Kia has upgraded the Sportage mid-size crossover both in terms of design and powertrains, and has also added new safety features.
Improvements to the Sportage’s exterior design include new front and rear bumpers, as well as redesigned front and rear lamps. Depending on the market, new 16 to 19-inch alloy wheel designs are available, and options include chrome sill trim and metallic skid plates, and a range of new paint colors.
SX and GT Line models are equipped with a gloss black hot-stamped radiator grille, a gloss black and silver skid plate, and dark chrome inserts on the side sills and rear tailgate. All models are fitted with a dual exhaust rear valance and revised ‘ice cube’ LED fog lamps.
The interiors too have been refreshed while retaining the layout. There’s a new steering wheel, revised instrument cluster and new upholstery. SX and GT Line models are available with new two-tone fabric and leather seats as standard, or with optional two-tone leather seats with colors varying by the market.
The design of the ventilation and air conditioning controls have also been revised, with new bezels around the dials adding a touch of premium feel.
Customers have a choice of Kia’s new infotainment systems: a 7.0-inch touchscreen, or a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch infotainment system.
Safety and assistance
Depending on the market, the upgraded Sportage adopts Kia’s latest advanced driving assistance systems, including Smart Cruise Control with Stop&Go, Surround View Monitor for easier parking maneuvers, and Driver Attention Warning, to combat fatigue and inattentiveness at the wheel.
For Europe and Korea, a new 1.6-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine replaces the 1.7 CRDi for greater efficiency and economy. Kia said that the elements of the crankshaft and pistons have been redesigned to reduce mechanical friction within the engine, allowing it to rotate more freely to enhance efficiency.
The cylinder block and head are both cast in aluminium, and the smaller displacement renders the engine 18 kg lighter than the outgoing 1.7, reducing overall vehicle weight.
The new 1.6 ‘SmartStream’ engine is available in two power outputs: 115 hp or 136 hp. Both drive the front wheels via 6-speed manual transmission as standard, while the 136 hp models are also available with all-wheel drive and a 7-speed double-clutch transmission.
In markets adhering to the Euro 6d TEMP emissions standard, the engine also features Kia’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) active emissions control technology to reduce NOx and diesel particulate matter. Idle Stop & Go (ISG) is also available.
The new Sportage continues to offer the 2.0 diesel engine, paired to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. For customers in Europe, the Sportage is the first Kia to be available with a new 2.0-litre ‘R’ diesel mild-hybrid powertrain with an output of 185 hp and 400 Nm of torque.
The Starter-Generator is connected by a belt to the engine’s crankshaft, and switches between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. It draws power from a 48-volt lithium-ion battery located underneath the trunk floor. In the ‘motor’ mode, the battery is discharged under acceleration, providing up to 12 kW of electric power assistance to the engine, to reduce engine load and emissions.
Under deceleration – when braking, or coasting towards a junction or downhill – the Starter-Generator switches to ‘generator’ mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery on-the-go.
A 6-speed manual or the aforementioned 8-speed automatic transfers the power to the all four wheels. The new mild-hybrid powertrain is claimed to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4% under WLTP.