The Euro-spec version of the new Kia Sportage has been uncovered with a range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid options
Kia has unveiled its all-new Euro-spec fifth-generation Sportage family SUV, with plug-in hybrid and hybrid powertrains confirmed for the Korean brand’s rival to the Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Qashqai.
It’s the first time Kia has built a Sportage specifically for the European market, with this new car featuring a 75mm-shorter wheelbase than the global Sportage.
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The new car has been developed with three key pillars in mind, according to Kia. The first focuses on innovative design, the second on advanced technology and the third on making the car more fun to drive.
As a result of the shorter wheelbase, the European car’s styling features a few tweaks compared with the global car’s. These focus specifically on the C-pillars, with the European Sportage losing the small rear windows and gaining a chunkier graphic.
At 4,515mm long, the new Sportage is 30mm longer than its predecessor, while the wheelbase has also grown by 10mm to improve packaging and space inside, as well as create more room to house a battery for the plug-in hybrid model.
This new powertrain for the Sportage features a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine teamed with a 13.8kWh battery feeding an electric motor for a combined output of 261bhp. Although still to be homologated, electric-only range stands at just less than 35 miles (a 7.2kW on-board charger means a two-hour charge time), with CO2 emissions of 31g/km expected.
As part of Kia’s electrification push, a 227bhp 1.6 petrol hybrid with a smaller 1.49kWh battery and electric motor set-up will be available; 134g/km CO2 is targeted.
Another new engine for the Sportage is Kia’s 148bhp 1.6-litre petrol turbo unit. This features mild-hybrid tech and will be paired with the brand’s Intelligent Manual Transmission. If you want an automatic gearbox, the 1.6 T-GDi DCT-equipped powertrain increases the output to 178bhp.
Diesel power will still be available, with a 1.6 CRDi unit offered in either 113bhp (manual) or 134bhp (DCT automatic) form.
Styling is inspired by Kia’s EV6 electric car, with a big grille and sharp light signatures at the front and rear. Euro-spec cars feature different rear bumpers, too.
The interior of the GT-Line in our pictures features two 12.3-inch screens, with Kia’s Multi-Mode display positioned underneath and angled slightly towards the driver. It retains two physical knobs, but their functions can be switched between media systems and climate control using the touch-sensitive panel.
Depending on trim, tech such as matrix LED lights, a 360-degree camera and remote smart park assist will all be offered.
Inside, packaging is improved thanks to the new N3 platform. As well as more space inside – particularly in the rear – Kia says that the Sportage’s boot will be 10-15 per cent larger than its predecessor’s. Load space is still to be confirmed, but all models will offer more than 500 litres.
The new Sportage will go on sale later this year ahead of deliveries in early 2022. Prices could start from less than £25,500.
Q&A with Xuan-Zheng Guo
Kia Europe’s Sportage specialist tells us why this new fifth-generation car is a huge step for the Korean brand.
Q: Why did you choose to develop a Sportage specifically for Europe?
A: “Europe’s requirements are different. Towns and cities are more compact, which suits a shorter wheelbase. Doing two versions meant fewer compromises for each car, and more freedom for European tuning here, including for the electronic adaptive dampers that will be available.”
Q: Will we see an all-electric Sportage in the future as full EVs become more important?
A: “There’s currently no plan to offer the Sportage with a full-EV powertrain but we’ll continue to monitor market trends and our customers’ requirements. But full EV is huge for us, with cars such as EV6 and e-Niro.”
Q: How does this Sportage move the model on compared with its predecessor?
A: “It’s more upmarket to follow Kia’s new brand identity, and you’ll feel that inside. But obviously more electrified powertrains, more space, more tech; it’s delivering Sportage drivers more of what they want and expect from a car in this class.”
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