Hopefully, it's third time lucky for the South Korean brand.
Kia is returning to the Rebelle Rally for the third year in a row, this time in the recently introduced Sportage X-Pro.
The all-new 2023 Sportage X-Pro will compete in the X-Cross class, and Kia ensured that it has all the goodies it needs to tackle this challenging, all-female cross-country navigational challenge.
Since the Sportage is already a good platform, the X-Pro is minimally modified compared to the rest of the AWD range. The standard off-road hardware is good enough, so Kia is simply adding a set of B.F. Goodrich all-terrain tires and 17-inch wheels to increase the ground clearance to 8.3 inches.
So far, a victory has eluded Kia. Two 2022 Sorento PHEVs earned podium spots in the X-Class in 2021, while a 2020 Telluride scored second in the 2020 rally. Hopefully, the Sportage X-Pro can achieve the top spot, but Kia faces some tough competition. Hyundai is entering for the first time in a Santa Cruz, and you can bet all the old favorites like the Ford Bronco Sport and Jeep Wrangler will also be there to defend their titles.
"As a long-standing member of Kia's vehicle lineup and with its off-road-ready features, the Sportage X-Pro is well equipped to battle the rugged terrain and challenging off-road conditions of the Rebelle Rally," said Steve Center, COO & EVP, Kia America. "We are excited to root for this year's team who will showcase how the all-new Sportage doesn't just look ready for an off-road adventure - it is ready."
"We're excited to welcome Kia back to the Rebelle Rally with the Sportage X-Pro," said Emily Miller, founder of the Rebelle Rally. "With the unpredictable and challenging nature of the course, we look forward to seeing how the Sportage X-Pro can successfully handle this year's topography."
The Rebelle Rally is not about speed but rather about blending the love of driving with the challenge of precise navigation. This year's rally takes place over eight days, and teams will have to find headings and hidden checkpoints using nothing but a map, compass, and a roadbook. No navigational equipment or smartphones are allowed.
Details about this year's team, vehicle builds, and photos will be revealed closer to the start of the Rebelle Rally, which runs from October 6-15.