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Kia on countdown to Sportage facelift

Over there: Kia has developed a mild-hybrid diesel version of its Sportage as part of a facelift due this year, but Kia Motors Australia has no plans for that variant in this market.

July facelift for Kia Sportage set to include cosmetic changes – but no mild hybrid

16 May 2018

KIA’S second-best-selling model in Australia, the Sportage, is coming up for a mid-life facelift in July, but the changes will not include a newly announced mild-hybrid diesel powertrain that has been confirmed for the United Kingdom and Europe.
Spy shots from Europe show cosmetic changes to the face and derriere of a Sportage test vehicle, including a bigger lower air opening at the front and little chrome bumperettes splitting the revised four-globe LED daytime driving lights on each side of the grille, softening the quad-light look.
Full LED headlights appear to be included, at least on the variant snapped by Automedia near Germany’s Nurburgring where Kia’s parent company, Hyundai, has an engineering development centre.
At the rear, the new-look tail-lights now stretch right across the tailgate in a strip replacing the previous chrome garnish.
One of the biggest changes to the 2019 model-year Sportage – at least in Europe – will be under the bonnet where Kia engineers have mated a 48-volt electric motor to the four-cylinder diesel engine to create a form of hybrid.
Hooked up to a 0.46kWh battery under the floor, the motor acts as both a starter motor and driver assistance device, adding up to 10kW of electric power to the drivetrain via a belt to the diesel engine’s crankshaft.
Under braking, the motor goes into generator mode, recharging the battery.
Kia is claiming a seven per cent improvement in fuel economy, along with a four per cent cut in carbon-dioxide emissions.
The system – dubbed EcoDynamics+ – is also set to be applied to petrol version of the Sportage, as well as the European Cee’d from 2019 under a Kia plan to launch 16 advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five battery-electric vehicles and – in 2020 – a new fuel-cell electric vehicle.
None of the hybrid variants are expected to make it to Australia where Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith is on record as saying the local arm of Kia will not take hybrids or plug-in hybrids in its range, instead skipping straight to full-electric variants when the time is right.
The current Sportage is offered with a choice of three internal combustion four-cylinder engines – a 114kW 2.0-litre petrol, 135kW 2.4-litre petrol and 136kW 2.0-litre turbo diesel.
The current model – launched in 2016 – is now in run-out, along with the other best-seller in the Kia range, the Cerato small car, which has a full model change coming up this year.
A mid-range Sportage Si Premium petrol automatic can be had for $31,690 driveaway, while the diesel version goes for $36,690 driveaway.
Sportage sales so far this year are up 3.3 per cent, to 4532, which makes it second only to the Cerato (5904, -3.9%) in the Kia range in Australia and seventh in the hot-selling medium SUV segment, behind the market-leading Mazda CX-5 (8329) and Toyota RAV4 (7017).

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