All-New Kia Sportage (1)

After the exterior of the new 2016 Kia Sportage was revealed last week, Kia has now released full details of its fourth-generation C-segment crossover, refreshed and ready to take on class stalwarts like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson square in the face. It will make its world premiere at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks.

Even if there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a Sportage – the big blown wheel arches, tall beltline, C-shaped window line and humongous C-pillar see to that – this new one marks quite a departure from the current car. The headlights have been separated from the “tiger nose” grille and moved up high, pod-like in the style of Porsche’s SUVs, while the slim, sharp tail lights are connected via a thin chrome strip.

The resulting mix of sharp lines and curved surfaces are said to have been inspired by fighter jets, and you can opt to dress it up even further with a GT Line pack, which adds “ice cube” fog lights inside large gloss black inserts in the front bumper, aluminium-look skid plates and dual exhaust mufflers. The new Sportage is available with 16-, 17- and 19-inch alloy wheel options, with a unique 19-inch design exclusive to the GT Line.

All-New Kia Sportage (2)

The new looks hide dimensions that are little changed from the outgoing car. Length is longer by 40 mm to 4,480 mm, but the new Sportage’s 1,635 mm height and 1,855 mm width are unchanged. The wheelbase, however, is 30 mm longer at 2,670 mm, with a slight shift in proportions (20 mm longer front overhang, 10 mm shorter rear overhang) claimed to add a more raked look to the car.

We’ve seen the interior of the car, which we’ve shown you earlier today – it’s certainly a more sophisticated, driver-oriented cabin, with a design that’s reminiscent of the new Carens and Sorento, but with a canted centre console. The dash top stitching and liberal use of brightwork add to the occasion, and Kia promises a far greater proportion of soft touch plastics, as well as added soundproofing for improved refinement.

The optional 7.0- and 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment systems with navigation sit between the two centre air vents and helps reduce dashboard control clutter. Apart from an all-black cabin, buyers can also opt from a couple of two-tone options, and GT Line customers receive a flat-bottomed steering wheel, piano black fascia and alloy pedals.

New Sportage Interior 01

Also on the options list are a suite of connectivity systems, a JBL eight-speaker sound system, a wireless charging system for smartphones, a Hyundai Sonata-esque proximity-activated Smart Power Tailgate and a panoramic sunroof now 104 mm longer.

Despite dimensions only being mildly rejigged, Kia claims improved head- and legroom for both front and rear passengers; the latter despite an identical overall height. A lower floor and raised rear hip point ensures a more natural seating posture at the rear, and a lowered A-pillar base, thinner pillars, repositioned side mirrors and a taller rear windscreen improved rear visibility. Boot space has also increased to 503 litres.

Under the bonnet, you get a choice of three engines – the base 132 PS/161 Nm 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated GDI petrol mill is carried over from the current car, but the addition of a start-stop system, combined with the new car’s improved aerodynamics, promises a cut in fuel consumption and emissions. Also ported over is the 115 PS 1.7 litre CRDi turbodiesel.

All-New Kia Sportage (3)

Two engines are either new or improved, the most important of which concerns the 1.6 litre turbocharged T-GDI petrol engine. Adapted from the cee’d GT with modifications for improved efficiency, it puts out 177 PS and 265 Nm. The 2.0 R turbodiesel has also seen improvements for improved performance and NVH, as well as reduced nitrous oxide emissions; it’s available with either 136 PS/373 Nm and 184 PS/400 Nm outputs.

New to the Sportage is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from the facelifted cee’d – it’s only available with the 1.6 litre T-GDI engine, along with a six-speed manual option. Other engines get a choice between manual and regular torque converter automatic ‘boxes, both six-speeders.

Under the skin, the new Sportage’s increased use of ultra-high-strength (up to 51%) and hot-stamped steel improves torsional rigidity by 39%, while the suspension, steering and brakes have been revised for improved driving dynamics. Safety-wise, its arsenal now includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).