Browse over 9,000 car reviews

2022 Kia Sportage's big advantage over the related Hyundai Tucson - plus Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and every other new mid-size SUV

The fifth-generation Sportage will go it alone in its segment with a local ride and handling tune.

Kia Australia has confirmed the soon-to-be-launched fifth-generation Sportage mid-size SUV will offer buyers something none of its rivals no longer do, related Hyundai Tucson included.

Like its predecessor, the all-new Sportage will be released with a local ride and handling tune in the fourth quarter of this year, with it “designed to cater to the unique nuances of Australian roads”, according to Kia Australia.

While bespoke suspension and steering set-ups aren’t exactly unprecedented, the Sportage will become the last remaining model in its segment with them, after its twin under the skin, the fourth-generation Tucson, went on sale in May without a local ride and handling tune.

Unlike the Tucson, the Sportage’s specific suspension and steering set-ups have been developed despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, with thousands of kilometres of testing taking place over a six-month period in greater Sydney and rural New South Wales.

Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith: “Tuning our vehicles to suit Australian conditions is a huge factor in the satisfaction of our drivers and has attributed significantly to the growth in our overall sales.”

“As usual, our NQ5 Sportage tune will be unique compared to other regions. We’re trialling all available spring rates globally suited, in order to flatten the ride and minimise body roll,” Kia Australia ride and handling engineer Graeme Gambold added.

“NQ5 will also apply Mando shock absorbers, which feature an advanced valve technology as first seen on MQ4 Sorento.

“Due to COVID complications we’ve been forced to apply the tuning via a ‘correspondence process’, whereby we order shock absorber production samples in batches, air-freighted for testing, rather than having a dedicated damper engineer based here for the duration of the tune.”

Pricing and full specification details for the new Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail rival will be released closer to its showroom arrival. In the meantime, you can read about what we know so far in the above story links.