2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid: Australia Misses Out on All-Wheel Drive
October 28, 2023
The 2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid, set to hit Australian shores in the first quarter of 2024, has been greenlit for local sales. Official government documents have provided insights into the specifications and features of this anticipated model.
The Australian version of the Sportage Hybrid will exclusively feature a front-wheel drive, contrasting with some of its US models. This decision might position Kia at a slight disadvantage against all-wheel drive competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-TRAIL e-POWER.
Kia's leadership has previously voiced concerns about the Sportage Hybrid's pricing in comparison to the RAV4. However, Kia Australia has clarified that while the Sportage Hybrid will be available, it won't dominate their lineup in the same way Toyota has emphasized hybrids in its RAV4 range.
The hybrid's powertrain, mirroring the larger Kia Sorento Hybrid, combines a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine with an electric motor, supplemented by a 1.49kWh battery. This battery is exclusively recharged by the petrol engine. The combined output stands at 169kW/350Nm, channeled through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
In terms of design and features, the Sportage Hybrid will offer at least two variants in Australia. An entry-level variant, potentially aligning with the SX or SX+ models, will sport 17-inch alloy wheels. In contrast, the flagship variants, likely mirroring the SX+ or GT-Line, will feature 18-inch wheels, a reduction from the usual 19-inch for aerodynamic efficiency.
Equipment levels for the hybrid are anticipated to align with the existing petrol and diesel models. A notable addition is Kia’s semi-autonomous Highway Driving Assist system, which will come standard for the hybrid. There's potential for this feature to be integrated across all Sportage models in a future update.
The hybrid's braked towing capacity is consistent with the petrol auto Sportage variants at 1650kg.
Kia Australia's head of product planning and training, Roland Rivero, has indicated that the supply for the Sportage Hybrid will be more abundant than the Sorento hybrid. However, it's expected to be limited to a few hundred units monthly, compared to the overall sales of approximately 1200-1300 units per month.
Lastly, the Sportage Hybrid, sourced from Korea, will maintain the longer wheelbase seen in the petrol and diesel models. A variant with a shorter wheelbase is manufactured in Slovakia for European consumers.
In the current market, the Kia Sportage ranks as Australia's sixth most popular internal-combustion mid-size SUV, trailing behind models like the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.
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