The old Sportage was dropped from UK price lists in 2003 following its introduction in the mid 1990s and survived throughout its lifetime with a single petrol engine.
The new Sportage will be longer, wider and taller than the old model, with a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 2.7 V6 petrol engines as well as a 2.0-litre common-rail diesel, and will slot into the range below the Sorento SUV.
Yong-Hwan Kim, senior executive vice-president of Kia Motors, said: ‘Adding to our quickly expanding product line-up, the all-new Sportage will reinforce Kia’s presence in the SUV market, where the award-winning Sorento is already so popular.’
The rear seat cushion and backrest has a unique ‘fold and dive’ system to create a square-sided, completely flat cargo area. The front passenger seat backrest can fold flat to accommodate extra-long loads and at the rear, the top-hinged tailgate features a flip-up window like the Sorento for added loading versatility. The spare wheel is carried internally, beneath the cargo area floor, so the gas-strut supported tailgate is easy to operate.
The new Sportage will be launched in the UK in 2005.