The 2019 Kia Sportage
The 2019 Kia Sportage

Caroline drives the 2019 Kia Sportage!

The Kia Sportage took on a life of its own in Ireland with the launch of the third generation back in 2010. Accessibility and a stylish design ensured its presence on Irish roads in numbers.

The current generation of the Sportage was launched back in 2016, sporting (!) an even more sensuous design that always endeared the car to this reviewer. Coinciding with the Irish buyer’s increasing appetite for SUVs, the Sportage is Kia’s bestselling model here and also one of Ireland’s ten bestselling cars.

What’s new in the 2019 Kia Sportage?

For Sportage fans, there’s now a new facelifted model on sale as we enter 2019, with some mild styling tweaks and changes to equipment and engines. Pricing starts from €29,815.

The familiar tiger nose grille is still there and the rather avantgarde lighting around the rear. In profile, the 2019 Kia Sportage is all but the same. Yet in fact there is a redesigned front bumper, grille and fog lamp housing. The facelift also introduces new full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights on some models, and at the back there’s a new C-shaped LED light signature. The reversing lamp and reflectors are now integrated into the new rear bumper, which is finished with a flash of chrome across its base.

The interior of the 2019 Kia Sportage
The interior of the 2019 Kia Sportage

For all senses and purposes, the Kia Sportage is a very stylish SUV. There are also five new body colours, including the Blue Flame of the test car. The top of the range GT Line model also receives special cosmetic upgrades and 19″ alloys.

Inside the 2019 Kia Sportage

There is no change to dimensions and inside the Kia Sportage will seat five with decent accommodation all round. The Sportage is a very practical family vehicle with plenty of storage, rear seat space and a large square boot of 467 litres.

Inside the general layout of the cabin is retained but there’s a new steering wheel, revised driver instrument cluster, and the option of a new black-and-grey, two-tone upholstery. The ventilation and air conditioning controls have also been revised. Depending on trim level, the Kia Sportage comes equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system or a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Material quality is generally good and the interior is easy to navigate and interact with.

The Kia Sportage range is very simple in that there is just one engine available, a new 1.6-litre diesel with 115 hp in manual versions or 136 hp in the automatic. This engine replaces the old 1.7-litre diesel and Kia claims that it is the cleanest diesel engine that they have ever made. There are K2, K3, K4 and GT Line trim levels with prices rising from €29,815 to €36,385 for a top of the range GT Line. Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, roof rails, electric windows, 7″ touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, rear parking sensors, air con and cruise control.

The 2019 Kia Sportage has a new 1.6-litre diesel engine
The 2019 Kia Sportage has a new 1.6-litre diesel engine

My test car was in the K4 trim and retails from €33,404. Equipment highlights included dual zone air con, leather upholstery, 19″ alloys, wireless phone charger and a parking camera.

What’s the Kia Sportage like to drive?

Mechanically nothing has changed under the skin during this update. On the road the Kia Sportage delivers a comfortable ride and competent handling that makes it a pleasant daily driver. The new diesel engine has plenty of torque to move the Sportage efficiently though it’s still on the noisy side. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.1l/100km.

It’s very easy to see why the Kia Sportage is so popular with Irish buyers. Upgrades to this new model are small, but the new engine brings some improvements and in essence the Sportage is still a great SUV for its space, family friendly cabin and good road manners. In a crowded family SUV segment, the Sportage still manages to be stylish, practical and desirable.

The Kia Sportage is still a practical and desirable family SUV
The Kia Sportage is still a practical and desirable family SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sportage 1.6-litre CRDi K4
€33,404 (Range from €29,815)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
115 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
11.5 seconds
Top speed: 175 km/h
CO2 emissions:
126 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

Rear seating space in the Kia Sportage
Rear seating space in the Kia Sportage