Kia has unveiled the new ‘self-charging’ Sportage Hybrid, the first petrol-electric version of its recently revealed fifth-generation mid-size SUV, which looks increasingly likely to launch in Australia soon.
Speaking to CarsGuide, a Kia Australia spokesperson said: “We are definitely interested in the [Sportage] Hybrid, however RHD production out of South Korea is not yet confirmed.”
That said, they added: “It would arrive later than the petrol and diesel models scheduled for Q4 this year.”
Read more about the Kia Sportage
It therefore seems that it’s only a matter of time before right-hand-drive production of the Sportage Hybrid gets locked in, opening the door for Australian sales to start sometime next year.
And assuming the Sportage Hybrid does eventually enter local showrooms, it will go tyre to tyre with the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which has been the best-selling electrified vehicle by some margin since its arrival in May 2019.
So, what does the Sportage Hybrid bring to the table? Well, much like the related Hyundai Tucson Hybrid that’s off limits for Australia, it pairs a 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with a 44kW/264Nm electric motor.
The Sportage Hybrid’s combined outputs are yet to be released, but they’re also expected to mimic the Tucson Hybrid’s 169kW/350Nm. Either way, a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission is in tow.
In South Korea, the Sportage Hybrid’s fuel consumption on the combined-cycle test is 6.0L per 100km. There’s no word yet on what its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are. However, both claims will inevitably differ slightly under the Australian standard (ADR 81/02).
Of note, the RAV4 Hybrid differs from the Sportage Hybrid with its 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine and electronic continuously variable transmission (e-CVT).
Finally, the Sportage Hybrid otherwise stands out from the regular Sportage with its unique 17- and 18-inch alloy wheel designs, rear ‘HEV’ badge and specific multimedia content.
As mentioned, the regular Sportage will go on sale locally in the fourth quarter of this year, with its launch line-up to feature traditional petrol and diesel engine options, so stay tuned.