It will surprise exactly no one that this year’s L.A. Auto Show has been home to several reveals of various and sundry electrified vehicles. Some, like the Kia Sportage Hybrid, are existing rigs with some electrons infused into their body. Others, such as this K9 Concept, are built from the ground up as an all-electric vehicle.
We’ll start with the Sportage Hybrid, since it’s far more likely our readers will see one in their neighborhood any time soon. Pegged as a 2023 model, it is a hybrid iteration of the completely redesigned Sportage which was unveiled just a few short weeks ago. Arriving early next year, the Hybrid variant combines a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasser with a 44-kilowatt motor, working in concert to produce 226 horsepower. It’ll be available as either front- or all-wheel drive, and Kia is targeting a 39 mpg rating once it is officially certified by government eggheads.
A 1.49kWh battery won’t win any capacity awards, but that’s not the point of this type of powertrain. The electric motor and battery are intended to play in a Best Supporting Actor role, supplementing the gasoline-powered engine to boost fuel efficiency. No mention is made of electric-only capabilities, though a total range of ‘over 500 miles’ is stated in the bumf. A six-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.
It doesn’t hurt that the new Sportage is 7.1 inches longer than the old one, a measure which surely helps when trying to find space for a hybrid system battery pack. The extra size should also improve passenger legroom, while separating it from the new(ish) Seltos in terms of where it fits in the Kia pecking order. The company is tossing the kitchen sink at this Sportage interior, with an available dual panoramic curved display connecting two screens – a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and equally-sized infotainment screen.
On the other side of the stage, Kia introduced the Concept EV9. This vehicle – or a version of it – will sit atop the brand’s all-electric crossover lineup, one which includes the nifty EV6 shown earlier this year. Teasers suggested the Concept EV9 would have a shape similar to the popular Telluride, and that assumption was pretty accurate with that model being spoken of during the EV9 presentation.
Developed on the E-GMP architecture, the vehicle measures 194 inches in length, 81 inches in width, 70 inches in height and has a wheelbase of 122 inches. As a yardstick, the Telluride is about 3 inches longer, a couple of inches narrower, but has a wheelbase almost 8 inches bigger. It’s roughly the same height. The all-electric SUV concept is said to deliver a driving range of up to 300 miles and is supposed to play well with the fancy next-gen 350-kW charging stations. This should permit it to replenish energy from 10 to 80 percent in 20 – 30 minutes, according to Kia. And peep those sky-high concept taillamps – Cadillac influence, anyone? Or Volvo, for that matter.
The EV9 remains a concept for now, but Sportage Hybrid models should start appearing on dealer lots early next year.
[Images: Kia Livestream, © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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