheel of this Kia Sportage PHEV , the first thing we appreciate is a very comfortable driving position for the back, which is quite high and offers optimal visibility. It promises to be a good companion on long distances.

Although before, the view inevitably goes to the large curved digital panel that combines the digital instrumentation and the multimedia screen, the latter being 12.3 inches.

This panoramic panel is standard on any of the Sportage PHEVs, although only from the second Tech finish the instrumentation is 12.3 inches: the so-called Supervision (in the photo) and that equipped the finish that we have tested.

In addition, another third screen is added under this panel, with haptic shortcuts , from which the air conditioning is managed but also functions of the multimedia system or the browser.

The truth is that it is very comfortable, because if we press on the air conditioning, it displays multiple options such as temperature, air direction, power, etc., but, if not, the accesses to change the song, directly access the browser, the car settings are maintained. or the radio.

In short, it prevents us from getting lost in menus while browsing the screen, which is always appreciated because it is not only more comfortable: it also helps us take our eyes off the road as little as possible.

All this is combined with materials that are pleasant to the touch and rubbery surfaces. To put a but, perhaps the black piano molding that covers the entire central tunnel and that will tend to be dirty, as usual in this fashionable material.

Driving the Kia Sportage PHEV

We have driven this Kia Sportage PHEV briefly in the city and on the highway, although the route has been essentially on a conventional road and through several crossings.

One of the technologies to highlight in this plug-in hybrid Sportage is the electronically controlled suspension (ECS) , which in its case is always included as standard. This system helps to compensate for inertia and minimize it, but it also helps to reduce the rebound effect when going over potholes or bumps.

And the truth is that the road was quite bumpy at various points and this system neutralized it very well, effectively absorbing these irregularities. Without being rigid or excessively soft, it is very balanced.

The Sportage PHEV, like the rest of the range that mounts an automatic transmission, lacks a gear lever . Instead, it has a roulette to select the three positions R, D and N, as well as P for parking that is operated with the central button and automatically activates the parking brake.

Maneuvering with this selector is comfortable, but not so much if we want to circulate and want to change the driving mode. This control is somewhat uncomfortable to operate because of where it is located, somewhat behind in the central tunnel. At least that’s the case, if you measure less than 1.70 and you have to move the seat closer to the pedals, as was the case.

The transmission of the Kia Sportage is always automatic with six speeds and transmits all the force to the two axes. There are three general driving modes: Electric, Hybrid or Automatic. Added to these are the functional Drive, the Eco, the Sport and the new Terrain.

During the journey, we went in electric mode in the city, while in the short stretch of motorway and on the road we opted for the hybrid, which gives more free rein to the thermal engine. In more demanding situations, for overtaking or acceleration, the automatic mode takes a while to respond.

Thus, and despite the fact that in the crossings we were activating the electric mode, the consumption that it showed was 4.7 l/100 km . Essentially because we opted for Drive or Sport mode, in addition to the general Hybrid mode. It is understood that those announced 1.1 l / 100 km can be achieved by giving priority to electric mode and in the city.

Given the route, it did not make much sense to select the Terrain mode , suitable for more slippery surfaces (if it rains or even snows, for example), but especially for off-road, as it is specially designed for mud or sand. This mode has been released in this fifth generation of the SUV.

Beyond playing with the driving and consumption modes, as well as the ESC suspension, we liked the Kia Sportage a lot. It responds very well to acceleration and braking and is quite stable in curves. In addition, the 265 hp feel great.

On the other hand, the cabin is very well soundproofed, in such a way that the thermal engine is little heard on fast roads. And the direction despite being soft is quite precise and direct.

Very equipped from its most basic finish, but the most expensive Sportage

The plug-in hybrid mechanics raises the price of the Kia Sportage compared to its brothers, as usual. But also the fact that its access finish is the Drive, which is the second available in the rest of the versions of the range.

And that translates into a more complete equipment from the most affordable option. In this finish, the Sportage PHEV includes the curved digital panel with a 12.3-inch multimedia screen, but the instrumentation is smaller.

The infotainment system incorporates the Kia Connect Navigator as standard , which stands out for its complete instructions, showing turns, changes of direction or exits in advance through a drop-down menu.

And of course it has a connection for Apple Carplay and Android Auto as well as USB sockets for all seat rows.

We also find benefits such as the new tri- zone climate control , electrochromic interior rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera or a good set of assistance technologies.

And it is that already from this finish Drive includes intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop & go function (which starts for and starts automatically in a jam), as well as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detector, active lane maintenance system and warning active by exiting it, frontal collision prevention assistant at intersections or fatigue detector.

For its part, if we go to the Tech finish, we find even more premium elements: the Supervision panel with the two 12.3-inch screens, electrically adjustable front seats that are also heated , lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat, boot and access keyless, darkened rear windows, configurable ambient lighting (which is new) or wireless charging for mobile devices.

And in the assistance systems the adaptive LED headlights for high beams (long / short) are added.

Few options remain in the case of the top of the range, the GT-Line, which adds a panoramic sunroof, the front seats that are also ventilated and have electric lumbar adjustment, the Harman Kardon premium audio system or the hands-free opening for the tailgate.

And at a technological level, it has a remote parking system using the key (it only enters and leaves the parking space), the active warning with braking function due to rear cross traffic (in circulation or leaving the parking lot) or the blind spot detector.

In short, Kia seeks to accompany the most expensive mechanics with extensive technological and comfort equipment, typical of premium brand models. Hence its price.

From 44,305 euros and with the enemy at home

The Kia Sportage PHEV starts at 44,305 euros in the aforementioned Drive finish and can reach up to 53,005 euros in the GT-Line. Thus, the most rational option would be found in the intermediate Tech, which already has advanced series benefits (47,205 euros).

However, Kia applies a launch discount of 1,800 euros, to which another 2,990 euros (Drive) or 2,200 euros (Tech and GT-Line) are added if you choose to finance with the brand. All before taxes, so the figure is higher.

In addition, as a good plug-in, it can benefit from the aid of the MOVES III Plan in any of its finishes, since the price limit to benefit from these incentives is 45,000 euros before VAT (54,450 euros). The bonuses are 2,500 euros (without scrapping) or 5,000 euros (if it is scrapped).

Adding all the discounts (although financing always has fine print) and the MOVES plan, we can get the services of a Kia Sportage PHEV for 33,750 euros. Which represents a total discount of 10,796 euros including the maximum 5,000 euros of Moves III.

Not taking into account the discounts, only 800 euros separate the Sportage PHEV from its first cousin, the Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid that starts at 43,500 euros. Although with discounts and financing, it stays at 35,960 euros without including MOVES, so it is essentially cheaper.

The Tucson is now the best-selling car in Spain so far in 2022 and was second in 2021, being one of the best-selling references currently: it has 11,907 units sold between January and June.

For its part, the Kia Sportage at the moment is not even among the ten best sellers, signing the 7,124 units sold at the moment. In short, the Sportage has the enemy at home: we will see if with his family already complete he is reducing distances or not.

Be that as it may, right now the Sportage is Kia’s best-selling car : with those more than 7,000 units, the gap is notable with the second in sales, which is the firm’s most affordable model: the Kia Stonic (5,536 units). And even more so if we compare it with the Kia XCeed, which is the third in contention: 4,438 units.

KIA SPORTAGE 1.6 T-GDI PHEV DRIVE 44.305 euros 33.750 euros
KIA SPORTAGE 1.6 T-GDI PHEV TECH 47.205 euros 37.365 euros
KIA SPORTAGE 1.6 T-GDI PHEV GT-LINE 53.005 euros 43.165 euros.


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