Driving report Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid PHEV

The new Kia Sportage is now also available as a plug-in hybrid. We will clarify how it works on the first trip with the 265hp SUV.

Best for last or is the new Sportage PHEV too late? It’s all a matter of perspective. On the one hand, after the combustion engine versions presented last December, the new plug-in hybrid is a clear late flowering and perhaps too late, key word for the end of the financing. Quite interesting is the combination of the powerful electric drive with the T-GDI petrol engine already known from the other models, because with a system power of 265 hp, the PHEV Sportage speaks properly, at least on paper.

The electric motor contributes 66.9 kW to the propulsion, which is powered by a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. Under ideal conditions, this should be sufficient for a purely electric range of 70 kilometers and even 78 kilometers in purely urban operation. This means that most of all travel can be done in E-mode in everyday life, at least in theory, but more on that later.

Those who are experts will also have to look for the differences compared to the petrol versions for a long time, in fact only the nameplate at the rear and the arrangement of the radar sensor at the front are different, otherwise the Sportage plug-in is visually completely identical to the models with combustion engines pure. The charging flap for the power connection is located on the rear right, which is not ideal for some wall boxes and charging stations, a front charging port often makes things easier. The Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid recharges in a single step, so it can only power up with up to 7.2 kWh of electricity at specially adapted 22 kW charging points. On the 11 kW home wall box, which is usually “limited” to a 3.6 kWh charging capacity in single-phase operation, a full charge therefore takes longer.

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

Lots of space inside

As on the outside, there are also no differences in the interior, except, of course, the PHEV-specific control button in the center console and the display options for hybrid technology. Only the legroom in the rear seat should be reduced by 40 millimeters due to the different driving technology. “Should” because it is practically not noticeable, the seat space in the rear is also very generous for adults for this vehicle class, only the slight squatting position with heavily bent knees due to the rather low bench could be mentioned here as a shortage.

Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid PHEV Driving Report


Fully digital instruments in combination with the large panoramic display are chargeable, only available from the Spirit package.

While the 1.6-liter petrol engine in the other Sportage variants comes with a manual or automated gearbox, the plug-in hybrid features a six-speed automatic gearbox. Compared to the DCT dual-clutch transmission, gear changes are smoother and more harmonious in everyday use. Only in the event of a sharp demand for power and subsequent acceleration – the best example being a quick overtaking on a country road – does the automatic briefly lose its concept and only return from kickdown gear to a higher one afterwards. Overall propulsion is fast enough when needed, but not overly turbulent, at least it doesn’t necessarily feel like 265hp. Here we are already waiting for the next values ​​measured in the detailed test, according to the data sheet, the Sportage PHEV runs at a maximum of 191 km / h and accelerates from standstill to 100 km / h in 8.2 seconds.

Purely electric driving only in exceptional cases

As for pure electric driving, there is some light and, unfortunately, a nice shade with the Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid. First of all the praise: in solo mode, the electric motor has more than enough power to move the car quickly in the city and on country roads. And that in fairly significant speed ranges, up to 140 km / h are purely electric. And, it’s not a matter of course with PHEV, with 1.35 tons, the Sportage plug-in hybrid can also haul significant trailers through the landscape.

Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid PHEV Driving Report


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

The somewhat curious problem with the Kia construction, which is probably the same as the other variants for reasons of economic strategy for the common parts: purely electric driving is only possible if the heating / air conditioning is constantly deactivated. If it is too hot or too cold for the occupants of the car, the petrol engine starts. The reason for this behavior: the air conditioning and heating do not work electrically, as in plug-in hybrids from other manufacturers, but are forcibly coupled to the combustion engine, as in models with conventional fuel. Although the four-cylinder runs on the rear burner when heating and cooling is required, decoupled from the constant speed drive, it just works. With the Sportage PHEV you have to say goodbye to the idea of ​​being able to drive primarily on electricity without consuming gasoline (and related emissions) in most everyday situations. In addition, due to the lack of electrically operated air conditioning, the parking climate function is obviously not available to preheat the car hanging from the charging cable in winter, as is usual with other PHEVs, and to cool it in summer. without motor running.

Kia Sportage PHEV – the price

At 44,390 euros for the well-equipped base model (Spirit supplement 3,700 euros; GT-Line 5,900 euros), the Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid is currently the most expensive model in the series. If the vehicle is delivered and registered this year, for which the chances are not too bad if the order is placed quickly, a grant bonus of exactly 7,177.50 EUR can be deducted from this. This puts it on par with all-wheel drive versions with 136hp diesel or 180hp petrol and DCT, which is an interesting proposition. If the delivery extends beyond the end of the year and thus the announced abolition of the state PHEV premium, Kia wants to be at least responsible for the manufacturer’s subsidy share (€ 2,677.50 including tax).


Yes, the purely electric driving option helps the environment.

No, nobody controls the use of the plug-in option.

Read more


The new Kia Sportage is generally a well-made SUV in the lower-middle class, and that goes for the plug-in hybrid as well. Like its combustion engine brothers, the PHEV drives comfortably with a slightly sporty touch in chassis tuning, offers plenty of space and practical benefits. However, the fact that purely electric operation is rarely possible in practice reduces the fun. As a result, the new plug-in Sportage can be driven largely with electricity over a considerable distance of up to 70 kilometers, but only in exceptional cases without emissions.

Technical specifications

Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDI Plug-in Hybrid
base price € 44,390
external dimensions 4515 x 1865 x 1650 mm
trunk volume from 540 to 1715 l
displacement / engine 1598 cm³ / 4 cylinders
performance 136 kW / 185 hp and 4000 rpm
full speed 191 km / h
consumption 0.0 kWh / 100 km

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