The forthcoming Kia Sportage Hybrid has now been approved for sale in Australia, but it appears it will only be offered in front-wheel drive guise locally.

Kia Australia has already confirmed it will launch the Sportage Hybrid during the first quarter of 2024.

Government approval documents list the Sportage Hybrid will be powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 132kW, mated with an electric motor, battery pack and six-speed automatic transmission.

This petrol-electric powertrain is shared with the larger Sorento Hybrid, which has total system outputs of 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Unlike the Sorento Hybrid, as well as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Nissan X-Trail e-Power, the Sportage Hybrid will only have drive sent to the front wheels.

There is an all-wheel drive version of the Sportage Hybrid available in other markets, though it’s not included in the government approval documents, meaning it’s not yet approved for local sale.

Kia Australia declined to comment on whether the Sportage Hybrid will be front-wheel drive-only locally.

In addition, the approval documents list the Sportage Hybrid has a tare mass of 1707kg which is 52kg lighter than the turbo-diesel all-wheel drive variant.

The Sportage Hybrid also has a braked towing capacity of 1650kg and an unbraked towing capacity of 750kg.

At this stage it’s unclear which variant or variants Kia Australia will offer the Sportage Hybrid in locally.

Kia Australia has previously indicated it’s looking to offer more than one variant. CarExpert understands a top-spec GT-Line will be offered, as well as a low- or mid-spec grade in line with the existing S or SX specification.

The government approval documents list the Sportage Hybrid will be offered with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, with optional 18-inch units.

Other optional equipment available on the Sportage Hybrid, according to the approval documents, includes a sunroof and the remote smart parking assistance.

As previously reported, Australian-specification Sportage Hybrid models will be sourced from South Korea and will use the same long-wheelbase body style as the rest of the non-electrified range.

Kia Australia product planning general manager Roland Rivero told CarExpert in June there will be “better supply [for the Sportage Hybrid] than what you’ve seen of Sorento [Hybrid and PHEV]”, confirming Kia Australia is aiming for around 200 examples per month.

Kia was forced to close order books for the Sorento Hybrid and PHEV late last year due to growing backorders and poor supply of electrified variants – which were maxing out at 20 HEVs and 10 PHEVs per month.

It’s expected orders for these will reopen when the facelifted model arrives later in 2023.

Once the Kia Sportage Hybrid goes on sale locally it’ll have stiff competition from the likes of the in-demand Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, as well as the GWM Haval H6 Hybrid, Honda CR-V e:HEV, Nissan X-Trail e-Power, and Subaru Forester Hybrid.

The Haval H6 and CR-V are also offered exclusively with front-wheel drive in Australia.

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Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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