The Sportage, Kia’s best-selling car in the UK, Europe and globally, is celebrating its 30th birthday having gone on-sale worldwide in 1993. The Sportage was introduced in the UK two years later, with sales commencing in 1995.
Over 30 years, the Sportage SUV has seen four generations come and go, and is now represented by the fifth generation. Over its five generations, Kia has sold more than seven million examples of the Sportage worldwide, including over 384,000 in the UK alone.
Across the same timespan, the Sportage has transformed from a utilitarian, rugged SUV into a more luxurious and comfortable car aimed at young families and professionals. The SUV market has grown dramatically over the past 30 years, with a high seating position and ample space for all now very much in demand among customers in the UK and around the world.
Over its lifetime, the Sportage has proven to be an incredibly popular and important vehicle with fleets and businesses, thanks to its affordable pricing, low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rates, and focus on economy and practicality. The Sportage is frequently named as the number one compact SUV choice for business users, topping sales charts and winning numerous fleet awards. A plug-in hybrid model was introduced with the latest generation Sportage for the first time.
If every Sportage sold in the UK since its introduction to the market in 1995 was lined up bumper-to-bumper, the line of cars would stretch from Kia UK’s head offices in Walton-on-Thames, more than 870 miles to the plant where the Sportage has been manufactured since 2007 in Žilina, Slovakia – and 197 miles back again.
Available with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid or petrol mild hybrid powertrains, and a comprehensive array of trim levels, the Sportage offers more choice than ever and has accumulated a well-stocked cabinet of awards over its 30-year lifespan.
Having first emerged into the public eyeline in endurance rallying, becoming the first car to ever complete the both the Paris-Dakar rally in 1993 and the Baja 1000 in 1995, the Sportage has clearly stood the test of time over the last 30 years.
Words by Mark Slack