Read Caroline’s Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Kia’s new hybrid SUV in Ireland.

The Kia Sportage is one of Ireland’s bestselling cars and has been for many years. Now in its fifth generation, it is a stylish option of family SUV, and has recently won the title of Irish Medium Crossover/SUV of the Year at the Irish Car of the Year awards in association with Continental Tyres.

Now it’s available for the first time as a plug-in hybrid, along with hybrid and diesel versions too. While the range kicks off from about €37,500 for a Sportage diesel, the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid (‘PHEV’) is available from €47,000. Hybrids are becoming more and more popular in Ireland, and the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid offers buyers the ability to charge the onboard 13.8kWh battery and drive electric for a range of up to about 70 kilometres.

At Changing Lanes, I’ve already tested the new Kia Sportage diesel, so now it’s time to find out if the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is a better option?

The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now
The Kia Sportage is available as a plug-in hybrid for the very first time


The new Sportage looks very stylish and modern and is one of the best looking SUVs you can buy. Styling has been updated for this generation Sportage in line with other Kias like the new Niro. Whether you go for a diesel or hybrid version, all versions of the Sportage look similar, with plug-in hybrid models featuring an extra filler cap for electricity.

In Ireland, the plug-in hybrid is available in two well-equipped trim lines: K3 and K4. All plug-in hybrid Sportages come as standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, LED headlights and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights for a charismatic road presence. Sportage K4 completes the rugged SUV look with a matt chrome coated front bumper and door garnish, high gloss black diamond mesh radiator grille and a silver painted skid plate at the back.


Inside, this latest Sportage has had a radical makeover from the previous version of the car and gets a latest generation Kia interior. Quality has improved with a fine mix of glossy black surfaces and good quality plastics giving the Sportage an upmarket feel. The cabin has some very impressive digital technology on board including a full digital driver display and a 12.3-inch touchscreen display as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Sportage is now one of the most stylish and contemporary cabins you’ll find in the mid-size SUV class.

The interior of the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid - stylish and modern
The interior of the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid – stylish and modern

The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid gets cloth/synthetic leather effect seats as standard. The front seats are also heated and electrically adjustable, while the driver’s seat also gets lumbar support. A heated steering wheel also comes as standard. K4 versions add full leather upholstery and heated rear seats.

There are lots of standard safety features like lane keep assist, lane follow assist, forward collision avoidance assist, cruise control, reversing camera, and high beam assist.


The Sportage is generously sized inside for a compact SUV. The new platform means that there is more headroom and legroom compared to the previous Sportage. The plug-in hybrid has been designed with the battery placed centrally between the two axles so there is no impact to cabin space compared to fuel versions.

The back of the car feels spacious for an SUV of this size. The rear seats split fold 40:20:40 and the outer rear seats have Isofix child seat fixtures. There are also two USB charge points for rear seat passengers.

The boot has quite a low sill for an SUV so that makes it easier to load things in and out. The plug-in hybrid has been cleverly designed to offer 540 litres of boot space, which is only about 30 litres less than the Sportage diesel. The boot’s square shape and wide opening make it practical for family life too.

For buyers seeking more space and seven seats, the larger Kia Sorento might be an option.

The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available from €47,000
The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available from €47,000


The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, a 66.9kW electric motor and a 13.8kWh battery pack. On a full battery, up to 70 kilometres (WLTP) of electric driving is possible, which is not too far off the Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid (75 kilometres) and more than the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid (56 kilometres). In low speed city driving it’s possible to drive up to 78 kilometres (WLTP) in EV mode.


The quickest way to charge the battery of the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is using a 7kW wallbox, which can be installed at home. Using this, it will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to charge the battery to full. It will take about 5 hours and 45 minutes using a 3-pin socket.

On the road

This Kia Sportage is built on a new platform and has been specially designed for Europe with a new generation Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) to improve comfort and safety. The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is one of the most refined vehicles of this type, offering a seamless hybrid and electric drive. The SUV moves smoothly over the road at all times, with a robust delivery of power. It’s very quiet on the move and in town, making the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid more pleasant to drive than the Sportage diesel for example. It’s the most powerful option of the range too, with 265hp and 350Nm of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via an automatic gearbox. A Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid feels a bit more fun to drive, but the Sportage offers a solid and mature drive for a plug-in hybrid SUV.

Rear seating in the new Sportage
Rear seating in the new Sportage

Motor tax for the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is just €140 per year. Plug-in hybrids like the Sportage are at their best when the battery is kept charged. In the Sportage’s case, that boosts the efficiency of the vehicle and allows EV only driving of up to about 70 kilometres. Fuel efficiency declines on an empty battery – in my experience to about 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres.


The new Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available from €47,000 for the K3 model and from €49,500 for the K4 model. Both come very well-equipped.


Many car brands are introducing plug-in hybrid technology to their line-up in the mid-size SUV segment so the new Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is a timely addition to the Kia range. It is the most expensive Sportage to buy now, carrying a premium over diesel and petrol hybrid models. Yet it offers the most power of the range and does give buyers the option of very low running costs indeed, provided that you are willing to use the battery and make the most of the Sportage’s electric driving range.

This plug-in hybrid Sportage also turns out to be a more pleasant drive than the Sportage diesel. The extra power and refinement on the move do make this car feel like a more attractive prospect. Throw in the Kia’s high-tech cabin, spacious interior, big boot, and long list of standard equipment, and the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid proves to be one of the best hybrid SUVs you can buy.

The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is one of the best of the range
The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is one of the best of the range


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year