I THINK it is fair to say that when Kias first started to appear on our roads their styling was a little quirky to say the least.

Not so now as the Korean brand’s latest Sportage model has taken the company from trailing the field to a front runner in the design stakes. The 2022 model is cutting edge inside and out and one of the best looking mid-range SUVs around.

This fifth-generation Sportage is designed for Europe, built in Europe and shares much with Hyundai’s multi-award-winning Tucson.

It has bold boomerang-shaped LED running lights either side of a slimmer version of Kia’s signature front grille while the headlights blend neatly into a larger, lower grille.

At the back, the car takes a clear lead from Kia’s all-electric EV6 with high full width tail-lights on the tailgate which gives access to a 587-litre boot.

Inside there’s even more from the EV6 with twin 12.3- inch screens, one in front of the driver with clear, easy-to-use graphics and a central touchscreen for infotainment which appear to be joined to create a great-looking digital display covering two thirds of the dash area.

Beneath the central touchscreen are touch climate controls which also function as fast keys for infotainment settings

Our all-wheel drive car’s rotary seven speed automatic gearbox selector sits behind a wireless phone charger with cup-holders and there are plenty of other clever features inside including USB sockets on the back of the front seats in an interior which has a quality feel.

There is improved visibility and better handling too as the car grips well in bends with little body roll. The ride is firm but still comfy, especially on a long trip.

With 148bhp the car will get from 0-60mph in a decent 9.4 seconds while fuel economy figures are up to 47mpg.

Then there’s a choice of hybrid drivetrains and five trim levels ranging from 2 (£27,425) through 3 and 4, plus our GT-Line (£38,475) and a top-spec GT-Line S model, which gets all the kit while every model has Kia’s seven years’ warranty cover.

The long equipment list on our car included a panorama sunroof, auto lights and wipers, power heated door mirrors, suede leather seats (electric heated and cooled at the front and heated at the back), GT line trim inside and out, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise, sat-nav, smart power tailgate plus much more including many active driving safety systems.

So in addition to now being ahead on the design stakes this Kia is also right up there with the best for standard equipment, safety and quality of materials.

It is simply amazing just how far Kia have come on their motoring journey and makes you wonder just what is yet to come?

More info at www.kia.com

By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth