Kia Motors has released first details of its redesigned Sportage SUV. First introduced in 1993, the model is Kia’s best-seller globally, with 568,720 export sales.

The redesigned model will make its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show in September 2004.

Compared to competitors in its class such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V, the Sportage has a longer wheelbase and is wider and higher and is claimed to outclass its competition in terms of interior dimensions, with more leg room, second row seating headroom, and total interior volume.

Engine options are two-litre in-line four cylinder and 2.7 V6 petrol and a two-litre diesel. The two-litre engines will come with a choice of manual or automatic transmission and the V6 is auto-only. An  electronic full-time 4-wheel drive system is standard.

The spare wheel is under the cargo area floor and the top-hinged tailgate has a separate flip-up window.

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Safety features including anti-lock brakes and traction control system, curtain and side airbags, and electronic stability programme.

Production will begin in early September for Europe and general markets and in the end of October for North America. Total annual export sales volume is predicted to be 100,000 units with more 60,000 units destined for North America and 20,000 for Europe.