The new Kia Sportage is the best looking to date, and it's now a plug-in hybrid

Studio shot showing the front of the Kia Sportage
(Image credit: Kia)

Kia's design is going from strength to strength, with the firm following up on its eye-catching, all-electric EV6 with its new Sportage full-size SUV for Europe.

The new Kia Sportage takes some clear design lessons from its fully electric sibling, and while the SUV is yet to completely ditch its internal combustion engine, it's taken a major step towards doing so.

That's because the 2022 model will be the first Sportage to offer a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain option. 

The current Sportage is available as a mild hybrid, but the new PHEV powertrain in the 2022 refresh will allow you to drive a significant distance in a fully electric mode.

The PHEV Sportage comes with an 1.6-litre T-GDI engine, 66.9kW electric motor and a 13.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. This delivers a total system power output of 265PS, with 180PS originating from the internal combustion engine.

Kia hasn't revealed the new Sportage's electric range just yet, but it has confirmed to TechRadar that it's aiming for a development target of 56km (around 34 miles). 

If it achieves that, it will be similar to the electric range offered by the plug-in Niro and Sorento SUVs.

Kia goes big-screen

Move inside and the most noticeable upgrade are the enhanced displays on the dash.

Kia has brought two full digital displays to the Sportage, with the first a large, 12.3-inch curved central touchscreen and the second a full screen for the instrument cluster, again 12.3 inches in size.

The Sportage will benefit from over-the-air (OTA) updates for software and maps, plus it will be compatible with the firm's smartphone application, allowing you to control various functions remotely.

You'll also find two USB ports and a wireless phone charging pad in the centre console, which back seat passengers also get treated to USB charging ports located on the side of the front seats - which is a little unusual.

This should, however, make them easier to access for those in the back, as these ports tend to be located near feet-level between the front two seats.

The European Kia Sportage will also be available with hybrid (HEV) and mild hybrid (MHEV) powertrain options when it goes on sale in early 2022 in the UK (and likely around the same time across Europe).

Specific model specification and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

Analysis: Kia is exceling with electrification

The plug-in hybrid Sportage is another positive step from Kia, which has excelled with its affordable electrification offerings.

Its all-electric Kia E-Niro and Soul EV are solid electric cars balancing range and technology which make them attractive offerings, while its extensive hybrid offering covers its Rio, Ceed, Stonic, Niro, Sportage and Sorento ranges.

The Sportage is a common car to see on European roads, which bodes well for the 2022 model and while the plug-in powertrain is likely to be the priciest, it's still likely to undercut the premium competition while offering a similar level of technology.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.