August 1 sale date for Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage, the Japanese manufacturer’s new compact SUV, has been developed especially for UK roads and drivers before it is released in August this year.

Kia has previously developed the Soul, Venga and Sorento specifically for the UK because it is Kia’s biggest European market.

Kia’s UK Managing Director Michael Cole says the new model will appeal to existing and new buyers because it has been tailored to the UK’s road conditions.

He said: "Great efforts are made to ensure that our new products not only look and feel ‘European’ but that they perform just as UK customers want them to.

"Sportage has been in the UK for over fifteen years – I’m convinced that the new generation’s striking design and great on-road ability will find favour with both our loyal existing customers and people who are new to the Kia brand."

However, Kia is keen to stress the Sportage will be suitable for other European markets. The suspension, including springs, dampers, stabiliser bars and bushes, was developed on European roads and the tyres and steering have a ‘European feel’, says Kia.

The striking design of the new Sportage comes courtesy of ex-Audi design guru Peter Schreyer, who said: "It embodies Kia’s new-found visual dynamism by successfully taking the key features of an off-road vehicle – the raised ground clearance, the commanding driving position and heightened sense of security – and enveloping them in a sleek and urban-friendly design with global appeal.

Despite the UK-centric development, the facelifted Kia Sportage has been produced in the Zilina plant in Slovakia alongside the Kia c’eed and will be imported into the UK for a launch on 1 August.

Prices have not been announced for the Sportage but it expected to be priced in the £15,000-£20,000 range.