Kia has announced details of its new Sportage 4×4, due to go on sale in the UK in January.

The new Sportage will be offered with a choice of three engines (2.0-litre CRDi diesel, 2.0-litre 16-valve CVVT petrol and the 2.7-litre V6 petrol), two transmissions and two equipment levels. For the first time there will be a diesel engine option available coupled with an automatic transmission with manual mode.

All models incorporate Kia’s 4×4 system with Active Torque Transfer which progressively transfers drive from front-only to all four wheels if slippage is detected. In severe conditions 4WD can be manually engaged to override the programme.

The rear seats fold 60/40 and completely flat with a one-touch operation and without the need to remove headrests, leaving a large load area. The front passenger seat can also be flattened to make it possible to carry long loads.

The Sportage loses its rear door-mounted spare wheel, which has been relocated to under the boot floor allowing easier access to the load area. The glass screen opens independently making loading or unloading of small items much easier in confined spaces.

Safety features include twin front airbags as well as front side and curtain airbags fitted as standard, as are anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control system, front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters and 3-point rear seatbelts for all passengers. Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is standard on XS models.

Every Sportage comes with a large-capacity lockable glove box, remote central door locking, an electronic engine immobiliser and a perimeter alarm.

Kia UK plans to sell just over 4,000 Sportages in 2005 achieving a 5% share of the sector by the end of the year.

Prices start at £14,495 for the Sportage XE 2.0 petrol, rising to £18,695 for the Sportage XS 2.7 V6 + Premium Pack.