Kia Sportage

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Kia Sportage
Kia Sportage Plug-in-Hybrid (NQ5) 1X7A0318.jpg
Body and chassis
ClassCompact SUV (1993–2004)
Compact crossover SUV (C) (2004–present)
Body style5-door SUV
3-door convertible (1993–2004)
PredecessorKia Retona

The Kia Sportage is a lineup of sport utility vehicles manufactured by the South Korean manufacturer Kia since 1993. Since 2004, the Sportage has been categorized as a compact crossover SUV, while previously it occupies the compact SUV class. It slots between the Seltos or Niro and the three-row Sorento in Kia's SUV lineup, and having been through four generations is now in its fifth incarnation.

First generation (NB; 1993)[edit]

First generation (NB7)
1996 KIA Sportage 2.0 I E DOHC (8083022902).jpg
1996 Kia Sportage 2.0 (pre-facelift)
Also calledWanli Sportage (China)
ProductionJuly 1993 – 2005
Model years1995–2004
1995–2002 (North America)
AssemblySouth Korea: Hwaseong (Hwaseong Plant)
Germany: Osnabrück (Karmann)
Russia: Kaliningrad (Avtotor)
Pakistan: Karachi
China: Zhanjiang, Guangdong
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
3-door convertible
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Front-engine, four-wheel drive
RelatedMazda Bongo
Transmission4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
  • 2,360 mm (92.9 in)
  • 2,650 mm (104.3 in)
  • 4,030 mm (158.7 in) (3-door)
  • 4,245 mm (167.1 in) (5-door)
  • 4,440 mm (174.8 in) (Grand Wagon)
Width1,855 mm (73.0 in)
Height1,635 mm (64.4 in)
1995 Kia Sportage 2.0 DLX (pre-facelift, Chile)
The LWB 2001 Kia Sportage Grand Wagon (facelift, Australia)
Interior (facelift)

The first-generation Kia Sportage was developed with a Mazda Bongo engineering base platform. It shares many mechanical components such as the engine, transmissions (early versions), and differentials with the Mazda line of vehicles. This was during Kia's alliance with Ford and Mazda, which involved Ford/Mazda providing technology and Kia providing inexpensive manufacturing facilities for Ford.

From 1995 to 1998, the Sportage was built by Karmann in Germany; European buyers received German-built versions in that period, while the rest of the world received South Korean-built versions. It was launched in Asia in July 1993 and European sales started two years later.

The Sportage was sold in either a five-door SUV or a three-door soft-top convertible. Kia initially developed the wagon in standard length form, but in circa 1996, the company released an extended length version. This stretched model—mainly sold in Asian markets under the name "Sportage Grand", but also as the "Grand Wagon"—featured a 305 mm (12.0 in) longer body utilizing the same wheelbase, an increase in luggage capacity from 1,570 to 2,220 liters (55.4 to 78.4 cu ft), and the relocation of the spare wheel from the tailgate to underneath the floor.[1]

Kia offered three Mazda-sourced engines in the Sportage, beginning with the 2.0-liter FE DOHC inline-four gasoline unit producing 95 kW (128 hp) and the 2.0-liter RF inline-four diesel rated at 61 kW (82 hp). Diesel-engined models were mostly restricted to European markets, as was the more basic single overhead camshaft (SOHC) version of the 2.0-liter FE gasoline inline-four. Delivering 87 kW (117 hp), this gasoline engine was available from 2000 onwards. In North America, the 2.0-liter FE DOHC engine produced 130 hp (97 kW) and had optional four-wheel drive. The 1997 model year Kia Sportage was the world's first production vehicle to be equipped with a knee airbag.[2]

This first-generation model (1993–2002) sold in low numbers, even domestically in South Korea, and models after Hyundai's 1998 partial takeover of Kia (1997–2002) were recalled twice for rear wheels dismounting while driving. The first-generation Sportage was discontinued in South Korea in 2002, and in North America after the 2002 model year. By 2003, most international markets had discontinued the Sportage range, although it remained on sale in some developing countries until its second-generation replacement arrived in 2005.

The Kia Sportage scored the lowest possible result in the Australian ANCAP crash tests – one star out of five. As well as a failure of the seat belts, the vehicle structure collapsed.[3]

c. 1998–2001
MY 1998–2001 Kia Sportage (US)
c. 1998–2002
MY 2000–2001 Kia Grand Sportage (Chile)
c. 2002–2005
MY 2002 Kia Sportage (US)

Second generation (JE/KM; 2004)[edit]

Second generation (JE/KM)
Kia Sportage front 20091003.jpg
ProductionAugust 2004 – February 2010
2005–2015 (China)
Model years2005–2010
2006–2015 (China)
Body and chassis
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive
Front-engine, all-wheel drive
RelatedHyundai Tucson (JM)
Transmission5-speed manual
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,630 mm (103.5 in)
Length4,350 mm (171.3 in)
Width1,820–1,840 mm (71.7–72.4 in)
Height1,695–1,730 mm (66.7–68.1 in)
Curb weight1,480–1,685 kg (3,263–3,715 lb)
Kia Sportage (pre-facelift, Europe)

After a two-year hiatus, the Sportage returned in model-year 2005, sharing a Hyundai Elantra-based platform with the first-generation Hyundai Tucson. A 2.0 L straight-4 diesel engine was available in the United Kingdom. Fans of the original pre-Hyundai Sportage and critics complained that it was considerably larger than the original Sportage and had none of its off-road capability, the two keys to its success. However, buyers of the second-generation model were likely to favor the available 173 hp (129 kW) V6, with 178 lb·ft of torque (241 N·m). Overall fit/finish and quality was noticeably improved over the first-generation model.[citation needed]

A facelift model of the second generation was introduced in May 2008. From 2006, it was manufactured at the Žilina Plant in Slovakia. A second facelift was introduced in the UK in early 2009, only a few months after its first facelift.

The Sportage was named as one of the most reliable vehicles from the 2009 Consumer Reports reliability survey.[6] The Kia Sportage ranked second in the "20 least expensive 2009 vehicles to insure" list by According to research, the Sportage is one of the least expensive vehicles to insure.[7]

First facelift[edit]

Second facelift[edit]


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety displays a 2008 Sportage as an example of a weak roof.

The second-generation Sportage earned a top rating of five stars in crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated it only “acceptable” for frontal and side impact crash protection and “poor” for roof strength.[8]

Test Rating
Moderate overlap front: Average
Side: Average
Roof strength: Poor
Head restraints & seats: Poor

Third generation (SL; 2010)[edit]

Third generation (SL)
Kia Sportage diesel registered December 2013 1995cc (2).jpg
ProductionMarch 2010 – August 2015
2010–2018 (China)
Model years2011–2016
DesignerPeter Schreyer
Body and chassis
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive
Front-engine, all-wheel drive
RelatedHyundai Tucson (LM)
Wheelbase2,640 mm (103.9 in)[9]
Length4,440–4,450 mm (174.8–175.2 in)[9][10]
Width1,855 mm (73.0 in)[9]
Height1,635–1,645 mm (64.4–64.8 in)[9]
Curb weight1,410–1,625 kg (3,109–3,583 lb)
Rear (UK; pre-facelift)

The SL series Sportage was released to Asian and European markets in April 2010, the North and Central American markets in August 2010, and the Australian market in October 2010, for the 2011 model year.[11] Two engines were available, a 2.0-liter Hyundai R diesel engine with 184 hp (137 kW), and a 2.0-liter Theta T-GDI gasoline engine. In China, it was released by Dongfeng Yueda Kia in October 2010 and called the Sportage R, and was to be built and marketed alongside the previous generation rather than as a replacement for it.[12]

The Sportage won the 2011 Car of the Year (originally "Auto roku 2011 na Slovensku") in Slovakia and "Truck of the Year" nomination of International Car of the Year. It was top of the JD Power Survey for 2012, the only car in the survey to score five stars across all categories, from mechanical reliability to ownership costs and the dealer experience. In South Africa, it took the 2013 Standard Bank People's Wheels Award for "SUVs and Crossovers – City & Suburban".[13][14]


The third generation received a facelift for the 2014 model year that included a new grille, LED tail lights and redesigned alloy wheels.[15]


The third-generation Sportage received a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States.[16] Earning the award became tougher in 2010 when IIHS added the rollover crash test, which measures roof strength and is twice as stringent as the federal requirement. To pass this test, a vehicle's roof must be able to withstand the force of three times the vehicle's weight (acceptable rating). The federal standard requires a roof to hold 1.5 times the vehicle's weight.[17] It also scored the top rating of 5 Stars on the Euro NCAP crash tests[18]

Test Rating
Small overlap front Poor
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Good
Roof strength Good
Head restraints & seats Good

Fourth generation (QL; 2015)[edit]

Fourth generation (QL)
2018 Kia Sportage GT-Line S CRDi Automatic 2.0 Front.jpg
Pre-facelift Kia Sportage GT-Line S
Also calledKia KX5 (China)
ProductionSeptember 2015 – 2021
2019–present (Pakistan)
Model years2017–2022
DesignerMin Jae Kwon (facelift)[20]
Body and chassis
RelatedHyundai Tucson (TL)
Wheelbase2,670 mm (105.1 in)
Length4,480 mm (176.4 in)
4,550 mm (179.1 in) (China)
Width1,855 mm (73.0 in)
Height1,635–1,645 mm (64.4–64.8 in)
1,655 mm (65.2 in) (China)
Curb weight1,465–1,770 kg (3,230–3,902 lb)
Pre-facelift Kia Sportage GT-Line S

Kia unveiled its newly redesigned Sportage at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015, and brought it to market in 2016 (as a 2017 model in North America). The company said the contrasting sharp edges and smooth surfaces were inspired by modern fighter jets.[21]

There are three gasoline engines, as well as one diesel engine in the line-up. The gasoline options are a 1.6-liter, 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter, offering around 97 kW/161 N⋅m, 120 kW/200 N⋅m and 138 kW/241 N⋅m respectively, while the diesel is a 2.0-liter turbo that will produce around 135 kW/400 N⋅m. A 130 kW/265 N⋅m 1.6 T-GDi turbo-gasoline with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and a 136 kW/400Nm 2.0 R-Series diesel. Front- (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations are available.

In North America, the new Sportage is offered with three trim levels (LX, EX, and SX). Much like the previous model, it is available with two inline-four engine choices, a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter and a turbocharged 2.0-liter. The 2.4-liter produces 181 hp (135 kW) and 175 lb⋅ft (237 N⋅m), while the turbocharged engine makes 240 hp (180 kW) and 260 lb⋅ft (350 N⋅m), with small differences in performance dependent on whether FWD or AWD is configured. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.



The 2017 Sportage received a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.[22]

Test Rating
Small overlap front: Good
Moderate overlap front: Good
Side: Good
Roof strength: Good
Head restraints & seats: Good
Front crash prevention: Superior
Headlights: Acceptable
Child seat anchors (Latch) ease of use: Acceptable


The Sportage won the 2016 Red Dot Award for Car Design.[23]

Kia KX5 (Chinese version)[edit]

In China, the fourth generation Sportage was sold as the Kia KX5, the third generation model was sold alongside as the Sportage R, while the Kia Sportage name was used on a separate model developed from the second generation Hyundai ix35 chassis and also sold alongside.

The Kia KX5 received a facelift in 2019 conducted by Dongfeng Yueda Kia that would exclusively be sold in China only.

Available from March 2019, the front fascia was completely restyled with headlamps integrated with the grille and the rear end of the KX5 was also slightly redesigned for the Chinese market. Despite the exclusively restyled exterior, the wheels of the Chinese version are the same as the ones on the international Kia Sportage facelift.[24]

Fifth generation (NQ5; 2021)[edit]

Fifth generation (NQ5)
Kia Sportage Gravity NQ5 Snow White Pearl (1) (cropped).jpg
Kia Sportage (South Korea; LWB)
Model years2023–present (North America)
DesignerKarim Habib
Body and chassis
PlatformHyundai-Kia N3[26]
RelatedHyundai Tucson (NX4)
Hyundai Santa Cruz
Kia Niro (SG2)
Electric motor
  • Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) (EcoDynamics+)
  • 44.7 kW (60.8 PS; 59.9 hp) permanent magnet electric motor (FHEV)
  • 66.9 kW (91.0 PS; 89.7 hp) permanent magnet traction electric motor (PHEV)
Transmission6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
7-speed DCT
8-speed automatic
Hybrid drivetrain
Wheelbase2,680 mm (105.5 in) (SWB)
2,755 mm (108.5 in) (LWB)
Length4,515 mm (177.8 in) (SWB)
4,660 mm (183.5 in) (LWB)
Width1,865 mm (73.4 in)
Height1,650–1,660 mm (65.0–65.4 in)
Curb weight1,525–1,615 kg (3,362–3,560 lb) (1.6T)
1,615–1,715 kg (3,560–3,781 lb) (2.0D)
Kia Sportage (South Korea; LWB)

The fifth-generation Sportage was unveiled on 8 June 2021,[27][28] with specifications revealed in July 2021.[29] Based on the brand’s latest N3 platform, Kia developed two versions of the Sportage with different body length and wheelbase depending on the market.[30]

The model is equipped with a Terrain Mode that automatically adjusts various settings depending on conditions, including snow, mud, and sand. It also features electric control suspension (ECS) that provides continuous damping control in real-time. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will also feature an E-Handling system. lt is also equipped with a more compact shift-by-wire transmission dial for the automatic model.

The vehicle has also been equipped with updated safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), navigation-augmented adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist and advanced blind-spot collision-avoidance assistance system.[31]

Kia Sportage (Europe; SWB)

Europe (SWB)[edit]

The European-spec fifth-generation Sportage was announced in September 2021.[32] It is shorter by length by 135 mm (5.3 in), and shorter in wheelbase by 75 mm (3.0 in) compared to the standard model. Other differences include the deletion of a window on the rear quarter panel, and a modified front fascia.[33]

For the European market, Kia offers several range of drivetrains that includes plug-in hybrid, hybrid, mild hybrid, and diesel engine. The PHEV version features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder T-GDi engine and a 66.9 kW permanent magnet traction electric motor with a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion battery. The whole system produces 261 hp (265 PS; 195 kW). The hybrid model with same T-GDi engine and a 44.2 kW electric motor paired with a 1.49 kWh battery and produces 226 hp (229 PS; 169 kW).

The mild-hybrid model also uses the 1.6-liter T-GDI engine, which produces either 147 hp (149 PS; 110 kW) or 177 hp (179 PS; 132 kW). The 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel engine is available with an option of 113 hp (115 PS; 84 kW) or 134 hp (136 PS; 100 kW) of power output. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is available for the 1.6-liter while a 6-speed manual transmission is standard for all variants. All European models are equipped with Stop-and-Go technology.[34]

North America (LWB)[edit]

The long-wheelbase, fifth-generation Sportage for United States and Canada was revealed in October 2021 as a 2023 model year.[35] It is locally produced in West Point, Georgia instead of imported from South Korea.[36] The hybrid version is equipped with the T-GDi engine and a 44.2 kW electric motor combined with a 1.49 kWh battery that also delivers 226 hp (229 PS; 169 kW). It has an estimated autonomy of 500 mi (800 km) and can be optioned with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with central differential lock.[37]


The Sportage was Kia's best selling model worldwide in 2016, overtaking the Rio.[38]

Calendar year United States[39] Mexico[40] South Korea[41] China Europe[42] Global
Sportage[43] Sportage R[44] KX5[45]
1998 28,582 5,830
1999 52,383 13,133
2000 62,350 2,506 18,320
2001 52,369 2,922 13,508
2002 39,436 1,399 5,820
2003 5,616 0 2,913
2004 121 27,559 1,394
2005 29,009 57,031 38,631
2006 37,071 35,867 32,147
2007 49,393 32,563 5,713 32,076
2008 32,754 23,974 32,500 26,372
2009 42,509 27,874 43,828 22,687
2010 23,873 44,770 67,740 11,713 29,219
2011 47,463 52,018 44,754 64,341 67,623
2012 36,357 43,993 41,182 75,969 83,023 359,742[46]
2013 32,965 29,168 44,952 88,285 90,342
2014 42,945 47,729 40,474 96,472 96,556
2015 53,739 5,875 52,748 29,461 81,522 104,984 399,969[47]
2016 81,066 18,772 49,877 9,302 78,176 62,254 138,218 515,067[38]
2017 72,824 20,278 42,232 32,514 20,641 129,595
2018 82,823 18,864 37,373 13,873 75,180 5,951 121,197 501,367[48]
2019 89,278 15,876 28,271 85,708 8,703 110,514
2020 84,343 8,168 18,425 68,750 11,285 69,016 366,929[49]
2021 94,601 8,372 39,762


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External links[edit]