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 NX4, 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

First introduced as a concept in 1991 (Kia Urban SUV concept), the Kia Sportage was launched in 1993 and is one of the best-selling Kias worldwide. 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 has sold 6,136,357 or more than six million units of Sportage worldwide.

The Sportage is the best-selling Kia model worldwide, the brand’s first offering to surpass 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.

Exterior 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.

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 headlamps with boomerang-shaped 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 can only be described 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 cover 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.

Platform

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 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.). It is safe to assume that this is the long-wheelbase version, as the shortage wheelbase version’s length between the axles is likely to measure 2,680 mm.

The 2022 Sportage (LWB) is 175 mm (6.9 in.) longer, 10 mm (0.4 in.) wider, and 25 mm (1.0 in.) taller than the 2021 Sportage. Its wheelbase is 85 mm (3.3 in.) longer than that of the old model. 637 liters or 22.5 cubic feet is the cargo space (VDA).

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 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

New driver assistance technologies are a given but don’t expect fully autonomous highway driving capability yet. Standard and available advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) of the 2022 Kia Sportage may include the following:

Hybrid Powertrains

So far, Kia has confirmed a 2022 Sportage hybrid and a 2022 Sportage plug-in hybrid. Moreover, the company has revealed that the hybrid variant employs a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Kia said information about the electrified all-new Sportage models will be made available close to the start of sales.

For reference, the 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine (in the regular variant) produces 180 PS (178 hp) of maximum power and 27.0 kgf.m (195 lb.-ft.) of maximum torque. The powertrain options include a conventional 2.0-liter diesel engine as well, developing 186 PS (183 hp) of maximum power and 42.5 kgf.m (307 lb.-ft.) of maximum torque. The gasoline engine works with a 6-speed MT or a 7-speed DCT, while the diesel mill comes with an extensively re-engineered 8-speed automatic transmission.

What to expect

A report from The Korean Car Blog had said that the 2022 Kia Sportage hybrid uses a Smartstream CVVD 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and an electric motor. The hybrid variant is 100 kg heavier than the regular gasoline variant, and the maximum power is 230 hp. The full-hybrid powertrain delivers through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The maximum power is very close to that of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson hybrid (226 hp), which also employs the Smartstream CVVD 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, an electric motor, and a 6-speed automatic torque converter.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV has a 13.8 kWh battery pack that allows pure electric driving for 32 miles (company estimate). Considering this, the 2022 Kia Sportage PHEV’s range should be around 30 miles. The fuel consumption rating would be around that of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV – 70 MPGe. A media report that came in late last year claimed that Kia is working on a pure electric version of the Sportage, though this is unverified.

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

Kia is probably running the final tests of the Sportage PHEV. The spy shot above shows a camouflaged test mule connected to a public charging station. The plug-in hybrid variant appears to have the same design down to the two-tone alloy wheels as the standard Sportage. To get the complete look and the finer details, we will probably need to wait only until September, when Kia’s European subsidiary plans to “unveil a dedicated European version of the Sportage.”

Release date

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

NQ5 is the 2023 Kia Sportage for the United States

The new Kia Sportage was expected to reach American showrooms by the end of this year. However, the current generation Sportage (Kia QL) is updated for MY2022, which places the NQ5 Sportage next year as an MY2023 vehicle. Expect the launch of the all-new Sportage in the first half of 2022 in the United States.

Following are the changes brought with the MY2022 update (available now) for the U.S. market:

  • New Value Edition optional package launched for the LX trim to add 18-inch dark gray alloy wheels, passive keyless entry with push-button start, and heated front seats.
  • Nightfall Edition launched to replace the S trim.
  • A panoramic sunroof made standard on the EX trim.
  • New complimentary map updates, including new POIs and ADAS features support introduced in the EX trim with Tech Package and the SX Turbo trim.
A spy picture from S.Korea reveals what is reckoned as the US-spec next-gen Kia Sportage. Image Source: Bobaedream/namyang

The US-spec 2023 Kia Sportage will carry the same design as the global 2022 Kia Sportage. A spy picture of the former, courtesy of Bobaedream forum member namyang, purportedly shows the US-spec model carrying an identical design, with side markers as the only visual difference from the global car. 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.

2022 Kia Sportage FAQs

What is the new Kia Sportage release date?

The all-new Sportage is expected in the U.S. next year, 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