Europe’s ‘smaller’ Kia Sportage gets better handling and diesel engines

At the global unveiling of the all-new Kia Sportage in South Korea in early July, the company did mention that a short-wheelbase variant will be offered in the future. Kia Europe is using the upcoming IAA Mobility Munich 2021 to officially unveil and launch the fifth generation Sportage built on the shorter wheelbase.

Both wheelbase variants feature similar styling apart from minor design tweaks on the bumpers and rims. The width stays at 1,865 mm, but the reduced wheelbase of 75 mm to 2,680 mm also redesigns the overall look and length to 4,515 mm for the European Kia Sportage.

The long-wheelbase model has a window and satin decorative trim at the D-pillar

“The all-new Sportage has been carefully designed, developed and honed specifically for Europe, in the process breaking boundaries and establishing new benchmarks in the SUV segment,” said Kia Europe, President, Jason Jeong.

With the reduction in wheelbase, the rear doors are unique with smaller windows and blends with a chrome highlight on the C-pillar that extends to the rear spoiler.

For the European market, the GT-Line further accentuates the SUV’s design with a mesh lower grille pattern, gloss black upper half for a dual-tone look and a redesigned rear bumper with more body colour.

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With the same external width as the long-wheelbase variant, the European Kia Sportage has the same high-quality, soft-touch dashboard with also houses two large 12.3-inch displays in a curved frame. Back seat passengers will enjoy the more spacious cabin compared to the outgoing Sportage, with a 996 mm legroom and 998 mm headroom, but no mention of the dimensions compared to the larger variant.

From launch, there will be a range of petrol and diesel engines on offer and varying degrees of electrification. The range-topper is the Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant comprising of a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine paired with a 66.9 kW motor and 13.8 kWh battery pack for a combined system output of 265 hp.

A lower variant called the HEV Sportage comes with a smaller electric motor and battery pack whilst maintaining the same 180-hp 1.6-litre engine to deliver a total output of 230 hp.

Both are mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With the electric motor removed, the Kia Sportage comes standard with a mild hybrid system, offering two states of tune- 150 hp or 180 hp. For fans of diesel engines, two output levels are available- 115 hp or 136 hp, with the latter made available with mild hybrid assistance.

To further move up the competitiveness level and refinement in handling and riding comfort, the new generation Kia Sportage can be equipped with a new Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS), continuously adjusting the damping levels in real-time. Meanwhile, a new Terrain drive mode for outdoor adventure and unpaved surfaces sets specific Snow, Mud and Sand driving programmes for better traction and stability in the new Kia Sportage.

Safety and advanced driving assist systems are share in both variants, including the new Highway Driving Assist (HDA) and navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC).

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Similar to the all-new Hyundai Tucson, there are now two variants of the same product from Hyundai Motor Group and Kia- regular and enhanced wheelbase variants. With the Malaysian market viewing larger sizes as offering better value for money, it won’t be a surprise to see both the new generation Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson only in long-wheelbase variants when it finally is available for sale here.  



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