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Kia planning to pitch Sportage as a rival to Nissan Qashqai

Date: 11 June 2010

Kia's all-new Sportage due on sale later this year will rely heavily on the front-drive version within fleet thanks to impressively low CO2 figures.

While the first four-wheel drive cars arrive in the UK in August, front-drive cars, with smaller engines and lower emissions, don't arrive until October.

Kia is considering pitching the Sportage as a Qashqai rival and hatchback alternative, rather than as a 4x4. As a result, once all derivatives are available, 80% of sales will be of the front-drive versions.

Initial 4x4 Sportages will be available with either a 165hp 2.0-litre petrol or 135hp 2.0-litre diesel engine. These will be followed by front-drive versions powered by either a 139hp 1.6-litre petrol or a 114hp 1.7-litre diesel engine.

Although the front-drive cars are expected to account for the majority of sales thanks, in the 1.7 diesel's case, to a CO2 output of just 135g/km, even the 4x4 2.0-litre diesel, at 147g/km, comes in below the 160g/km capital allowance threshold many fleets have adopted as an upper limit for their fleet choice lists.

Kia Sportage product boss Kennith Hong also revealed the Korean brand was planning an even lower CO2 Sportage for 2011, with a 125g/km version of the 1.7-litre diesel.