The all-new Kia Sportage SUV has made its world premiere at the Mondial de L’Automobile in Paris.

The new Sportage offers three engines, two drive-trains, two transmissions, two equipment levels and a wide range of premium options. It also offers the ‘diesel engine plus automatic’ combination that is popular with European buyers, but rarely available on a small SUV.

Customers can choose a ‘Monotone’ exterior finish that paints all external components in body colour. They will also be able to opt for Kia’s ‘Premium Package’ interior that features top quality, orange-brown leather upholstery and trim, with brushed aluminium and chrome metal detailing, to contrast with the black trim panels and deep-pile carpets.

The Sportage is said to be longer (4350 mm), wider (1800 mm) and higher (1695 mm) than the average small SUV, and features a new ‘FlatFold’ rear seating system which lowers the cushion into the rear foot well and ensures the backrest folds down to create a spacious, square-sided, flat-floor cargo area. This operation can be carried out without removing the rear head restraints. With the rear seat folded, the length of the load area extends to 1635 mm and longer items can be accommodated by folding the front passenger seat backrest.

The most popular Sportage engine choice is expected to be the 2.0-litre CRDi turbocharged diesel, which generates 112 ps at 4,000 rpm and torque of 245.2 Nm between 1,800 and 2,500 rpm. For customers who prefer petrol, the 2-litre, 142 ps engine comes with continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and the compact 2.7-litre, 175 ps V6 powers the fastest model to 100 km/h in just over 10 seconds.

The Sportage can be ordered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, depending on model. The full-time four-wheel drive system senses when one or both driven front wheels lose grip and automatically diverts up to 50% of engine power to the rear wheels. If necessary, the driver can engage 4WD at low speeds, dividing power evenly, 50%-50% to the front and rear wheels.

Sportage is fitted with fully independent suspension systems, front and rear, and every Sportage comes with 16 inch alloy wheels, fitted with 215/65 R16 tyres. The all-disc braking system has anti-lock ABS with EBD as standard.  Kia anticipates a 4-Star rating in crash safety tests.

The Sportage is equipped with an ‘intelligent’ airbag system which gauges the severity of an impact and side airbags, curtain airbags, traction control and an electronic stability program are available.

The New Sportage goes on sale in Europe next month.