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Comf-icient – 2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review

Kia has released an addition to their popular Sportage SUV range, well two actually. It’s the ‘HEV’ (Light and Earth) and not only does it offer extreme comfort and increased safety, but it also seems to have a broken fuel gauge.

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

Initially released around three decades ago, the Kia Sportage is now in its 5th generation, and with a new platform, Euro-focused engineering, fully-revised design and a clever, curved digital screen in the cabin, it’s easily the best yet. We have already tested out the LX Urban and the X-Line Diesel, so it’s only right that we got behind the wheel of their new Hybrid model.

With two variants to go for, we headed straight to the top of the current tree, the Earth and it’s full to the brim with Kia-ness, however, it was nice to know that had I found myself drawn to the ‘Light’, it would have been powered the same.

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

Both Sportage Smartstream Hybrid HEV’s come with a 1.6L Turbo GDI mated to a 1.49kWh battery, a 44kW264Nm Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor and a 6-Speed Auto box controlled by an E-Shift Dial (shift by wire). Combined they deliver 169kW of power and 360Nm to the front wheels and in turn sips fuel at a rate of 5.4L/100km while generating CO2 Emissions of 122g/km. What this means is that from its fully laden 52L tank, the digital instrument cluster proclaims that you have 752km to play with – I assume I have your attention.

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

The exterior is essentially the same as the other Sportage’ I’ve driven, with ‘boomerang’ DRL’s and Matrix LED lights that bookend the latest interpretation of Kia’s ‘Tiger nose’ grille and a KIA logo sitting proudly on the bonnet. 

The profile comes with a very noticeable line across its centre and a chrome shoulderline that kicks up onto a chrome rear quarter panel, however, to optimise efficiency, the HEV runs on 18- alloy wheels. The muscular rear comes with a semi-fastback design that flows into the rear ‘razor-look’ lamps, Kia and HEV badging and a height-adjustable tailgate that opens to a sizable amount of luggage space (even with all seats up).

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

Step inside and you’re greeted with a massive digital LCD touch screen that incorporates both Infotainment and Instrumentation. It’s elegantly curved too making it even more of a feature. There are plenty of apps and drill down menus, but I never found myself lost, and for those that like to know about energy flow, the clever HEV will happily let you know what’s going on behind the scenes. 

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

The seats are composite leather while the 4-spoke steering wheel is real leather with Paddle shifters behind, all are heated with the wheel feels good and the seats being both comfy and supportive. 

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

Being a Kia, it comes loaded with ADAS, from Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) – Car, Pedestrian, Cyclist, Junction Assist, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Multi-Collision Brake (MCB) and Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA), to Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) – Line / Road Edge and Lane Follow Assist (LFA). Unfortunately (for me), it also has the latest in driver attention systems so, get ready for plenty of beeps should you decide to keep everything on. Or maybe that’s me.

My time with the Sportage HEV was spent in and around the city, so plenty of stop/go action and bumper to bumper traffic, so basically an ICE vehicle’s nightmare. But fear not my friends, the Smartstream Hybrid did its job, bloody well. Of course I tested its acceleration at every ‘on ramp’ opportunity and had the whole family in-tow whenever they deemed fit, but the clever Sportage went electric whenever possible and reluctantly sipped fuel when it couldn’t. Like I said in the intro, I first thought the gauge was broken.

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

All in all, I travelled 325.7km during the week and yet I still had 425km to go when I dropped it back, with the system saying that my Sportage HEV had been consuming fuel at a rate of 5.9L/100km – not quite the 5.4L but near as dammit is to swearing, and had I chosen to leave the family behind, not raced where I did and switched off the AC, I feel I would have been closer to 5L.

2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid Earth HEV Review NZ

The Sportage HEV is a real winner, great in the comfort and convenience departments and as frugal as they come with fuel. 750km+ on a tank is way past EV, in fact, venturing towards diesel territory, but with 122g of CO2, it leaves that in its wake too. With a huge range of options, you could say there’s a Sportage for everyone, but the HEV would have to be high in anyone’s consideration list.

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