Kia has turned its off-roader into a literal vehicle for conservation.
Kia has built, customized, and donated one of its more rugged crossovers to a nonprofit dedicated to "the conservation and rehabilitation of the endangered sea turtle population." The crossover in question is the Sportage X-Pro, the off-road variant of Kia's new Sportage, which debuted last year.
The Sportage X-Pro went to South Padre Island-based Sea Turtle Inc., which will use it to aid in its conservation efforts. Kia has made some changes to the already-capable off-roader. Not that it was needed, as a stock Sportage competed in this year's Rebelle Rally- the longest off-road rally in America.
Kia has made changes inside and out. We've included photos of a stock Sportage X-Pro we tested in Colorado for reference. Kia says it carefully considered "performance, convenience, functionality, and operation, especially when driven in areas in which sea turtle nests are present."
A custom paint job features "Turtle Charged" badging, and Kia has also fitted a specifically modified tow hitch for the organization. The car's lights were changed to that workers can switch to red lights at will, as this color is found to be better tolerated by migrating sea turtles.
Larger, lower-pressure tires were fitted for navigating sandy beaches, as well as new wheels. A roof basket and ladder were also fitted.
Inside, modifications have been made for the storage and transport of eggs, hatchlings, and adult sea turtles. Kia doesn't specifically state what these modifications were, but we're sure the Sportage can accommodate a large sea turtle with the seats folded down. The brand states that more details will be rolled out on social media by both in short order.
The donation is part of a larger partnership with Sea Turtles Inc. that began in April this year. On top of the car, Kia has paid for upgrades to the organization's facilities.