how much is the hybrid SUV worth on a long trip?

Particularly efficient in the city, is the hybrid car also efficient on a long journey? During a “road trip” between Paris and Monaco, we were able to take control of the new hybrid Kia Sportage.

While gasoline and diesel car registrations are collapsing, hybrid is taking hold with electric as a real trend in the automotive market, now accounting for 20% of new vehicle sales. Praised in urban areas, is hybrid technology also relevant on a long journey where the electric motor is less stressed? To find out, we took the wheel of the new Kia Sportage hybrid with top-of-the-range GT Line trim for a road trip between Paris and the Principality of Monaco.

The new Kia Sportage in terms of style: a revolution!

Forget the very consensual lines of the previous generation. Like the other models of the Korean brand, the Sportage is going through a revolution. Aesthetically, the changes are radical. Completely redesigned, the front is characterized by an enlarged grille incorporating the brand’s new logo and surrounded by boomerang lights. Ditto at the rear with shapes reminiscent of the Kia EV6, recently named Car of the Year 2022. Very divisive aesthetic choices reminiscent of those made by Toyota a few years ago. At a time when design is the first criterion for buying cars, the Korean crossover bets on emotion. We like it or we don’t like it, but we are not indifferent.

In terms of size, the Korean crossover gains a few centimeters over its predecessor and now spans 4.52 m in length. A way to get closer to the Peugeot 3008 and the Ford Kuga, the two European references in the segment.

Inside, the layout is largely inspired by that presented with the Kia EV6. There are two 12.3″ canvases that, placed side by side, seem to form a single slightly curved slab. In terms of the on-board computer, the design of the various menus was redesigned. The set is quite fluid and the navigation correct. We will still end up preferring to connect our smartphone to access applications like Waze or Google Maps, which are always more pleasant to use over long distances.

The choice of hybridization

100% electrified, the new Sportage engine range ranges from mild hybrid to plug-in hybrid. For this first long-distance test, it is the “full hybrid” core version that we have on hand.

Accumulating 230 horsepower, it combines a 180 horsepower 1.6L T-GDi gasoline engine with a 60 horsepower electric unit. Accumulating 1.49 kWh of energy capacity, the battery operates on a permanent charge and discharge cycle. A configuration that allows the electric mode to intervene regularly, especially in the city where the deceleration and braking phases make it easier to recharge the battery.

Between Paris and Monaco

For this long-distance event, we embarked on a road trip between Paris and Monaco, where the 17th edition of the EVER fair was organized. An epicurean journey that, between national roads and highways, led us to discover sometimes unusual places like the Croix de Molphey gas station which, run by a fan of Johnny and old American cars, takes us back to the 1960s.

When it comes to driving, this new Sportage is a true saloon. Quite comfortable, despite its somewhat firm suspensions, the Korean crossover also benefits from the electric motor that boosts its total theoretical power to 230 horsepower. Without dazzling in relation to the announced power, the accelerations are still sufficient for overtaking.

Kia Sportage PHEV

Well soundproofed, it also offers a whole range of driving aids. Everything is easily at hand thanks to the cleverly placed controls on the right side of the steering wheel. However, it will be necessary to pay attention to the chosen finish. While Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Sign Recognition and Cruise Control are standard equipment, others are reserved for our high-end GT Line trim. This is particularly the case with the adaptive cruise control and blind-spot display system. Very practical, it displays the rear side view of the vehicle in real time on the dashboard. A device that we had already tried out during our test of the Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid.

Fuel consumption: 6.4 l/100 km

When we arrived in Monaco, our total consumption balance was 6.4 l/100 km. A correct value for this beautiful 1.7 ton baby that remains on the nails of the figures presented by the WLTP cycle. Of course, the Sportage isn’t the most frugal of hybrid cars. The Toyota Auris and Hyundai Ioniq will do better, but we don’t play in the same league when it comes to space. This is precisely where the Kia model stands out, while most hybrids sacrifice part of the trunk for the battery, the Sportage hybrid announces a volume of 587 liters, in the high average of the segment. Added to this is a towing capacity of up to 1,650 kilograms.

On the price side, the Korean SUV is also well placed. Sold from €37,490 in its basic Active version, it is more affordable than the Ford Kuga hybrid, offered from €40,650. Designed with identical mechanics, the Hyundai Tucson hybrid, however, does better with a basic version priced from €32,950.

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