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The new Kia Sportage builds comprehensively on the success of the outgoing model, offering an innovative and sophisticated package to buyers in an increasingly competitive compact SUV market.
The completely redesigned interior features high quality materials and design integrity, as well as great practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety.
The fourth-generation Kia Sportage features a bold new look, with the vehicle’s designers creating a sense of sporty and powerful energy from every angle. The attractive ‘face’ of the Sportage features the biggest change to the car’s design over the outgoing model, with Kia’s hallmark ‘tiger-nose’ grille and the car’s headlamps separated for the new model.
The headlamps are now positioned higher, sweeping back along the outer edges of the sharply-detailed bonnet. A lower, wider grille – enlarged to support greater engine cooling – adds more volume to the lower half of the Sportage’s face. The result is a more imposing appearance and a more stable-looking stance, despite the new model retaining the same width as its predecessor. GT Line models develop the exterior look further, featuring new ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lamps and aluminium-effect skid plates.
At the rear, the new Sportage features more horizontal forms and clearly defined features lines, with smooth bodywork on the tailgate, emphasizing the car’s width and giving the compact SUV a more stable appearance. The Kia Sportage GT Line also features dual exhaust mufflers and metal-effect rear underbody diffuser for a sportier appearance.
One of the most significant improvements over the third-generation car is the interior. The cabin boasts a high standard of material quality, with a far greater proportion of soft-touch materials and the use of cloth, leather and stitching creating a more luxurious ambience. Thanks to increased exterior and interior dimensions, the vehicle’s development teams were able to offer greater space and comfort for all passengers.
Safety is a top priority and the Sportage builds on the brand’s reputation for offering the highest standards in occupant and pedestrian crash safety. The fourth-generation of Kia’s best-seller has been engineered to meet the toughest and most demanding crash safety tests, thanks to an even stronger bodyshell, a wide array of passive safety equipment and the latest active safety and autonomous hazard avoidance technologies and scored a maximum possible five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash performance tests.
A total of six airbags are standard, further improving passive safety for occupants, with airbags for driver and front passenger, first row side airbags, and first and second row curtain airbags. Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system helps ensure stability under braking and cornering through careful management of the vehicle’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and electric motor-driven power steering. Both systems come into play as soon as the Sportage’s many sensors detect a loss of traction, helping the driver to remain safely in control of the vehicle. Buyers of the new Sportage GT Line will also benefit from Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist.
As before, the Sportage continues to be offered with a choice of front- and all-wheel drive, with the revisions to suspension and steering, and the latest electronic driver aids, providing stable handling and high levels of grip in all conditions.
A first for any car in the C-SUV segment, the new Sportage will be available with a new wireless charger for mobile devices, as Kia looks to meet the increasing demand for new convenience technologies from car buyers. Located at the base of the central instrument stack, the wireless charger enables users to charge their smart phones wirelessly. With ‘foreign object detection’, the 5W charging system activates when a compatible device is placed on the pad, and warns car security-conscious owners when they’ve left a phone on the charger when they leave the vehicle.
The Sportage also features two USB charging points, one in the front and one in the rear, to allow all occupants to charge their mobile devices while on the move.
High specification models in the Sportage range are also equipped with a 7-inch colour touchscreen with integrated satellite navigation as standard. These models also feature a rear-view parking camera, with dynamic parking lines displayed on the larger screen to assist when reversing.
Kia’s Smart Power Tailgate, which opens the tailgate automatically when the key is ‘sensed’ in close proximity to the tailgate, is also standard on higher specification models, and a new Smart Welcome function, which turns on interior and door handle lamps and unfolds the door mirrors once the smart key fob is located within 1,3 to 1,7 metres of the door handle adds extra convenience. All of the aforementioned features are model dependent.
When developing the new Sportage, a major focus for engineers was balancing the need for greater efficiency with the level of driving performance that buyers would expect from the new vehicle’s various petrol and diesel power units. The fourth-generation model carries over some of the engines found in the current vehicle, and most benefit from a broad range of modifications to improve fuel efficiency, NVH and power delivery. Additionally, the Sportage range has been expanded yet simplified, offering different engine and specification level combinations in order to give customers greater choice.
At the entry point of the range is the Sportage Ignite, powered by Kia’s familiar 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ MPI engine, producing 114 kW at 6 200 r/min and 192 Nm torque at 4 000 r/min. While the engine is carried over from the third-generation Sportage, it has been significantly revised to improve efficiency, including the addition of advanced continuous variable valve timing (CVVT) and a new variable induction system, carefully balancing the intake of petrol and air into the combustion chamber for optimal efficiency. The Sportage Ignite is offered as a front-wheel drive model only, with a six-speed manual transmission.
Moving up in the range, Kia is offering an EX specification, front wheel drive model powered by an improved version of Kia’s durable and popular 2.0-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine, which produces 130 kW of power at 4 000 r/min and 400 Nm of torque between 1 750 and 2 750 r/min. This 2.0 CRDI EX model is only available as a front-wheel drive model, and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The SX models gain all-wheel drive capability, in addition to a number of other features, and are available with a choice of diesel and petrol power, the former being the same 130 kW, 400 Nm 2.0-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine.
New to the Sportage range is the 2.4 GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) SX AWD model. While Kia’s familiar ‘Theta’ engine is not new, it is the first time it has been utilised in the Sportage range. It has undergone a series of modifications to improve performance and fuel efficiency, with fine-tuning to its CVVT system and higher-pressure injectors, as well as the adoption of a variable induction system to more carefully manage the intake of air. The 2,4-litre engine produces 135 kW of power at 6 000 r/min and peak torque of 237 Nm at 4 000 r/min. Both SX models are paired with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and Dynamax on-demand all-wheel drive, and feature the 7-inch colour touchscreen with integrated satellite navigation as standard.
At the top of the line-up is the 1.6 T-GDi GT Line, which features a number of exclusive interior and exterior design features, such as unique machine finished alloy wheels, quad LED ‘ice cube’ front fog lights, silver metal skid plates front and rear, and two-tone interior options. It is powered by a refined version of Kia’s 1.6 turbocharged GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine, which develops 130 kW of power at 5 500 r/min, and 265 Nm of torque between 1 500 and 4 500 r/min. This engine is mated to a seven-speed DCT, Dual Clutch Transmission.
An impeccable all rounder, the Sportage is able to fit into any situation from dirt roads to five-star valet parking, this was demonstrated when Kia set a world record for the longest test drive. 520 members of the public drove ten examples of the new Sportage across the country, clocking up 3 260km in a relay fashion.
Being a Kia it does what it says on the box, it lives up to its promises, but as a person who seeks driver enjoyment I do feel it is lacking a little something. This might be nitpicking, but I just wish it was less washing machine and more esprosso machine.