4x4, Motoring News, new models, off-road, suv

One year on – and SA gets latest Sportage SUV

  • Fourth generation of Kia’s best-selling compact SUV
  • More refined, new high-quality cabin
  • Stronger body, new active safety tech
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

Kia’s fourth-generation Sportage SUV, introduced at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2015 already, has just been launched in South Africa.

Some engines have been carried over from the previous package but the rest of the latest Sportage is new, including a completely redesigned cabin and a bunch of new features that, the automaker says, “have improved comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety”.

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

A range of new and updated engines and transmissions results in enhanced efficiency and performance, while ride, handling and refinement are all improved.

NOSE JOB THE BIGGEST CHANGE

More than 1.6-million of the third-generation model – launched in 2010 – were sold worldwide.

David Sieff, marketing director of Kia SA, Ltd told The Corner in a media release:“This latest model carries forward an award-winning legacy with significant improvements to tactile quality, overall refinement and driving enjoyment.”

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

The nose of the new Sportage, Kia says, is the biggest change to the car’s design, the trademark ‘tiger’s nose’ grille being separated from the headlights, which are now higher and of a distinctive design. “The result,” Kia says, “is a more imposing appearance despite the new model still being 1.85m wide.

The top GT Line has what Kia calls ‘ice-cube’ fog lights and off-road protection plates.

The SUV’s wheelbase has been extended by 30mm at 2.67m and the bumper-to-bumper length is now longer at 4.48m. Overall height is 1.635m and the shell, its silhouette tapering towards the tail, includes bolder wheel-arches and sharp feature lines – Kia says it creates “a more dynamic look” and reduced the drag co-efficient from 0.35 to 0.33.

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

The aluminium wheel rims are available as 16, 17, or 19″ diameter across the range, those on the GT Line 19″ but of a model-specific design.

The Frankfurt-based design team, the automaker said, focused on creating a cabin with a driver-orientated facia “though with a simple, modern design”. “The rest of the interior,” Kia adds, “blends metalwork with soft-touch materials and clearly defined horizontal lines of a high level of mechanical precision.

“The cabin of the outgoing Sportage focused on a clearly defined and vertical centre console; the new has horizontal lines to emphasise the width of the interior and generate a greater impression of space and sportiness.”

READ MORE Kia features on Carman’s Corner

There are two zones, one for display and the other for control, the former to deliver information to the driver and passengers through the instrument binnacle and the latter for entertainment and driver/car communication.

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

Each Sportage will have a black interior but GT Line buyers can specify a choice of shades and their cars will come with a flat-bottomed and leather-wrapped steering wheel, shiny black fascia and aluminium alloy pedals.

The driver will find more legroom than in the previous range, and each of the five seats having a stiffer frame with redesigned springs and pads. The rear floor is 40mm lower (though ground clearance is not affected) and the rear hip-point is 30mm to give a more natural seated posture and better thigh support.

The rear seats can also be reclined through seven angles, from 23 to 37 degrees and boot space has expanded from 465 to 503 litres and is 35mm wider with a lower access threshold and the fuel tank volume is now 62 instead of 58 litres.

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

Even better braking can be expected: there are redesigned calipers, marginally larger (300 to 305mm) front discs but substantial larger rear (262 to 302mm). The parking brake will engage each time engine ignition is stopped.

Front or all-wheel drive versions of the Sportage are available.

The more-expensive models have a 19cm colour touchscreen and satnav, a rear parking camera and a powered tail hatch operated from the key fob – the fob also turning on cabin and door-release lights and unfolding the stern all mirrors as the driver approaches.

…AND THE ENGINE CHOICES

Some engines have been continued from the previous range, though, Kia says, they benefit from a broad range of modifications that have improved fuel-efficiency, reduced noise and vibration and more power. Entry models will have the previous two-litre ‘Nu’ MPI engine (114kW at 6200rpm / 192Nm at 4000rpm) but with lower fuel burn, advanced continuously variable valve timing and a new variable induction system.

This engine will be in the Ignite model, only with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

EX models will have front-wheel drive and a “significantly improved” version of the two-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel capable of 130kW at 4000rpm / 400Nm from 1750-2750rpm and not equipped with an updated battery management system, continuously variable displacement oil pump – which senses and modifies oil-pressure – and a new oil-filter module.

The Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX is only available with front-wheel drive model and a six-speed auto transmission.

SX models have all-wheel drive and a choice of diesel and petrol engine, the former the same 130kW / 400Nm 2.0-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel. New to the Sportage range is a 2.4 GDI SX AWD – not a new engine but being installed for the first time in a Sportage, with modifications to improve performance and fuel efficiency. The 2.4-litre engine produces 135kW at 6000rpm / 237Nm at 4000rpm.

Both SX models have a six-speed auto transmission and Dynamax on-demand all-wheel drive. The 19cm touchscreen/satnav are also standard.

2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress
2016 Kia Sportage: Image: KIA SA / Motorpress

The all-new Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT Line has not only the already mentioned model-specific interior and exterior design features but an even further refined version of the 1.6 turbocharged GDI engine capable of 130kW at 5500rpm / 265Nm from 1500-4500rpm.

It’s hooked to a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2016 KIA SPORTAGE PRICES

FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE
Sportage 2.0 Ignite – R369 995
Sportage 2.0 CRDi EX – R487 995
ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Sportage 2.4 GDI SX – R557 995
Sportage 2.0 CRDi SX – R567 995
Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT Line – R599 995

Two-tone black/beige upholstery is available as a no-cost option on SX AWD and GT Line models; GT Line models are also available with a two-tone black and light grey interior at no cost.

A sun roof is a R12 500 option on SX AWD models, standard on GT Line.

All Sportage models ship with a five-year unlimited distance warranty, five-years of unlimited distance breakdown assistance and a five-year or 90 000km service plan.

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