The all-new fourth-generation Kia Sportage has just gone on sale here. The new compact SUV builds comprehensively on the success of the outgoing model. It offers an innovative and sophisticated package to buyers in an increasingly competitive segment and market.
The new-look interior features higher quality materials and more design integrity. It also features greater practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety. The updated engines and transmissions promise enhanced efficiency and performance, while ride, handling and refinement have all been improved.
At the Irish press launch, James Brooks, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland told us: “The Kia Sportage has been a key driver in the growth of the Kia brand in Ireland with over 11,000 very happy customers as brand ambassadors for the car . Competition in this segment is growing but we are confident that the new Sportage will emulate and exceed the success of its predecessors. Following a very successful pre marketing campaign we expect over 1000 customers to take delivery of a new Sportage between now and the end of February and we are forecasting full year sales of 3500 in 2016 .”
The new Sportage comes with a choice of two engines – the 1.7D for 2WD and 2.0D for AWD. The 1.7 engine has been refined for extra efficiency and with the addition of ‘Idle Stop and Go’ technology, the new Sportage moves from Band B2 to A4 with annual road tax now at €200 a year.
The new model is offered in 3 trim levels, the LX from €27,995, the EX from €29,995 and GSE from €34,495. The volume model will no doubt be the mid trim EX model which comes with a host of comfort and safety features including: 17” Alloys, Sat Nav & Reversing Camera’ Drivers Power Seat, Half Leather Seats, Speed Limit Info, High Beam Assist, and Lane Keep Assist. The top of the range GSE adds 19” Alloys, a sunroof, full leather heated seats, powered passenger seat, a smart key, and xenon flights.
The new Sportage features a bold new look, with the vehicle’s designers creating a more sporty look and what Kia describes as a sense of powerful energy from every angle. The design of the new Sportage has been led by Kia’s European design studio in Germany, with input from the brand’s Korean and Californian design centres.
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. 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, inspired by those found on the high-powered cee’d GT, and aluminium-effect skid plates.
The all-new Sportage maintains its highly-recognisable profile, with a 30 mm longer wheelbase, 40 mm greater overall vehicle length and longer, more aerodynamic rear spoiler resulting in a more swept-back shape.
Kia claims that the attractive new design 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 Sportage boasts an all-new interior, representing one of the most significant improvements over the third-generation car. It features a wide, driver-oriented dashboard, with a simple, modern design. The interior blends metalwork with soft-touch materials and clearly defined horizontal lines, portraying a high level of mechanical precision.
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 luxurious ambience. And overall, it generate a greater impression of space and sportiness.
The fourth-generation model is set to be the most practical Sportage yet thanks to increased exterior and interior dimensions, with the vehicle’s development teams realising greater space and comfort for all passengers.
Passenger space is increased, with headroom rising by 5 mm and by 16 mm for front and rear passengers respectively, while maximum legroom has expanded by 19 mm and +7 mm respectfully.
The new body’s larger dimensions mean cargo space in the fourth-generation Sportage 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.
Key to the comfort of occupants in the new Sportage are the efforts made by Kia engineers to cut noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Significant changes over the outgoing model render the new Sportage one of the most refined cars in its class. Kia claims that that it has less cabin noise than many other rivals in the C-SUV segment, thanks to a range of improvements that cuts vibrations throughout the car.
Kia says that their new SUV 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.
Kia predicts that the new model will perform 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 the many sensors on the new model detect a loss of traction, helping the driver to remain safely in control of the vehicle.
The new model also achieves improvements in ride comfort, stability and handling responses, and is the best-handling Sportage yet.
Suspension upgrades, combined with the 40 mm growth in the wheelbase over the outgoing model, provide the all-new model with far superior damping over poor road surfaces, while offering drivers more driving fun through improved handling responses and reduced understeer. The new model also boasts greater braking performance compared to the third-generation model.
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. More on this after a full test drive in the coming weeks.