Kia Sportage Race Car Teased For This Year’s Rebelle Rally

Another South Korean automaker will participate in this year’s Rebelle Rally. Joining Hyundai is Kia with a racing version of the new Sportage 2023 and the company’s American division has just released the first teaser images with the vehicle. Not all the mechanical details are known at this time, but Kia did share some preliminary information.

The renders posted at the top of this page show a race-ready Sportage with off-road tires, raised suspension, additional underbody protection, and other hardware improvements. Kia says the engine livery is inspired by its new slogan “Movement that Inspires” and features a gray, white and black color scheme. In general, Kia explains the Sportage X-Pro will undergo “minimal” modifications in preparation for the rally. The full debut is coming in the next few weeks.

This year’s Rebelle Rally kicks off on October 6. The eight-day, 1,500-mile event will begin at an undisclosed location in Nevada and finish at the Imperial Sand Dunes of Southern California. As a reminder, Rebelle Rally is not a speed competition but all about directions, hidden checkpoints, and timing, with competitors using maps and compasses for directions. They are not allowed to use cell phones or GPS, and race organizers collect cell phones at the start of the event to protect against potential cheaters.

We don’t know what engine the Sportage 2023 rally car will use, but we suspect it will rely on the brand’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In this application, it produces 187 horsepower (138 kilowatts) and 178 pound-feet (242 Newton-meters) of torque. The new Sportage also has a hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain and they are also likely options for rally cars.

Earlier this year, Hyundai also announced it would participate in the 2022 Rebelle Rally with a slightly modified version of the Santa Cruz truck. Fitted with a 2.0-liter turbo engine mated to an eight-speed automatic clutch, the vehicle will be driven by automotive writers Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw.

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