The Kia Sportage, which has been on the market for over three decades, is now in its fifth iteration and aims high against compact-segment SUV competitors such as the Ford Escape, Mazda CX5, and Volkswagen Tiguan.
The Sportage brand was added to the Korean carmaker’s portfolio in 1993. It used Mazda engines and was built on a body-on-frame chassis, but sales were weak, shattering its hopes. The brand was available in three body styles from Kia: a short-wheelbase convertible, a long-wheelbase with five doors, and a long-wheelbase with five doors and an enlarged trunk. It was a complete failure.
After Hyundai outbid Ford for 51 percent of Kia’s stock, the two Korean automakers collaborated and began sharing platforms. Kia designed its compact-segment SUV on the same basis as the Hyundai Tucson starting with the second generation, and the fifth iteration followed suit.
Kia Sportage: Exterior
The “Tiger Nose” design created by Peter Schreyer has been featured on the Sportage since the fourth generation. Although the 2023 model features a modified version of it. With a dent on the upper side of the grille and another on the bottom side. It’s still the same design concept. The car’s arrow-shaped LED daytime running lights to aim toward the center of the vehicle and encircle the main Matrix-LED headlamps on the inside. Kia has added a second grille to the lower portion of the bumper, which is finished in satin gray.
The 2023 Sportage, unlike its predecessors, is available in two wheelbases, depending on the country and region. As a result, it will compete against Volkswagen’s Tiguan, which is also available in two wheelbases.
The Korean SUV has a raked-forward C-pillar and rear windscreen, as well as a vertical, concave tailgate panel. The automaker has installed false exhausts and a satin-gray cover beneath the bumper.
“With the all-new Sportage, we didn’t just want to take a step ahead; we wanted to push the SUV class to a new level,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of the Global Design Center. Kia’s global design network in Korea, Germany, the United States, and China collaborated on the 2023 Sportage design.
Kia Sportage: Interior
The broad, curving display on the dashboard is the main attraction within the cabin. It’s made up of two identically sized 12″ screens. A narrow LCD in front of the driver displays vehicle data and driving information such as speed and revs, coolant temperature, and fuel level. The infotainment unit is displayed on the second screen, which is positioned above the center stack. For the sound system, Kia partnered with famous specialist Harman Kardon, which is also used by other premium carmakers.
The inside trims were designed to be bold, with piano-black finishes and metallic accents around the vents and doorknobs. On the center console, the manufacturer mounted the operating system configuration buttons, cupholders, and soft-touch switches, the latter adjacent to the shift-by-wire transmission dial. High-speed wireless charging is provided through a smartphone charging bay.
The interior design team worked tirelessly to create a luxurious atmosphere. As a result, depending on the choices, the Sportage can be ordered with a mix of black and white leather upholstery. The new platform also provides rear-seat passengers with 1,050 mm (41.33″) of legroom and 1,000 mm (39.37″) of headroom.
Kia Sportage: Gadgets
The carmaker offers a navigation-based cruise control option that works in tandem with the front radar for a comfortable yet safe ride. As a result, the Sportage can maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it while staying within the lanes. The same system is in charge of lowering the vehicle’s speed before corners in order to improve passenger comfort.
Because an SUV must navigate gravel or snow-covered roads, the carmaker has included a sophisticated All-Terrain mode. It collaborates with the ESP sensors, the engine management unit, and the automatic transmission to deliver the optimum traction possible in various scenarios. A Haldex all-wheel-drive system is also used in the system.
Kia Sportage: Performance
Depending on the market, Kia has announced two engines for the car’s introduction. For starters, there’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with direct injection. It produces 180 horsepower and is a detuned version of Kia’s cee’d GT version. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 2.0-liter turbo-diesel with 186 horsepower is another option. While oil-burning engines are no longer accepted in some regions of the world, these fuel-efficient engines are popular with other clients. Hyundai-Kia has developed robust, dependable, and environmentally friendly diesel engines over time.
However, the new platform will allow for future advancements, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. Hyundai-Kia has already taken significant efforts toward electrification, and its lineup is likely to include only electrified or electric vehicles in the near future.
Kia Sportage: Safety
Kia upgraded its already well-known Advanced Driver-Assist Systems (ADAS) and included them in the Sportage 2023. In a few years, autonomous braking systems and other technologies like lane-keep assist will be required in Europe. Regardless, the automaker has fitted them.
In the case of a collision, all of the airbags are expected to deploy. Its predecessor passed all of the world’s crash testing with flying colors, and the 2023 model is anticipated to outperform it. It possesses the necessary equipment, strength, and technology to accomplish this.
The Sportage has grown from a difficult-to-sell body-on-frame SUV with a low-range transfer case to an attractive, comfortable, and family-friendly car after three decades of development. Its sales have topped the charts all across the world, and the company’s seven-year warranty is a major selling factor.