New 2021 Kia Sportage: everything you need to know

Published: 01 September 2021

► 2021 Kia Sportage SUV, expected by winter 2021
► New platform, new look, new tech
► Visually lower, longer and bolder

You’re looking at the new fifth generation Kia Sportage. Due to be unveiled at the IAA Mobility show in Munich next week, it’s been developed for European tastes right for the off. That means there’s more legroom and headroom than the outgoing model, and a choice of petrol or diesel engines in mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms. 

 Kia is also making a big play of its Electronic Controlled Suspension. Not ‘electronically’, oh no. Electronic Controlled Suspension – which sounds a bit like a Depeche Mode B-side, only without the joie de vivre. This is a continuous damping system that is said to create a ‘dynamic, engaging and optimal driving experience for European roads’ – we’ve got our hopes up for the Col de Turini rather than the Cleethorpes bypass, especially as one of the three drive modes is called Sport. 


To further aid handling prowess, there’s been some clever Lotus-style management of weight distribution. No really – the PHEV version’s battery pack is under the second-row seats, in the middle of the car. We’ve had a mid-engined MPV before (hello Toyota Previa), so here’s a sort-of front-mid-engined SUV. Ish. 

The battery pack is a 13.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery item attached to a 66.9kW permanent magnet traction electric motor, with the petrol 1.6-litre T-GDI engine as a kind of internal combustion engine chaser. You get 261bhp of power all in, with 178 of those coming from the ICE. The HEV Sportage model uses the 1.6 T-GDI engine in 178bhp tune, along with a 44.2kW electric motor and 1.49kWh battery for a total of 227bhp.

The 1.6-litre T-GDI engine is also available in mild-hybrid form (148bhp and 178bhp), but if you prefer your car to drink from the diesel tap you can choose a 1.6-litre engine in non-hybrid (113bhp and 134bhp) and mild-hybrid form (134bhp only). The petrol engines get a choice of a 7-speed dual clutch automatic or six-speed manual transmission, while the diesels get a choice of the 7-speed dual clutch auto or what Kia calls six-speed intelligent manual transmission. 

We wonder if it’s intelligent enough to take over singing along to Peppa Pig for the inevitable family journeys.  Talking of families, the cabin is said to be made from ‘the highest-quality materials that are sumptous to touch’, though we’ll have to test this theory with the unstoppable destructive force that is a bored toddler.  

On the subject of child-friendliness, the luggage capacity is 591 litres. However, if you’re planning to breed Great Danes/avoid childcare duties by moving out to the back of the Sportage, the rear seats fold down in a 40:20:40 split to allow for 1780 litres of space. 

Elsewhere inside there’s a Harman Kardon sound system, while the 12.3in touchscreen offers all the smartphone connectivity you could ever want – and more. Indeed, it will even project your calendar to the touchscreen. There’s also an app that can tell you where you’ve parked your Sportage, so you can tell yours apart from all the others in the supermarket car park. 

If you’re being distracted by children, dogs and touchscreen calendar tut-tutting, the Sportage has an extensive array of Advanced Driver Assistance System technology, which is known as DriveWise. The snappily titled Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist System with Junction Turning aims to, well, avoid collisions at junctions, while Highway Driving Assist maintains a set distance from the next car SUV ahead and keeps the Sportage as middle of the lane.

There’s also blind spot assistance, as well as a navigation-based cruise control system that will automatically reduce speeds for corners, before bringing them back up for the straight sections. Meanwhile, the Sportage has a rear-view monitor and surround view monitor technology; you can even direct this all from outside the car as Kia’s also given you Remote Smart Parking Assist.

Finally, Kia says that the new Sportage is a new design based on a bold and daring philosophy. It has five pillars: Joy for Reason, Power to Progress, Technology for Life, Tension for Serenity and Bold for Nature. 

Kia is also excited to announce that the Sportage is now available with a black roof, and to the front you’ll find distinctive boomerang-shaped LED daylight running lights. 

Prices haven’t been revealed yet, and the car makes its public debut next week at the IAA Mobility show in Munich. 

Check out our Kia reviews


By Nathan Chadwick

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds

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