Engine and gearbox
There's just one petrol engine offered, a direct injection 1.6-litre unit with 133bhp mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. It’s a smooth enough unit, but it’s the pair of diesels in 1.7- and 2.0-litre capacities that make up the bulk of Sportage sales in the UK. That larger turbodiesel is offered in either 134- or 181bhp outputs, but only in KX four-wheel drive specification. You need that 2.0-litre CRDi engine too if you’re after an automatic transmission. It's Kia’s own (jointly developed with parent firm Hyundai) six-speed unit, while all other versions have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. Unlike some rivals, which offer twin-clutch set-ups and more ratios, the Sportage’s automatic is a conventional one, which the firm says has many efficiency benefits over rivals' offerings. Certainly it’s a smooth and quick shifting transmission, though Kia’s efficiency claims aren’t really borne out in the official consumption figures.
The six-speed manual is unremarkable, its shift sometimes a bit notchy, but the decently weighted clutch helps. None of the engines or what they’re driven through are remarkable then, with several falling behind the class benchmarks in economy and emissions, and driveability. Four-wheel drive only adds to the consumption figures, so think long and hard about whether you’ll ever really need the extra traction it brings.