The new Kia Sportage will go on sale in 2022 in the shape of a specially developed European version
The all-new, fifth-generation Kia Sportage has already been unveiled with a radical new look, but for the first time ever, the Korean firm has developed a Sportage model unique to Europe. The forthcoming SUV will feature a bespoke design and chassis setup tailored for European roads, and these newly released design sketches preview the UK-bound model, set to land later this year
Like the international version, the Euro-specific Kia Sportage draws plenty of design inspiration from the all-electric Kia EV6, sharing the same C-shaped daytime running lights and aggressive bonnet line up front, although these sketches suggest that the European version could lose the full-width light bar seen previously. The upswept waistline will remain, however, along with Kia’s trademark Tiger Nose grille in its largest, boldest form yet. The European Sportage will also see a slightly redesigned lower front bumper.
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The most obvious visual change from the international model is a more rakish, angular C-pillar, with a ‘Z’ shaped design that integrates with the rear boot spoiler. Two-tone paint will also appear for the first time on the Sportage, with the European model set to receive a different rear bumper with a body-coloured lower section contrasting against a gloss black rear panel.
The brand is yet to reveal dimensions or boot capacity figures for the new Sportage, but claims a significant size increase over the previous car. According to Kia, the European model ‘will feature a more compact and adventurous profile’, which may imply smaller dimensions to the international Sportage.
No interior changes have been detailed for Europe, but the new Sportage will be a significant departure from the old model. Like the EV6, there’s an enormous curved infotainment system set into the dashboard, which flows into a digital instrument cluster. Kia hasn’t yet confirmed any specs, but It’s likely to be the same setup found in the recently released Hyundai Tucson, making use of two 10.25-inch displays. The rest of the cabin is decorated with soft-touch switchgear and a range of handy storage bins. The centre console also has controls for the infotainment system, along with a shift-by-wire automatic gear selector.
Kia has also confirmed that it will launch a sporty new X-Line specification on the new Sportage. The sportier bodykit will include a new front bumper, lower side skirts and a curved roof rack, along with a choice of two unique upholstery finishes in either sage green or black. The cabin will also feature quilting and black metal wood trim.
New 2021 Kia Sportage: engines and drivetrains
Kia hasn’t confirmed any details about the next Sportage’s engine and drivetrains but, like the current model, it should share much of its mechanicals with the Hyundai Tucson.
Should the next Sportage make use of the Tucson’s full engine line-up, a choice of front- and four-wheel drive will be available. Electrification will feature heavily throughout the range, too. The Hyundai’s line-up kicks off with petrol and diesel engines that include a 48-volt mild-hybrid set-up.
The system, which is already offered on some engines in the current Sportage range, harnesses braking energy when slowing down and charges a small battery. This then deploys its charge to reduce the load on the engine under acceleration. The MHEV tech will be paired with the group’s Intelligent Manual Transmission, a manual gearbox that features an electronically controlled clutch to allow for in-gear, engine-off coasting.
The next step up the hybrid range will be a more traditional petrol-electric combination. A 1.6-litre combustion engine will team up with a 59bhp electric motor, for a combined output of 227bhp and 350Nm of torque. The hybrid will allow for short distances to be covered in electric mode alone, with the batteries charged either when coasting, or from the engine itself.
A plug-in model will offer the greatest potential for low fuel bills, while low tax rates will be a big incentive for company car users. The same 1.6-litre petrol engine will likely feature, but with a larger-capacity battery and a more powerful electric motor that should return a zero-emissions range of around 30 miles.
If the new Sportage follows in the steps of the Tucson completely, the SUV could offer configurable suspension, thanks to the option of adaptive dampers. Also on the cards is a semi-autonomous driving system, allowing the Sportage to accelerate, brake and steer in lanes for short periods before needing intervention from the driver.
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