New 2022 Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid SUV: prices, specs and on-sale date

First plug-in-hybrid Kia Sportage offers 43-mile electric range and up to 252mpg; prices start from £38,395

Kia has revealed that the plug-in hybrid version of the latest fifth-generation Sportage SUV can cover up to 43 miles on electric power alone. The Nissan QashqaiCitroen C5 Aircross, Ford Kuga and Vauxhall Grandland rival can also return up to 252mpg fuel economy, while CO2 emissions stand at 25g/km.

As a result, the first Kia Sportage PHEV attracts an extremely low 8% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax rate during the 2022/23 financial year – nearly a quarter of the rate for diesel versions. Those potential savings will be important in the buying decision, because while prices for the entry-level Sportage start from just under £27,000, rising to £33,245 for the full-hybrid, the plug-in version starts from £38,395 to £43,795 depending on trim level.

Not only is this the first time Kia has launched a Sportage PHEV, but this is also a European-specific version of the family SUV. It retains much of the international version’s styling and interior, but has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall is more compact, making it better suited to European roads.

We’ve already driven the Sportage Hybrid in the UK – you can read our full impressions here – but so far have only taken a prototype of the Sportage PHEV out for a spin. First customer deliveries will begin in April 2022.

New Kia Sportage powertrains

The plug-in hybrid powertrain available in the new Sportage consists of a 1.6-litre petrol engine, electric motor and a 13.8kWh lithium-ion battery that we first saw in its sister car, the Hyundai Tucson. Total power output is 261bhp and 350Nm of torque, with Kia claiming an electric driving range of 43 miles in mixed conditions, or 48 miles if you stick to urban areas.

According to Kia, the Sportage PHEV can also return up to 252mpg fuel economy, with CO2 emissions of just 25g/km. 0-62mph takes 7.9 seconds, while fully recharging the 13.8kWh battery from a home wallbox will take just under two hours. 

For those who aren’t able to charge their car up regularly, the new Sportage is also available with a full-hybrid powertrain that uses a 227bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine coupled with a smaller 1.49kWh battery and electric motor. There’s a mild-hybrid petrol powertrain option as well, but there are currently no plans for Kia to produce a fully electric version of the new Sportage.

The Sportage offers several drive modes, including a default, Comfort, Eco and Sport, as well as a Terrain Mode, for tackling snow, mud or sand.

Interior, technology and practicality

Inside, the new Sportage features two 12.3-inch displays – one central touchscreen for the infotainment, and another information display ahead of the driver - much like the setup in the EV6. There’s also a wireless smartphone charging pad on the centre console below.

The Sportage also gets Kia’s DriveWise ADAS package, which includes several safety features, including forward collision avoidance, smart cruise control, blind-spot collision avoidance and highway driving assistance. The latter can maintain a set speed and distance from the vehicle in front on the motorway and keeps the car in the centre of its lane.

The new Sportage is also compatible with the Kia Connect app, which allows you to check if the car is locked, and can tell you where you last parked it, too. While the Remote Smart Parking Assist system allows you to remotely park or get out of a parking space from outside the car.

While the Sportage in the UK is smaller than the model sold in other territories, according to Kia, the European version still offers more luggage capacity, headroom and legroom than the outgoing model. Specifically, Kia claims it will feature best-in-class legroom for the rear passengers.

The European-spec Sportage offers up to 591 litres of boot space – 100 more than the current generation. Plus, folding the 40:20:40 split rear seats down allows for 1,780 litres of space in total. However, the plug-in hybrid version gets a slightly smaller 540-litre boot; folding the rear seats down increases that to 1,715 litres.

Trim levels and equipment

GT-Line (£38,395) is the first trim level you can get the plug-in powertrain with; it has 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black exterior trim, rear privacy glass, suede and leather upholstery, LED headlights and daytime running lights, plus keyless entry and start and a 12.3-inch central infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Upgrading to 3 spec adds the 12.3-inch digital instrument display, black cloth and faux leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and steering wheel, plus smart cruise control and highway driving assist. Grade 4 gets a panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon sound system, wireless phone charger, LED adaptive headlights and additional safety features. The plug-in hybrid Sportage is priced from £39,595 and £41,795 respectively in 3 and 4 spec. 

At the top of the range is GT-Line S trim, which starts from £43,795 with plug-in hybrid power and adds artificial leather and suede upholstery, as well as ventilated front seats, the option of a two-tone black roof, a smart powered tailgate and 10-way driver’s and eight-way front passenger’s power-adjustable seats.

Design

This latest evolution of the Sportage has been developed collaboratively by Kia's design teams in Asia, the US and Europe.

Speaking about the new Sportage's design, the head of Kia's Global Design Centre, Karim Habib, said: "Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design."

The Sportage is the latest model to use the firm's 'Opposites United' design philosophy. Its front end features dramatic arrow-shaped daytime running lights, which separate the diamond-shaped headlights from the rest of the grille. Kia's recently refreshed logo design is prominent in the middle of the bonnet, while the window line tapers sharply as it approaches the rear of the car.

Inside, the design is clean and simple, with sculpted air vents shaped around the edges of two large screens that run together to create the illusion of a single large dashboard display extending behind the steering wheel. A number of physical controls can still be seen under the central air vents and on the centre console, however.

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