Kia gets serious with new Sportage for EuropePOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 26 January 2016
IN a strong assualt on the Europe market, Kia has poured an all-new interior and exterior design along with numerous new technology features into its fourth generation Sportage to woo buyers.
For the first time, a new ‘GT Line’ specification is available to Sportage customers.
Designed and engineered to appeal to those looking for a sportier driving experience, the GT Line specification adds greater visual and dynamic appeal to the popular SUV line.
Kia said in a statement the changes were prompted by stiff competition.
The new-look interior features high quality materials and design integrity, as well as greater practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety.
A range of new and updated engines and transmissions will result in enhanced efficiency and performance, while ride, handling and refinement are all improved.
“The Kia Sportage has been a major contributor to Kia’s sustained growth and success across Europe in recent years. Made here in Europe, it’s an incredibly important car for us. More customers than ever are turning to SUVs, and there is now greater competition in the compact segment than ever before,” Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, said.
“In Europe, the Sportage is Kia’s flagship car, clearly demonstrating our brand values best and consistently accounting for more than a quarter of our European sales. As this hotly-contested segment continues to expand, the new Sportage will reinforce our position among the market leaders, leading the way in terms of its refined innovation, distinctive design and high material quality.”
The design of the new Sportage has been led by Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany, with input from the brand’s Namyang, Korea and Irvine, California design centres.
“The all-new Sportage creates visual harmony out of the tension and contrast between its sharp, defined feature lines and smooth surfacing,” the company says.
Phyically, the wheelbase has stretched by 30 mm (now 2,670 mm), 40 mm longer overall (to 4,480 mm) and gets a longer, more aerodynamic rear spoiler resulting in a more swept-back shape. Height of 1,635 mm – is unchanged over the outgoing model.
The new look also makes this the most aerodynamic Sportage to date, with drag reduced from 0.35 to 0.33 Cd – a result of the re-profiled undercover and newly-designed bumper.
The all-new Sportage is available with a choice of 16-, 17- or 19-inch aluminum alloy wheel designs, while the GT Line specification comes with a unique 19-inch wheel option as standard.
The Sportage’s all-new 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 upscale ambience.
The new dimensions of the car means plus 5mm and plus 16 mm headroom for front and rear passengers respectively, while maximum legroom has expanded to 1,129 mm (+ 19 mm) and 970 mm (+7 mm).
The Sportage can now be specified with three-way front heat seating, 10-way power control with lumbar support for the driver’s seat and eight-way power control for the passenger seat.
In the rear, a 40 mm lower interior floor – without sacrificing exterior ground clearance – and 30 mm higher rear bench hip point mean second-row passengers benefit from a more natural and comfortable seating posture and improved under-thigh support.
For all models, visibility is improved out of the front and rear. Forward visibility is aided by a lowered A-pillar base, while the A-pillar itself has been made thinner. Side mirrors sit slightly lower on the door without impairing the driver’s rear view – this is further aided by the new thinner C-pillars (62 mm thinner compared to the third-generation Sportage) and taller rear glass (+30 mm). These helps visibility and add a greater feeling of air and space to the cabin.
Cargo space has expanded from 465 litres to 503 litres (VDA), made more practical by a dual-height luggage floor, allowing taller items to fit into the boot and still remain hidden by the tonneau cover.
The all-new Sportage has greater fuel capacity than the third-generation model, with the fuel tank increasing in size from 58 litres to 62.
Noise, vibration and harshness have been reduced significantly and the Sportage offers less cabin noise than many other rivals in the C-SUV segment, Kia says.
At idle, the new Sportage records just 37 decibels when equipped with a gasoline engine (1 dB lower than the outgoing model) and 44 decibels for diesel models (down from 46 dB).
Extra dashboard insulation, as well as new acoustic shields fitted to engines, new bushings in the rear suspension and more sound-absorbent materials throughout the Sportage’s wheel arches help quiten things down inside the car.
Wind noise is also reduced as a result of thicker front side glass, a new dual lip seal for the panoramic sunroof and additional soundproofing in the doors.
The all-new Sportage scored a maximum possible five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash performance tests.
The structure of the new Sportage is significantly stronger, thanks in large part to the extensive use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) to improve joint stiffness and introduce more effective impact load paths throughout the body. By dramatically strengthening the core structure of the new Sportage, torsional rigidity has been improved by 39 percent over the previous generation.
The new Sportage performed strongly in the Euro NCAP’s important Safety Assist category, which analyses the latest driver assistance technologies and their effectiveness in avoiding accidents and mitigating injuries. Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, fitted as standard to the fourth-generation car, 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 will be able to choose from the most up-to-date active hazard-avoidance technologies to ensure occupants’ safety at all times – depending on market.
Kia says the new Sportage will have sharper handling thanks to fully-independent front suspension offering revised bushing mount positions for greater stability and more natural responses to changing road surfaces, as well as stiffer wheel bearings and bushings resulting in more direct handling and greater stability in all conditions. The steering gearbox is also mounted further forward on the axle for smoother steering inputs.
For the rear suspension – also fully-independent, including the adoption of dual lower-arm multi-link suspension for two-wheel drive models – the new Sportage receives a stiffer cross member to cut road noise and vibrations from intruding into the cabin. Specially-tuned dampers have a longer rebound stroke to eliminate smaller vibrations from poor road surfaces, while the rear subframe is now mounted on isolated bushings to further improve the NVH performance of the suspension. Suspension geometry has also been tweaked along the way.
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.
Depending on market, other new available features will include: a rear-view parking camera with dynamic parking lines, a Smart Power Tailgate, which opens the tailgate automatically when the key is ‘sensed’ in close proximity to the tailgate; Dynamic Bending Headlamps, which sweep the road ahead in line with the steering wheel for greater visibility and improved safety at night; 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 1.3-1.7 metres of the door handle.
The new Sportage gets a new 1.6-litre T-GDI and significantly upgraded 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine to provide motivation.
The new 1.6-litre T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct injection) is an exclusive option in the GT line. the standard models get the 1.6-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine.
The GDI engine, producing 130hp and 160.8 Nm torque, is carried over directly from the third-generation Sportage.
The ‘Gamma’ 1.6-litre T-GDI engine is based on the same unit powering the Kia cee’d GT and pro_cee’d GT, offering greater and more emotive engine performance for keener drivers.
Available exclusively on the Sportage GT Line, the 1.6-litre T-GDI engine boasts a range of upgrades to ensure it meets owners’ demands for quicker accelerative response, greater fuel efficiency and easier access to engine torque. Producing 174 ps – and peak 265 Nm torque from 1,500-4,500 rpm – the T-GDI engine features a new single-scroll turbocharger with electronic wastegate actuator for quicker engine response and better economy under acceleration.
Diesel engines account for the lion’s share of Sportage models sold in Europe, and the new model will continue to offer the 113hp 1.7-litre CRDi engine – carried over from the third-generation model – and a significantly-upgraded 2.0-litre ‘R’ power unit, establishing a step forward in terms of fuel economy, performance and NVH over the outgoing Sportage and other C-SUV rivals.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is available with two power outputs – 134hp ps with 373 Nm torque, and 182hp with 400 Nm – with both benefiting from a 5 kg lighter engine block, up-to-date battery management system, continuously variable displacement oil pump – which senses and modifies oil pressure in real-time – and a new oil filter module.
Kia’s new DCT has also been developed in-house and has been engineered with low fuel consumption and a sporty driving feel when in manual mode, and with comfort and smoothness when left in automatic mode.
Drivers specifying the new DCT will benefit from faster gear changes than a traditional automatic transmission, as well as lower running costs. When equipped with the new DCT, the 1.6-litre T-GDI engine is expected to return similar carbon dioxide emissions to the manual transmission also available with this engine, pending homologation.
The wider Sportage range continues to be offered with a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.