Sharp looks & hybrid variants aggrandize the 2022 Kia Sportage [Update]

The 2022 Kia Sportage, the fifth generation of Kia’s compact SUV, is officially out. Kia has confirmed that, unlike any past model, it will offer the 2022 Sportage with electrified powertrains.

Much like the all-new Hyundai Tucson, the platform-mate from Kia has a bold design, and similarly, it comes in different hybrid variants. Take a look at what we know so far on the next-gen Kia Sportage:

Background

Kia first introduced the Sportage as a concept in 1991 (Kia Urban SUV concept) and then launched the production version in 1993. The compact crossover SUV hit the five million sales milestone in the fourth generation in 2018. From its launch in 1993 till May 2021, Kia sold 6,136,357 or more than six million units of Sportage worldwide.

While the Sportage is the best-selling Kia model worldwide, the brand’s first offering to cross the six million sales milestone, the fifth-generation could add a few million units to the tally as demand for the crossover SUV model peaks worldwide.

Design

2022 Kia Sportage NQ5 front three quarters
The 2022 Kia Sportage features a dynamic design and looks way bolder than the current model, which wasn’t a big step up from its predecessor. Image Source: Kia

The 2022 Sportage incorporates Kia’s ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy. Kia says that Opposites United consists of five pillars: Power to Progress, Tension for Serenity, Joy for Reason, Technology for Life, and Bold for Nature. The last pillar has influenced the design creation to a great extent. The company’s designers in South Korea, the U.S., Germany, and China contributed in shaping up the all-new Sportage.

Source: Youtube/Kia

Kia has designed the 2022 Sportage with a familiar silhouette but used more aggressive and technical-looking elements. At the front, the compact SUV lets go of the bug-eyed look. Sharp, vertically positioned Matrix LED headlamps with boomerang-shaped LED DRL and a significantly larger, sharper, and black-colored radiator grille that spans the entire width of the face give it a dominating look. The DRLs should double as the front turn indicators.

2022 Kia Sportage NQ5 side profile spy shot
Kia has started testing the 2022 Sportage without camouflage following the official reveal. Image Source: autospy.net

On the sides, a noteworthy change is the conventionally designed rear door frame that makes the whole profile look more attractive. With crisp character lines, muscular shoulder lines, and a reimagined greenhouse, the 2022 Kia Sportage looks noticeably different now. For the first time in a Sportage, Kia will now offer an option to get the roof painted in combination with a different body color for a two-tone exterior.

The new Sportage features what one can only describe as a quirky front end, but the rear is more or less conventional. It comes with razor-sharp LED rear combination lamps, an arching indent where the registration plate sits, and a large Kia logo right above. The bumper houses symmetrical secondary lights.

2022 Kia Sportage NQ5 rear three quarters
Powerful broad shoulders and the slim light horizontal strip connecting the razor-sharp tail lamps emphasize the width of the 2022 Sportage. Image Source: Kia

2022 Kia Sportage Interior

The 2022 Kia Sportage features a thoroughly upgraded interior replete with a snazzy dual-screen cockpit, sleeker dashboard design, and a center console with reduced physical buttons.

The top-end 2022 Kia Sportage gets a curved panel that seamlessly merges a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display, covering more than half of the width. The panoramic curved display, which Kia says is the “nucleus” of the 2022 Sportage’s cabin, reduces distortion caused by viewing angles. It makes it easier to recognize information and minimizes driver distraction.

2022 Kia Sportage NQ5 interior dashboard
The 2022 Kia Sportage features a minimalist interior. Image Source: Kia

The 2022 Kia Sportage’s interior is a big step up from the current generation model. The cockpit area, especially, is state-of-the-art in its segment. A sculpted curved display with a slim crush touchscreen pad is the main attraction of the redesigned cabin. The base configuration may have an analog instrument panel instead of a virtual instrument cluster. The center console also carries a more upmarket design, and it houses a shift-by-wire transmission dial instead of a conventional lever.

The floor console of the 2022 Sportage has a high-end gloss finish, and it provides storage space, cupholders, and soft-touch switches, with the latter positioned alongside the transmission dial. The front seats sport a slim shell design, and their headrests integrate hanger-type designs, which allows hooking clothing and handbags. A Harman Kardon premium sound system is present onboard to appeal to the audiophiles.

Kia has included many new smart features in the 2022 Sportage. A digital key allows entering and starting the vehicle through a smartphone app without its smart key. Kia Pay allows paying at gas stations, parking lots, and other places through the infotainment system without a separate card. A smart power tailgate is also available, which adjusts the opening height and speed according to the user’s height or the surrounding environment.

Kia Connect, a suite of connected car services, allows connecting the vehicle to smart home devices like lights and air conditioners. Customers can save their personal profile that automatically adjusts the main vehicle settings like seat position, infotainment system functions, AC temperature, etc.

Specifications

Kia has developed the fifth-gen Sportage on its new N3 architecture. This is the company’s first model available in short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions depending on the market. We expect Kia to sell the Sportage long-wheelbase in most regions worldwide, places where customers demand space, like the U.S.

The South Korean-spec 2022 Kia Sportage (LWB) measures 4,660 mm (183.5) in length, 1,865 mm (73.4 in.) in width, and 1,660 mm (65.4 in.) in height, and it has a wheelbase of 2,755 mm (108.5 in.). The 2022 Sportage is 175 mm (6.9 in.) longer, 10 mm (0.4 in.) wider, and 25 mm (1.0 in.) taller than the outgoing Sportage. Its wheelbase is 85 mm (3.3 in.) longer than that of the older model. 637 liters or 22.5 cubic feet is the cargo space (VDA).

European countries will get the fifth-gen Sportage in a short-wheelbase version. The Euro-spec Sportage hasn’t significantly grown in size for its fifth generation, and thus “spiritually succeeds the fourth generation.” The Euro-spec 2022 Sportage has a length, width, and height of 4,515 mm (177.8 in.), 1,865 mm (73.4 in.), and 1,645 mm (64.8 in.), respectively, and its wheelbase measures 2,680 mm (105.5 in.).

The 2022 Sportage is the first Kia model to feature a Terrain mode for off-road driving. It automatically adjusts the vehicle for more challenging conditions like snow, mud, and sand. Also new is an Electric Control Suspension (ECS) with continuous damping control. The hybrid variants have a new ‘E-Handling’ system for improved agility and stability during cornering.

Safety

Kia says that it has improved the safety of the Sportage with a reinforced body structure. The company has confirmed the following safety systems for its fifth-generation:

  • Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
  • Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
  • Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC)
  • Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) with Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Highway Driving Assist (HDA)
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Surround View Monitor (SVM)
  • Blind Spot View Monitor (BVM)
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA)
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
  • Smart Cruise Control

Hybrid Powertrains

The 2022 Sportage range includes three hybrid variants: mild-hybrid, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid. European markets will get the mild-hybrid variant with 150 PS/180 PS (148 hp/177 hp) 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline and 115 PS/136 PS (113 hp/134 hp) 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine options. Transmission choices will include 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic for the gasoline MHEV and 6-speed intelligent manual and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic for the diesel MHEV.

European markets will have a plug-in hybrid option as well. The Sportage PHEV also features a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, but with a 66.9 kW motor and a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The engine alone produces 180 PS (177 hp) of power, and along with the electric drive unit, there’s 265 PS (261 hp) of system power available at disposal. A 6-speed automatic transmission transmits the power.

The battery pack, located under the vehicle floor, charges with a 7.2 kW on-board charger. Kia claims a leading power density of 1.53 kW/l and an efficiency of 95%. There’s no word on the charging time and the range, but expect to see a similar spec sheet on the U.S.-bound model.

Considering the specifications of the sister model, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV, the Sportage in EV mode should cover over 30 miles (EPA est.). The fuel consumption rating may also be around 80 MPGe (EPA est.).

Kia Sportage PHEV plug-in hybrid charging spy shot
Kia has developed the first-ever Sportage PHEV in South Korea. Image Source: YouTube/무한질주TV

For South Korea, Kia has revealed details of the self-charging hybrid model. The Sportage hybrid has a 1.6-litre turbo gasoline engine that works with a 6-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor. The engine develops 180 PS (177 hp) of power and 27.0 kg.m (195 Lb.-Ft.) of torque. The motor generates 44.2 kW (59 hp) of power and 264 Nm (195 Lb.-Ft.) of torque. It sources electricity probably from a 1.42 kWh battery pack.

A media report that came in late 2020 claimed that Kia is working on a pure electric version of the Sportage, though this is unverified.

Release date

Pre-orders for the 2022 Kia Sportage opened in South Korea on July 7, 2021. Kia received 16,078 pre-orders on the first day. Initially, the vehicle’s manufacturing takes place at the Kia AutoLand Gwangju plant (factory no.2) in South Korea.

NQ5 is the 2023 Kia Sportage for the United States

Many were expecting the new Kia Sportage to reach American showrooms by the end of 2021. However, the current generation Sportage (Kia QL) has received an update for MY2022, which places the NQ5 Sportage in 2022 as an MY2023 vehicle. Expect the launch of the all-new Sportage in the first half of 2022 in the United States.

A spy picture from S.Korea allegedly shows a US-spec next-gen Kia Sportage, based on the LWB version. Image Source: Bobaedream/namyang

The U.S.-spec 2023 Kia Sportage will carry the same design as the global car. A spy picture, courtesy of Bobaedream forum member namyang, purportedly shows the American-spec model in an identical design, with side markers as the only visual difference. The image also suggests that the fifth-gen Sportage could come to the U.S. with a new matt gray paint color option, making the exterior sportier for customers. The new dual-tone wheels are likely 17-inch units, but the top-end trims will likely include 18-inch alloy wheels instead.

According to a report from Automotive News, Kia plans to offer both Sportage Hybrid and Sportage Plug-in Hybrid in the U.S. in 2022. The report doesn’t state the order of release, but we think the company will offer at least the Hybrid variant of the all-new Sportage’s right from launch.

2022 Kia Sportage FAQs

What is the new Kia Sportage release date?

The all-new Sportage is expected in the U.S. in 2022, as the current model has been revised for MY2022.

What will be the 2022 Kia Sportage price?

The next-gen Kia Sportage price should start at around $25,000 in the United States.

What are the potential Kia Sportage alternatives?

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson & 2022 Nissan Rogue Sport are options to those who seek alternatives

Featured Image Source: Kia