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[NEWS] Kia Sportage PHEV 2022 UK review

Kia Sportage PHEV 2022 UK review

1 Kia Sportage PHEV 2022 UK review lead

Plug-in hybrid is last of no fewer than nine powertrains to be added to family SUV

It’s the initial touchpoint that grabs you. Back when Kia was a cheap Korean brand trying to make its way up in the world, the leather on the steering wheel was that fake-feeling plastic stuff, with the sort of grip factor that meant a healthy dose of climbing chalk was needed before you drove off. All that has changed now, and it’s the sort of instant grab-you quality to the leather on the wheel that marks the latest Kia Sportage out. This car is considerably less powdery.The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is the last variant to join the Sportage ranks, alongside petrol, diesel, mild- hybrid and hybrid versions. That’s a total of nine different powertrains. Talk about hedging your bets.With a 178bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine and a 90bhp electric motor, total output is 261bhp and 257lb ft of torque. Just think about the latter number for a minute: that’s just 11lb ft shy of the Ferrari F355. In a family SUV. Ye gods. Although, to be fair, it’s not out of the ordinary. The rival Peugeot 3008 Hybrid manages 266lb ft, for instance.It’s the size of the battery (nestled between the axles) that will steal the headlines. At 13.8kWh, it’s the same size as in the larger Kia Sorento. In a car like the Sportage, it means the electric-only range is 43 miles.Despite only an additional 0.6kWh capacity over the 3008, the Sportage does an additional four miles. That’s not much, but crucially, along with 25g/km of CO2 emissions, it drops the car into the 8% benefit-in- kind tax bracket, which is very handy for company car drivers and betters rivals such as the 3008 Hybrid. On a fairly warm, dry day, our test car was showing 35 miles from a full charge.Inside, twin 12.3in digital screens feature on the one-from-the-top 4 trim level, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. This is a smart cockpit of ultra- thin screens and modern styling, plus plenty of this season’s must- have piano-black plastic.There are physical knobs for the climate control or radio volume, but they both have to function as the other. So if you want to change the temperature but have the radio controls live, you need to press the secondary, lower touch-sensitive strip to flick it into climate mode. We found that a bit fiddly, but it could be something that you get used to.Rear leg room is impressive. The floor is a bit high (blame the batteries), but there’s easily enough for two six-footers to sit one behind the other. There are also USB-C ports in the front seats so the little darlings can remain charged up.

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