KIA Sportage Models/Series Timeline, Specifications & Photos

Generations: 8
First production year: 2004
Engines: Hybrid gasoline, Gasoline, Diesel
Body style: SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)
KIA Sportage HEV  photo gallery

Kia unveiled the hybrid version of the fifth generation of the Sportage at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Sportage was already a well-known product on the market on both sides of the Atlantic. While it debuted as a humble and one of the shortest cars in its segment, by 2022, it became one of the longest. However, if the first generation was more of a rugged, body-on-frame vehicle (not available on all markets), the 2023 model year was a global product with upmarket flavor.

On the outside, there were few differences between the HEV and the rest of the Sportage range. It featured the same floating-design look for the “Tiger-nose” element on the front fascia and the boomerang-style LED daytime running lights. At the back, the notch-shaped taillights looked united via a black line that crossed the vehicle from side to side. In addition, a small HEV badge adorned the tailgate. But the most distinct element that differentiated the exterior of the hybrid version from the rest of the range was the unique design for the 17” or 18” alloy wheels.

The interior looked just as futuristic as the exterior. The dashboard sported a 25” wide display that combined the 12.3” instrument panel with the 12.3” touchscreen for the infotainment system under the same piece of glass. Thanks to the asymmetrically designed dashboard, the driver had access to most buttons and controls. At the same time, the side passenger was spoiled with more legroom and an airy feeling. Depending on the trim levels and options, a Harman-Kardon sound system transformed the Korean SUV into a concert hall on wheels.

But the drivetrain was the most essential difference between the HEV and the rest of its siblings. A 1.6-liter turbocharged and direct fuel-injected engine provided 226 hp (229 PS) to a standard six-speed automatic gearbox. In addition, a 44 kW motor helped the SUV achieve outstanding fuel efficiency for its class. Furthermore, the Sportage HEV was fitted with front or all-wheel drive systems depending on the trim level.

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KIA Sportage photo gallery

After 28 years since the Sportage's first generation, Kia unveiled the fifth sequel of its compact SUV, with a version designed exclusively for the European market.

The Sportage evolved a lot in its almost three decades from a small off-road vehicle fitted with a transfer case and low-range gear to a practical SUV that could cope better with the urban traffic than with tracks and roots.

Thanks to the LED lighting revolution, the headlights didn't have to be round or squared anymore. Kia chose to make them in a boomerang style, like two arrows pointing towards the car's center. They were integrated into the broad black grille at the front and joined by a pair of LED daytime running lights on each side. At the bottom, an additional black, unpainted area under the bumper formed a scratch-resistant shield. The car's edgy styling continued on the sides with the sculptured door panels. Its high window area was curved upwards towards the C-pillar, while at the back, the car sported a raked-forward windscreen for the tailgate and two wide, angular-shaped, LED taillights. A silver shield protected the underbody from scratches on the lower side, flanked by two wide fake exhausts.

Inside, the carmaker installed a wide display for the instrument panel and the infotainment unit. Kia left a few physical buttons for the audio system and the hazard lights on the center stack. Instead of a regular gear stick, the carmaker provided a shift-by-wire transmission dial for the automatic transmission. The customers could choose between sage green and black upholstery and bold quilting and black metal wood trims.

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KIA Sportage photo gallery

The 2018 KIA Sportage represents an enhanced iteration of one of the most popular medium-sized SUVs globally. It introduces a refreshed exterior and interior design and enhanced safety and infotainment technologies. Moreover, KIA's powertrains and auxiliary systems comply with upcoming emissions standards, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility and a promise toward a greener future.

One of the notable features of the new Sportage is the advanced EcoDynamic+ 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain, which plays a crucial role in Kia's global powertrain electrification strategy. Kia proudly presents itself as one of the pioneers in offering hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, and 48-volt mild-hybrid technology across its entire lineup.

The SUV offers a choice between gasoline or diesel engines, which can be paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. In all-wheel drive configurations, the transmission ensures a harmonious balance between the vehicle's off-road capabilities and the efficiency and comfort required for city driving.

The new car has undergone several enhancements in terms of its bodywork. The exterior design features refreshed front and rear bumpers, redesigned front and rear lamps, and the introduction of new alloy wheel designs in 16, 17, and 19 inches. Optional features such as chrome sill trim, metallic skid plates, and five new paint colors further enhance the appeal of the Sportage.

GT Line variants stand out with their glossy black hot-stamped radiator grille, a sleek combination of gloss black and silver for the skid plate, and dark chrome inserts highlighting the side sills and rear tailgate. The GT Line models are suited with distinct 19-inch alloy wheels that have been redesigned, while all models come equipped with a dual rear exhaust pipe and updated LED fog lamp designs.

The Sportage's cabin has undergone refinements, showcasing a newly designed steering wheel and revised instrument cluster. GT Line models offer the option of black-and-grey two-tone leather seats or black leather seats with red accents.

Regarding technology, Kia has integrated the latest advanced driving assistance systems into the vehicle's system, including Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, an Around View Monitor for effortless parking, and Driver Attention Warning for combating driver fatigue and misguiding distractions. Customers can choose between a 7-inch touchscreen or a newly added 'frameless' 8-inch infotainment system, providing more accessible connectivity options for the passengers.

The upgraded Kia Sportage sets a new benchmark in the medium-sized SUV segment with its improved design, advanced powertrain options, and comprehensive safety and infotainment features. Kia's commitment to electrification and environmental sustainability shines through in the Sportage, demonstrating the brand's forward-thinking approach to mobility.

Whether it's enhanced engine performance, refreshed exterior design, refined interior, or the latest technology, this vehicle offers a complete package to cater to various customers seeking a versatile and dynamic SUV.

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KIA Sportage photo gallery

In 2015 Kia introduced the fourth generation of its compact-sized crossover Sportage at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and the new model boasted a more refined look and upscale amenities.

The Korean automaker benefited from the experience gathered with the previous generation and understood better what customers wanted. Thus, the new generation came to satisfy and even overcome buyers' expectations. Even though the new features offered by the automaker raised the vehicle's price, Kia's fourth iteration of this nameplate outsold its predecessor.

With a look that boasted the swept-back headlights design and the tiger nose signature element imagined by Peter Schreyer, the 2015 Sportage (2017 model-year in the U.S.) had an elegant yet sporty look. The bodywork's fluid lines and flared wheel arches created a powerful image. In addition, the ascending beltline ended with an almost vertical kick toward the C-pillars resembled a hatchback design, while the raked-forward tailgate and the roof spoiler emphasized the sporty character of this SUV.

Inside, drivers were greeted by an instrument cluster that featured two large dials for the speedometer and tachometer, which flanked a black and white display between them. Kia also neatly integrated the infotainment display, available as an option, on the center stack. The high-mounted seats allowed the automaker to provide enough legroom for the rear-seated passengers. As an option, the automaker also provided an opening glass roof.

Kia installed a wide choice of engines, depending on the market. In addition, since many customers didn't want an all-wheel drive system, it offered the Sportage with a front-wheel drive as well.

REVIEW: 2017 Kia Sportage   full description and technical specifications
KIA Sportage photo gallery

Revealed in 2013 for the 2014, the new Sportage’s exterior design was heavily enhanced and made it stand out in the crowd.

The tiger nose grille, the sharp headlights and the beautiful lines on the side, together with the sweeping angles and the pronounced flares created a more aggressive look for the 2014 Sportage.

The small crossover offered seating for 5 and was offered in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX.

The standard features for the LX included cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio, a 6-speaker audio system with an Aux jack and USB port, as well as 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass and air conditioning.

The EX added bigger 18-inch alloys, automatic headlights, a cooled glovebox, upgraded upholstery, heated from seats and an upgraded Infinity audio system.

The SX trim level came with xenon headlights and LED taillights, however, the biggest difference was the turbocharged engine.

A panoramic roof was offered as a standalone option.

The new engine available for 2014 was a 2.4-liter engine that developed 182 hp that came with the LX and the EX trim levels.

The top of the range was equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produced 260 hp.

A 6-speed automatic transmission was standard, as well as a front-wheel-drive system. Optionally, a four-wheel-drive system was available.

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KIA Sportage photo gallery

The Kia Sportage has gone a long journey from a cheap off-road vehicle to a serious contender in the compact SUV segment. And the third generation was its big breakthrough.

In 2006, the designer of the Audi TT, Peter Schreyer, took the challenge to lead the design team of the Korean car-manufacturer Kia and the 2010 Sportage was the third model designed by him. Some of its cues were seen before on the Kia Kue concept-car in 2007.

The angled headlights and the grille with a bump on top and bottom were introduced as the "Tiger nose", the corporate grille introduced by its lead-designer. It didn't look like a station-wagon on stilts but more like a proper SUV with streamlined bodywork. The angular lines blended into an overall rounded shape was very appreciated by the customers.

Since the platform was designed for such vehicles, it offered enough room for five passengers and a big trunk. The infotainment system knew how to read MP3s files from a USB stick and it also had an AUX-in connection. Those features were not very common for many other cars on the road. Another unusual feature was a small LCD color-display inside the rearview mirror that showed images from the backup camera.

The 2010 Sportage featured a wide range of engines and three types of transmission. It was available as a 2WD or all-wheel-drive model. For base models, the standard gearbox was a 5-speed, while on others was the 6-speed manual or, as an option, a 6-speed automatic.

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KIA Sportage photo gallery

Kia introduced a facelift for the second generation of its small-sized SUV in 2008, improving both the look and the powertrain.

In 2008, the world was sinking under the financial crisis. Still, some carmakers had the opportunity to grow, and Kia was one of them. After a big sales hit with its compact-segment hatchback cee'd, the Korean carmaker turned its attention towards the Sportage, which was built on the Hyundai Accent platform, and it was quite appealing for the market.

Starting with January 2009, the Euro 5 emission standard came into force, and all the carmakers had to adjust their products. Some did that quietly, without too much fuss, while others took the opportunity to improve their look. The 2008 Sportage featured new headlights with clear lenses and redesigned bumpers. The design team installed a new grille, which looked simple but bold enough on the oval-shaped background.

Inside, there was a new Sirius satellite radio for selected markets. On the European version, only the iPod and USB connectivities were available. The USB and aux-in 3.5 mm jack were fitted as standard on the entire range. Kia installed a two-position cargo cover and four anchors for tie-down luggage in the trunk for selected trim levels.

Under the hood, all the engines were refreshed, including the 2.0-diesel version. A big surprise for its size category was the 2.7-liter gasoline unit, which was paired as standard to a 4-speed automatic transmission.

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KIA Sportage photo gallery

The second generation of the Sportage was hugely different than its predecessor, and, starting with the 2004 model, it came with unibody construction, replacing the body-on-frame solution that was previously used.

Hyundai bought Kia in 1998, and the second generation of the Sportage was one of their first joint projects. This time, Kia focused on the European market, and even if it shared its new crossover platform with the Hyundai Tucson, it sported a different design. In addition, the price was attractive, and the engine offer was excellent.

The car's exterior was humble, sporting a pair of headlights that resembled the biodesign era, which was already gone from trends. Moreover, the black, unpainted front and rear bumpers were nothing to write home about it. Still, the flared wheel arches and the profiled door panels resembled an off-road vehicle. But the overall design was decent, and the raked-forward C-pillar created a dynamic image for the small-sized crossover.

Inside, the automaker used hard plastic in many areas, trying to cut production costs. After all, the car's price was attractive. But the quality of the interior room and materials was better than on the previous Sportage. Its front bucket seats were comfortable, and customers appreciated the dashboard with its green-lit instrument panel. In addition, there was enough room for three passengers in the back, and the Sportage's large trunk could compete with many compact-sized MPVs.

Surprisingly for its segment and price range, the Sportage had a wide engine range, either gasoline or turbo-diesel. In addition, a 2.7-liter V6 and automatic transmissions were on the options lists.

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