Kia Sportage debuts at Geneva

Distinctive Kia design DNA, employed under the guidance of ex-Audi design expert Peter Schreyer, is instantly recognisable in the new, compact Sportage.

The third generation of the Sportage is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing model and features a new bodyshell and engine choices.

A ‘tiger’ face grille and a clamshell bonnet are taken from the 2007 Kia Kee concept car. The five-seat SUV has been given a commanding driving position, raised ride height and roof-rails to emphasise its off-road abilities.

For the first time, the Kia Sportage will be offered in both front and four-wheel drive models. The two-wheel drive 2.0-litre diesel model offers CO2 emissions of 147g/km – considerably less than the outgoing model.

The Sportage will initially be introduced with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. A choice five or six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission will be offered to Sportage buyers.

The second-generation Kia Sportage was introduced in 2004 and sold 860,000 units worldwide. The third-generation model will be released in summer 2010 as competition for the Nissan Qashqai crossover and the Volkswagen Golf family hatchback.

Kia Sportage prices will be announced closer to the release date, although entry-level models are expected to be in the region of £15,000.