Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid performance details for 2022

Plug-in hybrid version of fifth-generation Kia Sportage will go on sale in April

Kia will soon add a PHEV variant to the new Sportage line-up, extending the SUVs powertrain lineup to include petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, full hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

The new plug-in hybrid version is available to order now and brings extended hybrid technology to the Sportage for the first time. 

The Sportage is Kia’s best-selling car in the UK and the new model will come with six different trim levels. Kicking off the range is the Sportage ‘2’, which starts from £26,745 with a 148bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine. A 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel is available for an extra £1,000. Both are two-wheel drive and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. 

Equipment for the 2 includes 17-inch alloys, LED headlamps, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, cruise control and auto lights and wipers with an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system features DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, while there’s a suite of safety assist features including Forward Collision Avoidance with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection. 

Moving up to GT-Line trim (from £29,745) brings the option of further powertrains, including 48v mild-hybrid versions of the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel - the latter of which sees power upped from 113bhp to 134bhp - both offered with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. There’s also the 226bhp HEV hybrid model, mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. All GT-Line models are two-wheel drive until the plug-in hybrid arrives at the start of next year. 

GT-Line trim brings sportier styling details such as 19-inch alloy wheels (18s on the hybrid), gloss black exterior detailing, rear privacy glass, a sports steering wheel, sports pedals and aluminium interior trim. It also receives LED front fog lamps and taillights, suede and leather upholstery, keyless entry and start and a larger 12.3-inch infotainment display with navigation and connected services.

‘3’ spec is instead based on ‘2’, but offers the same engine options as the GT-Line. Priced from £30,945, it pairs the larger infotainment screen with a 12.3-inch digital dial display, plus adds cloth and faux leather trim, electric front seats with heating and heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and go and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go tech and highway driving assist (only offered on automatic versions. 

‘4’ spec is only available with the mild hybrid engines and four-wheel drive, although the HEV hybrid is still two-wheel drive. Priced from £36,445, it adds features such as a panoramic sunroof, a Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless phone charging, a 360-degree parking camera, Kia’s Blind Spot View Monitor and remote smart parking. Further features include ambient lighting, dual LED adaptive headlamps and Parking Collision Avoidance Assist. 

Flagship GT-Line S builds on the ‘4’ model, from £38,445, bringing the GT-Line’s sportier styling details and the option of a two-tone black roof. It also adds artificial leather and suede trim, ventilated front seats with additional electric adjustment and memory functions and a smart electric tailgate. 

The PHEV version of the Sportage is priced from £38,395 in the cheapest GT-Line specification. Customer deliveries for the rest of the range will commence during the first quarter of next year. 

New Kia Sportage: styling, technology and engines 

The Kia Sportage, which also rivals Hyundai’s Tucson and the Nissan Qashqai, has been built specifically for the European market. It features a 75mm-shorter wheelbase than the global Sportage.

The new car has been developed with three key pillars in mind, according to Kia. The first focuses on innovative design, the second on advanced technology and the third on making the car more fun to drive.

As a result of the shorter wheelbase, the European car’s styling features a few tweaks compared with the global car’s. These focus specifically on the C-pillars, with the European Sportage losing the small rear windows and gaining a chunkier graphic.

At 4,515mm long, the new Sportage is 30mm longer than its predecessor, while the wheelbase has also grown by 10mm to improve packaging and space inside, as well as create more room to house a battery for the plug-in hybrid model.

This new plug-in hybrid powertrain features a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine. It’s teamed to a 13.8kWh battery feeding an electric motor, for a combined output of 261bhp and 350Nm of torque - which is sent through a six-speed automatic transmission. This means the plug-in hybrid Sportage will have a 0-60mph time of 7.9 seconds, and a top speed of 119mph.

Electric-only range for the PHEV stands at a WLTP-rated 43 miles (a 7.2kW on-board charger means a one hour and 45 minute charge time), with CO2 emissions of 25g/km on a combined cycle. Kia also says the PHEV will do 252mpg. For customer car users, it stands in the eight per cent Benefit-in-Kind taxation band for 22/23.

As part of Kia’s electrification push, a 227bhp 1.6 petrol hybrid with a smaller 1.49kWh battery and electric motor set-up will be available; 134g/km CO2 is targeted.

Another new engine for the Sportage is Kia’s 148bhp 1.6-litre petrol turbo unit. As standard this is paired with the brand’s shift-by-wire Intelligent Manual Transmission, but if you opt for the 48v mild-hybrid version it is then paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Diesel power will still be available, with a 1.6 CRDi unit offered in either 113bhp (manual) or 134bhp (DCT automatic) form.

Styling is inspired by Kia’s EV6 electric car, with a big grille and sharp light signatures at the front and rear. Euro-spec cars feature different rear bumpers, too.

The interior of the GT-Line in our pictures features two 12.3-inch screens, with Kia’s Multi-Mode display positioned underneath and angled slightly towards the driver. It retains two physical knobs, but their functions can be switched between media systems and climate control using the touch-sensitive panel.

Depending on trim, tech such as matrix LED lights, a 360-degree camera and remote smart park assist will all be offered.

Inside, packaging is improved thanks to the new N3 platform. As well as more space inside – particularly in the rear – Kia says the plug-in hybrid model will offer 1,715 litres of cargo space - the same as the rest of the range and a 40:20:40 rear-seat split.

Q&A with Xuan-Zheng Guo

Kia Sportage interview

Kia Europe’s Sportage specialist tells us why this new fifth-generation car is a huge step for the Korean brand.

Q: Why did you choose to develop a Sportage specifically for Europe?

A: “Europe’s requirements are different. Towns and cities are more compact, which suits a shorter wheelbase. Doing two versions meant fewer compromises for each car, and more freedom for European tuning here, including for the electronic adaptive dampers that will be available.”

Q: Will we see an all-electric Sportage in the future as full EVs become more important?

A: “There’s currently no plan to offer the Sportage with a full-EV powertrain but we’ll continue to monitor market trends and our customers’ requirements. But full EV is huge for us, with cars such as EV6 and e-Niro.”

Q: How does this Sportage move the model on compared with its predecessor?

A: “It’s more upmarket to follow Kia’s new brand identity, and you’ll feel that inside. But obviously more electrified powertrains, more space, more tech; it’s delivering Sportage drivers more of what they want and expect from a car in this class.”

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