The interior is reasonably pleasant and apparently solidly constructed, although what attempts it makes to inject extra perceived quality (with chrome around the ventilation controls and air vents and a slightly shiny textured dashboard pad) aren’t too successful.
There is, however, a comfortable and easily accessed driving seat in it, as well as a simple and readable set of analogue instruments, plus a very easily navigated touchscreen infotainment system that includes all the functionality you’re likely to want from it.
What was once a very usefully large boot loses its underfloor storage space as a consequence of the presence of the car’s 48V mild-hybrid lithium ion battery, but it remains roomy enough. Back in the cabin, however, the panoramic roof robs the Sportage of a notable amount of head room in both rows. If you’re taller than 6ft as a driver or regularly carry adults in the back seats, it would be best to avoid versions of the car on which this glass roof is fitted (3 and GT-Line S).
The engine is creditably quiet and smooth for a downsized diesel, and the mid-range torque it makes moves the Sportage along effortlessly enough. Driveability would be sweeter if not for the slightly over-sensitive accelerator pedal and notchy manual gearshift quality, but neither is desperately bothersome.
That the car doesn’t particularly impress on real-world economy (we averaged 45mpg over several days of mixed testing) probably has plenty to do with the fitment of 19in wheels. Funnily enough, those wheels don’t do much for the car’s close body control and ride quality either. It’s not that they make for a particularly noisy or jarring secondary ride; rather their unsprung mass tends to make the car’s axles lollop into depressions in the road and seems to exacerbate bigger vertical ride inputs, making the car heave and toss a little on uneven country roads.
Typically, though, the Sportage’s lateral body control is decent, and its handling is fairly precise, although a numb steering system that’s a little too keen to self-centre makes it feel less agreeable than it might at times.
With that leaden steering feel and iffy vertical body control, plus an engine that doesn’t like to rev much beyond 3500rpm, this certainly isn’t a car to whisk along keenly for the sake of it. It does at least handle fairly securely, though, and doesn’t need to struggle or strain to get up to big speeds or climb steep gradients when the need arises.