Kia Australia is keen on bringing a hybrid version of its new Sportage to market next year, to rival the big-selling, mildly-electrified Toyota RAV4.

    Full data on the hybrid drivetrain is now available on Kia’s Korean public site, so we can get an idea of what to expect from it.

    The drivetrain pairs the regular Sportage’s 130kW and 265Nm turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 44kW and 264Nm electric motor.

    We believe system outputs to be 169kW and 350Nm.

    As with all hybrids the motor is powered by a battery, supplied with charge by brake-energy recuperation and the engine-generator.

    Intriguingly, while the petrol-only Sportage pairs the 1.6-litre turbo engine to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto (DCT), the Sportage hybrid’s spec sheet lists the transmission as a ‘6-speed automatic’, potentially the torque-converter type.

    Kia’s site also lists front-wheel drive as the sole option, though it’s not yet clear if all-wheel drive will become available as it is in the RAV4 and Subaru Forester Hybrid.

    Fuel consumption is listed at 5.9 to 6.0 litres per 100km. By contrast on the same Korean cycle a Sportage petrol uses 8.0L/100km and the diesel 6.8L/100km. In urban driving the gulf widens: 5.7L/100km for the hybrid, 7.5L/100km for the diesel.

    As we reported back in June, Kia’s Australia division wants to bring the hybrid Sportage here shortly after the petrol and diesel models, which are due in the final quarter of 2021. A premiere before the halfway point of 2022 is expected.

    “We are pretty keen and seriously looking at the [Sportage] hybrid,” Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning Roland Rivero told CarExpert in June. “We just need to make sure the numbers work for us. We think it can.”

    A hybrid version of the roomier new Sportage would give the top-selling Toyota RAV4 Hybrid some stiff competition.

    The fuel-sipping Toyota is subject to months-long wait lists as demand continues to outstrip supply well into its life cycle. About 73 per cent of RAVs sold this year were the faster, more efficient, and $2500 pricer hybrid model.

    Other hybrid medium SUVs available are the Subaru Forester e-Boxer, while the recently-confirmed Haval H6 Hybrid is due by year’s end.

    Frustratingly for Hyundai, the Tucson Hybrid probably won’t come to Australia because of sourcing issues – right-hand drive production of the hybrid and PHEV versions is restricted to its Czech factory, which makes the car expensive and limits supply.

    By contrast, we expect the Korean plant that builds RHD Sportage petrol and diesel models will also make the Sportage HEV.

    Beyond regular hybrids, we’re also seeing steady increases to the number of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) medium SUVs offered – Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVMG HS PHEVFord Escape PHEV (early 2022), Peugeot 3008 PHEV (late 2021) – to Australian buyers.

    Kia will certainly offer a Sportage PHEV in Europe where emissions regulations drive their take-up, but Kia Australia is cooler on this idea.

    “The PHEV is probably something we will keep on the back burner,” Mr Rivero told us.

    Read all about the brand new Kia Sportage here.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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