2016 Kia Sportage Europe-15

The new Kia Sportage will go on sale across Europe in this first quarter of 2016, Kia Motors Europe (KME) has announced. The fourth-gen Sportage made its debut in Kia’s domestic market of South Korea last September, before making its motor show debut at IAA Frankfurt in the same month.

This is a very important model for Kia in Europe. The outgoing Sportage was KME’s best selling model in a record 2015 for the brand; and with 105,000 units sold, accounted for 27.4% of total Kia sales. The Euro-spec Sportage is manufactured at Kia’s production facility in Slovakia.

The new Sportage retains the previous SUV’s profile, window shape and wheel arches, but sports fresh front and rear design, along with a new dashboard that’s a more driver-oriented take on the theme in the Carens and Sorento. The design was led by Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, with input from the brand’s Korean and Californian design centres.

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The Euro NCAP five-star Sportage is slightly larger than before – overall length is up 40 mm to make 4,480 mm, and the 2,670 mm wheelbase is 30 mm longer. Width (1,855 mm) and height (1,635 mm) are unchanged. The new car is more aerodynamic, with drag reduced from 0.35 to 0.33 Cd, a result of the re-profiled undercover and newly-designed bumper. Boot space is up from 465 to 503 litres.

The C-segment SUV is available with a choice of 16-, 17- or 19-inch alloys, while the GT Line spec comes with a unique 19-inch wheel option as standard. GT Line models also get “ice cube” LED fog lamps and aluminium-effect skid plates.

Kia says that the new Sportage’s cabin boasts a high standard of material quality, with a greater proportion of soft-touch materials and the use of cloth, leather and stitching to create a more upscale ambience. Soundproofing has also been improved. Two-tone colour schemes are available, besides all-black. GT Line adds on a D-shaped leather steering wheel, piano black trim and aluminium pedals.

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The engine range includes a carry-over 1.6 GDI petrol with 132 PS/160 Nm (now with start-stop), a carry-over 115 PS ‘U2’ 1.7 CRDi diesel and an upgraded 2.0 litre ‘R’ turbodiesel, which is available in two outputs – 136 PS/373 Nm and 185 PS/400 Nm. Both benefit from a five kg lighter engine block, new battery management system, a continuously variable displacement oil pump and a new oil filter module.

A new 1.6 litre T-GDI petrol is also available for the first time on the Sportage, exclusively for the GT Line. The turbocharged Gamma makes 177 PS and peak 265 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. The T-GDI features a new single-scroll turbo with electronic wastegate actuator for quicker engine response and better economy under acceleration. All are Euro 6 compliant.

The Sportage can be had with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions (1.6 GDI and 1.7 CRDi manual only), but the T-GDI’s auto option is a seven-speed double-clutch transmission. Kia says that the in-house developed DCT shifts faster than the traditional auto and has lower running costs. Similar CO2 emissions with the manual transmission T-GDI, too.

Will the new Kia Sportage arrive in Malaysia this year to renew rivalry with the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and sister Hyundai Tucson?