Kia has unveiled the European edition of the new fifth-generation Sportage – and it’s the first time in 28 years that it has offered a version of the SUV specifically developed for the region.
Making its public debut at this week's Munich motor show, the Sportage is among the Korean firm’s most successful models sold globally and the new version switches to the Hyundai Motor Group’s N3 platform.
That architecture has allowed the firm to develop two distinct versions: a long-wheelbase model launched in June, intended for the South Korean and US markets; and this short-wheelbase variant, developed specifically for Europe, where it will be offered with a choice of mild-hybrid, ‘traditional’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. There won’t be an electric version, in part because the Sportage is a similar size to the forthcoming EV6, a bespoke electric crossover.
The European version is 4515mm long, a significant 85mm shorter than the global model – although it is 30mm longer than the previous generation. The 2680mm wheelbase is 10mm longer than before but 75mm shorter than its global sibling’s.
While both versions of the new Sportage share a bold new front end that features the latest version of Kia’s ‘tiger grille’, the side bodywork of the European model has been reworked extensively to take account of its shorter overall length and wheelbase. The C-pillar in particular has been significantly revised, losing the window built into the longer car. There is also a different rear bumper design, and European models in GT-Line trim will get a black contrasting roof.
The wing mirrors have been moved from the A-pillar to the doors, which is intended to boost visibility and refine the aerodynamics.
“The European version isn’t just a shortened body. It’s different sheet metal,” said Sportage product manager Xuan Goh. “We’ve worked really hard to make sure it works as a car in its own right.”