Another South Korean automaker will participate in this year’s Rebelle Rally. Joining Hyundai is Kia with a race version of the new 2023 Sportage and the company’s American division has just released the first teaser image with the vehicle. Not all mechanical details are known at the moment but Kia shares some initial information.
The rendering attached at the top of this page shows a race-ready Sportage with off-road tires, a lifted suspension, additional underbody protection, and other hardware upgrades. Kia says the livery of the machine 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 preparations for the rally. A full debut is coming within the next few weeks.
This year’s Rebelle Rally kicks off on October 6. The eight-day, 1,500-mile event will start in a still undisclosed location in Nevada and the finishing line is in Southern California’s Imperial Sand Dunes. As a reminder, the Rebelle Rally isn’t a speed competition but is all about direction, hidden checkpoints, and time, with competitors using maps and a compass for direction. They’re not allowed to use cellphones or GPS, and race organizers collect cellphones at the start of the event to protect against potential cheaters.
We don’t know what engine the 2023 Sportage rally car will use but we suppose it will rely on the brand’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In this application, it makes 187 horsepower (138 kilowatts) and 178 pound-feet (242 Newton-meters) of torque. The new Sportage also has hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains and they are also a likely option for the rally car.
Earlier this year, Hyundai also announced it will participate in the 2022 Rebelle Rally with a slightly modified version of the Santa Cruz truck. Equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter mill mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, the vehicle will be driven by automotive writers Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw.