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Kia Sportage 2022: midsize SUV will land in October without hybrid power initially

John Law

The all-new Kia Sportage will arrive without a hybrid powertrain initially, though will offer plenty more than the current range.

Kia has locked-in an Australian release date for the 2022 Kia Sportage of October this year, with pricing yet to be confirmed. 

The fifth-generation Sportage appears to share almost no design cues with the outgoing model. We’ll hold our comments until we’ve seen it in the flesh, but it’s safe to say this is the most distinctive iteration of Sportage to date.

The new Sportage shares its underpinnings and engines with the Hyundai Tucson, and Kia will be hoping the fresh looks, safety kit and engines will move the Sportage further up the sales charts.

UPDATE: Kia is fighting to bring the Sportage hybrid to Australia, with a proposal to build right-hand-drive hybrid variants in South Korea being advanced to head office.

Kia Sportage 2022-4
The new Kia Sportage is set to arrive next month with an all-new look.

How big is the Kia Sportage?

All Australian-delivered Kia Sportages will be long wheelbase variants. That makes the new car bigger in every dimension, measuring 4,660mm long, 1,660mm tall and 1,865mm wide. 

The 2,750mm wheelbase should mean a lot more room for back seat riders than the outgoing car (2,670mm), and is longer than European Sportage models by 70mm. 

The added length moves the Sportage towards the larger end of the midsize SUV segment, offering a 60mm more wheelbase than the best-selling Toyota RAV4

Kia Sportage 2022-7
Although it remains capped at five seats, the Sportage is significantly larger than before.

What else is new with the Kia Sportage?

The exterior treatment is unmissable, there are elements of the company’s signature motifs like the ‘tiger nose’ grille, but it’s the LED lighting treatment that is most impressive. 

Inside, Kia has treated the range-topping GT-Line to a 12.3-inch digital cluster. The cabin design itself is leaps ahead of the old car and includes a minimal rotary dial transmission selector in the GT-Line. 

The GT-Line retains its premium position with 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats with electric adjustment, panoramic sunroof and navigation. 

Kia Sportage 2022
Inside the Sportage looks bang up to date with larch digital screens and funky vents.

Technology has been improved further with the inclusion of a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain wired due to an ongoing dispute with smartphone manufacturers. An eight-speaker Harman Kardon stereo rounds out the spec. 

However it’s at the base end of the range where the greatest improvements have been made. The S now gets an eight-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and DAB radio. 

Cloth upholstery remains standard, as does a leather-appointed steering wheel, while all exterior lighting has been upgraded to LED. 

Kia Sportage 2022-6
Upper-spec Sportage grades will get premium sound systems.

The mid-spec SX benefits from a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, power lumbar adjustment, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather shifter and dual-zone climate control.

Finally, the SX+ gets 19-inch alloy wheels, a Harmon Kardon stereo, wheel-mounted paddle shifter and keyless go. 

How safe is the Kia Sportage?

All Sportage models pick up a whole slew of extra safety gear. The base model S now gets equipment mandatory for a five-star ANCAP rating such as a centre airbag, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and an AEB system that can detect pedestrians, cyclists, cars and adds junction functionality.

Kia Sportage 2022-2
The angular LED lighting elements might be the best part of this midsize SUV.

Additionally, comfort and convenience features like lane-trace assist, tyre pressure monitoring, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake and rear parking sensors are standard. 

The SX+ adds front parking sensors and adaptive cruise with stop & go to the suite, while the GT-Line impresses with blind-spot view cameras, reverse AEB and a 360-degree camera.

What sits under the Sportage’s bonnet?

The starting engine lineup for the new Sportage is similar to the outgoing car. Every variant is available with a choice of a 115kW/192Nm 2.0L petrol engine with 1kW more than before. 

Kia Sportage 2022-5
The Sportage engine lineup remains familiar, but each powertrain has been updated for 2022.

Buyers have the choice of a six-speed automatic transmission, or a manual on the base model. The 2.0L engine sends power to the front wheels exclusively.

There is a 2.0L turbodiesel offered, now with 16Nm and 1kW more at 137kW/416Nm. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD.

The new Sportage is offered for the first time with a 1.6L turbo petrol engine linked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Total outputs are 132kW/265Nm which should make this the sportiest Sportage available.

Kia Sportage 2022 testing front
The Kia Sportage has been subjected to a testing Australian ride and handling program.

Further improving the new car is an Australian-honed ride and handling package. Like Hyundai, Kia has invested heavily in making sure its vehicles are well-suited to Australia’s rough tarmac.

But what about the hybrid Sportage?

The elephant in the room – at least initially – is the lack of hybrid powertrain offered at launch. Kia offers the new Sportage with a self-charging hybrid powertrain that teams the turbo 1.6L petrol engine with a 44kW electric motor for 169kW/350Nm of grunt in left-hand drive markets.

While Kia Australia confirmed its interest in bringing the hybrid downunder – no doubt to challenge the Toyota RAV4 on level footing – though like the Sorento, if the Sportage hybrid does come to Australia it will arrive after the traditional powertrains.

Exact pricing will be confirmed when the Sportage launches in October 2021.