Driving Report Kia Sportage Hybrid Plug-in Hybrid

The new Kia Sportage is now also available as a plug-in hybrid vehicle. We’ll show how it works on a first drive with a 265 hp SUV.

Best for last, or is the new Sportage PHEV too late? It’s all a matter of perspective. On the other hand, after the combustion engine versions introduced last December, the new plug-in hybrid is an obvious late and perhaps too late bug, the end of the finance keyword. On the other hand, the combination of a powerful electric motor and a T-GDI petrol engine already known from other models is very attractive, because with a system capacity of 265 horsepower, the PHEV Sportage speaks correctly, at least on paper.

The propulsion is contributed by a 66.9 kW electric motor, which is powered by a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. Under ideal conditions, this should be enough for a purely electric range of 70 kilometers, and even for 78 kilometers in operation completely within the city. This means that the majority of trips can be made in E mode in everyday life, at least in theory – but more on that later.

Informed people will also have to look for differences in the afterburner versions for a long time. In fact, only the type plate on the rear and the position of the radar sensor in the front differ, otherwise the Sportage plug-in is visually completely identical to models with pure combustion engines. The charging flap for power delivery is on the right rear side, which isn’t ideal for some wall boxes and charging stations, and the front charging port often makes things easier. The Kia Sportage Hybrid is charged in one stage, so it can only run with a maximum of 7.2 kWh of electricity at special 22 kWh charging points. In a domestic 11 kW wall box, which is usually “capped” with a charging capacity of 3.6 kWh in a single-phase process, a full charge takes correspondingly longer.

However, there are actual differences in the standard equipment, here Kia is more generous with the PHEV. For example, 19-inch wheels and a heating function for the seats and steering wheel, but also a large navigation system are standard on the PHEV, while these features cost extra for the combustion engine variants. And: The Plug-in Hybrid Sportage is always on the road with all-wheel drive, which is a real advantage over the Volkswagen Group’s PHEV SUV, for example.

Plenty of space inside

As on the outside, there are no differences to be found inside either, except, of course, for the PHEV-specific control button in the center console and the display options for the hybrid technology. The legroom in the rear seat should only be reduced by 40 mm due to the different driving technology. A ‘must’ since it is practically unnoticeable, the seat space in the back is also quite large for adults in this car class, only a light squatting with knees heavily bent due to the seat’s very low seat can be considered a disadvantage here.


All-digital instruments along with the large panoramic display cost extra, they are only available from the Spirit package.

While the 1.6-liter petrol engine on other Sportage models comes with a manual or automatic transmission, the electric-equipped hybrid gets a six-speed automatic transmission. Compared to a DCT dual-clutch transmission, gear changes are smoother and more consistent in everyday use. Only in the event of a sudden power demand and subsequent acceleration—the best example being the overtaking maneuver on a country road—does the automatic lose its concept for a short time and only shift from the acceleration gear to the highest one at a later time. The all-wheel drive is very quick when needed, but not overly turbulent, at least it doesn’t necessarily look like it’s 265 hp. Here we are already looking at the values ​​measured later in the detailed test, according to the data sheet, the Sportage PHEV runs at a maximum of 191 km / h and accelerates from a standstill to 100 km / h in 8.2 seconds.

Pure electric driving only in exceptional cases

As far as purely electric driving goes, there’s some light and, unfortunately, perfectly kept still with the Kia Sportage’s plug-in hybrid. Praise first: In single mode, the electric motor has more than enough power to get the car moving quickly in the city and on country roads. And that’s in very large speed ranges, up to 140 km/h purely electric. And not of course with the PHEV, with its 1.35-ton Sportage Hybrid can also tow important trailers across landscapes.

Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid PHEV Driving Report


The gasoline engine should also take care of the heating and air conditioning.

The somewhat curious problem with the Kia build, which is probably the same with the other variants for reasons of the cost-effective common-parts strategy: purely electric driving is only possible if the heating/air conditioning is constantly disabled. If it is too hot or too cold for the occupants of the car, the gasoline engine starts. The reason for this behavior: air conditioning and heating are not turned on electrically, as in plug-in hybrid engines from other manufacturers, but are forcibly paired with the combustion engine, as in conventional powered models. Although the four cylinders run on the back burner when heating and cooling is needed, separated from the drive at a constant speed, they just work. With the Sportage PHEV, you have to say goodbye to the idea of ​​being able to drive primarily electric without consuming gasoline (and corresponding emissions) in most everyday situations. In addition, due to the lack of electric air conditioners, there is of course no parking climatic function available to heat the vehicle attached to the charging cable in the winter, as is usual in other PHEVs, and cool it in the summer without a motor . Management.

Kia Sportage PHEV – Price

At €44,390 for the well-equipped base model (Spirit surcharge €3,700; GT Line €5,900), the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is currently the most expensive model in the series in the price list. If the car is delivered and registered this year, where the chances are not so bad if the order is submitted quickly, a support bonus of exactly 7,177.50 euros can be deducted from this. This puts it on a par with the four-wheel drive versions with a 136-hp diesel or 180-horsepower petrol and DCT, which is an interesting proposition. If delivery extends beyond the end of the year and thus the announced cancellation of the government’s PHEV premium, Kia wants to be at least responsible for the manufacturer’s share of the subsidy (€2677.50 including tax).

opinion poll

Yes, the purely electric drive option helps the environment.

No, nobody is monitoring the use of the plugin option.

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The new Kia Sportage is generally considered a well-made SUV in the lower middle class, and this also applies to the plug-in hybrid. Like its combustion-engine siblings, the PHEV comfortably runs with a slightly sportier touch in chassis tuning, offering plenty of space and practicality. However, the fact that purely electric operation is rarely feasible in practice reduces the enjoyment. As a result, the new Sportage can be largely driven electric for a considerable distance of up to 70 kilometers, but only in exceptional cases without emissions.

Technical information

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDI Plug-in Hybrid
Base price €44,390
external dimensions 4515x1865x1650 mm
trunk size 540 to 1715 liters
Displacement / Engine 1598 cc / 4 cylinder
perfomance 136 kW / 185 hp at 4000 rpm
maximum speed 191 km/h
consumption 0.0 kWh / 100 km

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