Kia Rolls Out New Urban Ute
South Koreans unveil the all-new 2011 Sportage, as well as a hybrid concept.
Kia's presence in Europe is growing bigger by the day, just as it is in the U.S. And with the introduction of the new Sportage here at the Geneva Motor Show, that's only going to get bigger. Following in the footsteps of the slick Soul, the 2011 Sportage shows that this South Korean automaker's ability to design cool-looking cars is as strong as ever.
Chunky and modern looking, the Sportage wears Kia's new corporate grille design with pride and is every inch the modern SUV crossover. And it'll give Nissan's face-lifted Qashqai something to watch out for.
Although bigger in every dimension than the outgoing Sportage (the all-new version will have more space for occupants and luggage), Kia makes no bones about the fact this is one SUV designed exclusively for the urban jungle.
New engines are also coming in with the Sportage, including a 2.0-liter diesel that develops 136 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque and — further ahead — a 115-horse 1.7-liter diesel and a 140-horse 1.6 GDI gasoline engine with direct injection. (These diesel powertrains are currently not availalble for the U.S. market).
Kia isn't being shy with the tech, either. The Sportage offers parking assist for parallel parking, which is just as well, because the visibility out of those shallow windows isn't all that good.
Kia Goes Electric
Looking further ahead, Kia has also brought its Ray plug-in hybrid concept to Geneva. Fresh from its first showing in Chicago, the Ray previews hybrid technology and a vision for Kia design in the future.
"Being green doesn't have to be an obvious statement anymore," says Kia's design chief Peter Schreyer. "The Kia Ray exemplifies a viable blend of modern, eco-minded features for today's environmentally conscious consumers."
At the core is a hybrid drivetrain that uses a combination of electric power and a conventional 1.4-liter direct injection gasoline engine. Charged at home, the Ray will cover 50 miles on electric power alone.
But if you need to go farther, the gas engine can also step in, boosting the range to 746 miles — equivalent to 202 mpg. Driving through a continuously variable transmission, both motors drive the front wheels, making the system a viable option for conventional hatchbacks.
Don't get your hopes up yet: The Ray is pure show-floor concept, complete with sci-fi touch-screen controls, "steer by wire," a lithium-polymer battery and solar panels in the roof. It's not something in the production pipeline. However, it does feature technology that could be used in future Kia models, the company says.