A striking new fifth-generation Kia Sportage has been revealed with a European-specific variant for the first time in its near 30 years of producing vehicles.
To be built exclusively in Slovakia, this all-new Sportage has undergone a complete overhaul inside and out for the mid-sized SUV and will come to market later in 2021 (prices TBC).
Unlike its international sibling, the European variant will include a shorter wheelbase, whilst having a slightly different styling in places such as a rugged body styling to encompass the millimetres of space lost and a curved roof rack, as well as only being offered in mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Certain visual cues on this new model have been taken from the incoming EV6, with this Sportage being the second Kia built after the fully-electric hatchback under the ‘Opposites United’ ethos. This much is evident when looking at the likes of the distinctive ‘boomerang’ headlights, curved bootlid and prominent spoiler.
Kia Sportage product manager, Xuan Goh, commented: “This model really is our baby, and Kia Europe has done extensive work on it. It’s less compromised than some global cars when the platform remains exactly the same.
“We were given the latitude to change things to meet the tastes of European customers.”
Meanwhile, the European Sportage has a significantly shorter wheelbase, alongside revisions to the bodywork. Xuan Goh stated that “the European version isn’t just a shortened body, it’s different sheet metal” – quite an exciting concept for Kia fans.
Elsewhere, the new Kia Sportage will feature distinguished regional tuning for the chassis, steering and ride comfort, whilst the wing mirrors have been moved from the A-pillar to the doors for a boost in visibility and aerodynamics. The GT-Line trim on the European models will incorporate a black contrasting roof – making it to stand out from the crowd.
However, although the Euro-Sportage will feature the global models’ bold new front end to include the latest version of Kia’s ‘tiger grille’, it has been reworked to accommodate the shorter-wheelbase. For instance, the C-pillar has had to lose a window that was featured in the longer car, along with a different rear bumper design.
Efforts for the interior of the new Sportage are also evident when taking in the curved digital display, a new touchscreen infotainment display and a selection of ‘multi-mode’ haptic switches on a smart gloss-finished centre console.
If it’s boot space you’re looking for in the new Sportage, then you’re in luck. The boot is around 10% bigger than the previous model, offering around 500 litres of storage (subject to the powertrain you choose from). Albeit the battery on the plug-in hybrid model is located under the floor of the Sportage, Kia designers have promised that this will not impose on boot space.
In terms of powertrains, the Kia Sportage will be offered in the UK with a range of electrified petrol and diesel versions. A 1.6-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine will deliver 148bhp and 178bhp, and a diesel MHEV will be available with 113bhp and 134bhp. Furthermore, a 227bhp 1.6-litre hybrid option is offered with the addition of a 261bhp plug-in hybrid that features a 13.8kWh battery with up to 35 miles of electric-only running.
With UK deliveries scheduled to begin just before the end of 2021, pricing is yet to be finalised – so make sure to watch this space for further updates on the Korean firm’s most successful model!