Kia was not officially present at the 2018 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS), but the carmaker managed to sneak in a Kia Sportage facelift via the backdoor – the refreshed fourth-gen QL was sitting at the stand of a window tint company.

First revealed in May, the Sportage facelift gets new engines, a lightly altered appearance plus new safety and infotainment tech. More details were released last month ahead of the start of global sales in this quarter.

There are front and rear bumpers, as well as redesigned front and rear lamps. The ‘eyes’ have four-point LED daytime running lights, similar to the new Cerato and Ceed. The GT-Line, seen here, comes 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.

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The GT-Line’s unique 19-inch alloys (245/45 tyres) have been redesigned (new 16- and 17-inch wheels for the other trim levels), and all models are fitted with a dual-exhaust rear valance (look closely and you’ll see the real tailpipe jutting out below the bumper) plus revised ‘ice cube’ LED fog lamps. Just minor refinements inside, including on the steering wheel and instrument cluster.

The big news under the hood is Kia’s new EcoDynamics+ 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain for Europe. It combines a 2.0-litre ‘R’ diesel engine, 48-volt battery and a mild-hybrid starter-generator unit. Kia says that the added bits supplements acceleration and extends engine ‘off time’, resulting in 4% lower C02 emissions in the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).

The new powertrain is paired with the Sportage’s all-wheel drive system, transmitting power via six-speed manual or a newly-adopted eight-speed automatic transmission. For other global markets, the 185 PS/400 Nm 2.0 litre diesel engine is now available with a new eight-speed automatic without the mild-hybrid system, and a front-wheel drive option.

The latest Sportage is also available in Europe and South Korea with Kia’s new 1.6 litre ‘U3’ turbodiesel with ‘SmartStream’ tech, said to be the cleanest diesel engine the company has ever made. It replaces the ‘U2’ 1.7 litre CRDi unit and delivers better efficiency and fuel economy. Combustion is made more efficient with the adoption of a new fuel injection system and revised valvetrain. Weighing 18 kg lighter, it’s available in 115 or 136 PS outputs.

It comes with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual as standard, but 136 PS models are also available with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed double-clutch automatic. No changes to the petrol engine line-up, which includes two turbocharged T-GDi engines (1.6L and 2.0L) and three naturally-aspirated engines – a 2.0 litre MPI unit, as well as 1.6 litre and 2.4 litre GDi engines.

The Sportage facelift can be optioned with Kia’s latest advanced driving assistance systems, including Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Surround View Monitor and Driver Attention Warning. Customers have a choice of new infotainment systems: a 7.0-inch touchscreen or a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch infotainment system.


GALLERY: Pre-facelift Kia Sportage 2.0L AWD GT CRDi