New 2021 Kia Sportage SUV to get radical look

The boldly styled new Kia Sportage is expected to go on sale within 12 months, and our exclusive images preview how it could look

Kia is applying the finishing touches to a bold and all-new Sportage that is designed to shake up the family crossover class. As our exclusive images show, the brand’s challenger to the Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008 will enter the segment with a daring look, as well as offering a range of electrified powertrains.

Expected to be revealed in the middle of 2021 and go on sale towards the end of the year, the new model will become the fifth generation of the popular Sportage; in 2019, only the Ceed and Niro sold in greater numbers across Europe for Kia.

As with the current Sportage, the next model will share much with the recently released Hyundai Tucson, including its fundamental mechanical layout, its safety assist systems and its in-car tech.

Just as Hyundai’s designers did with the Tucson, so Kia’s design team has opted for a daring look for the Sportage that will help it stand out in a crowded segment. While the pair will share a largely similar silhouette, the detailing will be radically different.

As our renders show, Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille grows larger than on any previous model, expanding across the car’s fascia and bordered by angular daytime running lights to the side and a clamshell bonnet above. The headlights are set to be no less radical, taking a triangular form that’s set quite low into the front end.

Towards the rear, it’s expected that the new Sportage will make a nod to the existing model’s full-width LED light bar. This will span the gap between smaller, more angular tail-lamp units.

We’ve yet to see the cabin of the new Sportage, but it’s likely to benefit from a similar tech-laden arrangement to the Tucson’s. The Hyundai’s cabin features two 10.25-inch digital displays; one is a central touchscreen mounted in the dash, the other is a ‘floating’ instrument panel, which sits ahead of the driver and does away with the traditional hooded binnacle.

Should the next Sportage make use of the Tucson’s full engine line-up, a choice of front- and four-wheel drive will be available. Electrification will feature heavily through the range, too; the Hyundai’s line-up kicks off with petrol and diesel engines that include a 48-volt mild-hybrid set-up.

The system, which is already offered on some engines in the current Sportage range, harvests braking energy when slowing down and charges a small battery, which then deploys its charge to cut load on the engine under acceleration. This will be paired with the group’s Intelligent Manual Transmission, a clutch-by-wire system that allows for in-gear, engine-off coasting.

The next step up the hybrid range will be a more traditional petrol-electric combination. A 1.6-litre combustion engine will team up with a 59bhp electric motor, for a combined output of 227bhp and 350Nm of torque. The hybrid will allow for nominal distances to be covered in electric mode alone, with the batteries charged either when coasting, or from the engine itself.

A plug-in model will offer the greatest potential for low fuel bills, while low tax rates will be a big incentive for company car users. The same 1.6-litre petrol engine will likely feature, but with a larger-capacity battery that should return a zero-emissions range of around 30 miles.

For the first time, the Sportage is likely to offer configurable suspension, thanks to the option of adaptive dampers. Also on the cards is a semi-autonomous driving system, allowing the Sportage to accelerate, brake and steer in lanes for short periods before needing intervention from the driver.

Check out our list of the best family cars on sale now..

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