The previous Sportage has been around for more than a decade and since its launch in 1993 it has been a sales hit for the Korean car manufacturer, selling 568 720 units.
With the new Sportage, Kia hopes to take the small SUV market by storm where it will rival cars such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and the Hyundai Tucson.
However, the Sportage shares its design, technology and engineering with the Tucson.
A range of engines that focus on driveability and low running costs were selected and mated to a drivetrain that provides maximum efficiency by driving the front wheels in normal tarmac conditions, only sending torque to the rear axle when required or when the driver uses the manual override facility.
In terms of dimensions, Kia claims that the Sportage has one of the longest wheelbases and track widths in its segment.
The 2 630 mm dimension results in a spacious interior.
This SUV has a 28.8 degree approach angle and a 28.9 degree departure angle. Ground clearance is just shy of 20 cm, at 195 mm.
The Sportage comes with two petrol engines, a 2-litre and 2.7-litre V6, and a 2-litre diesel unit. Both 2-litre models are available with manual and automatic transmissions, while the V6 is only available with the latter.
Also standard is a electronic full-time 4-wheel drive system.
The Sportage is also equipped with safety features such as ABS and traction control system (TCS), curtain and side airbags, and electronic stability program (ESP).
2.0 litre (petrol)
104 kW at 6 000 r/min
184 Nm at 4 500 r/min.
2.7 V6 (petrol)
129 kW at 6 000 r/min
241 Nm at 4 000 r/min.
2.0 CRDi (diesel)
82.5 kW at 4 000 r/min
245 Nm between 1 800 and 2 500 r/min.
The 4x4 derivatives boast a rear-mounted and electronically-controlled multiplate clutch, which rapidly diverts torque to the rear wheels when conditions demand it.
This means that the Sportage is front-wheel-driven under normal conditions, which brings with it a number of advantages in terms of fuel efficiency and refinement.
The allocation of torque front to rear is seamlessly controlled by the Engine Control Unit, which analyses factors such as wheel speed, throttle position and steering angle and then transfers up to half of the available torque rearwards.
Alternatively, four-wheel-drive can be permanently selected simply by pressing the "4WD Lock" button, in which mode equal torque goes to the front and back axles.
At 30 km/h it will however begin to reduce torque to the rear and by 40 km/h the vehicle will revert to front-wheel-drive.
The converse also applies and as speed drops below these thresholds the vehicle becomes four wheel drive once again, assuming that the lock control is still engaged.
Designed to provide safety as well as enhanced off-road ability, all 4x4 models also feature a traction control system, which, by using the anti-lock braking sensors to detect wheelspin, will restrict slippage by applying the brakes to a given wheel.
2.0 4x2 manual: R199 995
2.0 4x2 auto: R 224 995.
2.0 4x4 manual: R 224 995
2.0 4x4 auto: R 239 995
2.7 V6 4x4 auto: R249 995.
2.0 CRDi 4x4 manual: R 249 995
2.0 CRDi 4x4 auto: R 259 995
The Sportage is sold with a 3 year/100 000 km warranty, plus a 4years/100 000km maintenance plan and is supplied with a 3 year unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan.