Kia Sportage First generation
|Assembly||South Korea: Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Germany: Osnabrück Russia: Avtotor Plant, Kaliningrad|
|Body style||3-door convertible 5-door wagon|
|Layout||Front-engine, rear-wheel drive Front-engine, four-wheel drive|
|Engine||2.0 L FE I4 (gasoline) 2.0 L FE DOHC I4 (gasoline) 2.0 L RF I4 (diesel)|
|Transmission||4-speed automatic 5-speed manual|
Sportage was sold in either a five-door wagon or a two-door soft-top convertible. Kia initially developed the wagon in standard length form, but in circa 1996, the company released an extended length version. This stretched model—mainly sold in Asian markets under the name "Sportage Grand"—featured a 305 mm (12.0 in) longer body utilising the same wheelbase, an increase in luggage capacity from 1,570 to 2,220 liters (55.4 to 78.4 cu ft), and the relocation of the spare wheel from the tailgate to underneath the floor.
Kia offered three Mazda-sourced engines in the Sportage, beginning with the 2.0-liter FE DOHC inline-four gasoline unit producing 95 kW (128 hp) and the 2.0-liter RF inline-four diesel rated at 61 kW (82 hp). Diesel-engined models were mostly restricted to European markets, as was the more basic single overhead camshaft (SOHC) version of the 2.0-liter FE gasoline inline-four. Delivering 87 kW (117 hp), this gasoline engine was available from 2000 onwards. In North America, the 2.0-liter FE DOHC engine produced 130 hp (97 kW) and had optional four-wheel drive. The 1998 model year Kia Sportage was the world's first production vehicle to be equipped with a knee airbag.
This first generation model (1993–2002) sold in low numbers even domestically in South Korea, and post-Hyundai takeover models (1997–2002) were recalled twice for rear wheels dismounting while driving. The first generation Sportage was discontinued in South Korea in 2002, and in North America after the 2002 model year. By 2003, most international markets had discontinued the Sportage range, although it did remain on sale in some developing countries until its second generation replacement arrived in 2004.
The Kia Sportage scored the lowest possible result in the Australian ANCAP crashtests – one star out of five. As well as a failure of the seatbelts, the vehicle structure collapsed.