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Kia opts for classy style with new Sportage, here Q4

Next Sportage Kia loads up on tech, more space and new turbo engines

9 Jul 2021

KIA has released more details of its critically important Sportage mid-size SUV with the MY22 offering set to be bigger, more spacious and far better equipped than its predecessor.


The Korean brand is one of the big casualties of production delays caused by the global semiconductor shortage and aims to claw back its historically strong sales position which in 2020 attracted almost 153,000 buyers within the medium SUV segment


It hopes to shrug off any production setbacks with the new model that, in contrast to its sibling Hyundai Tucson sibling, has more mass appeal with its design.


Due to land here in October, the MY22 Sportage is bigger than the outgoing model courtesy of its new N3 platform, with the bulk of the growth being found in its 4660mm body (+175mm) and 2755mm wheelbase (+85mm) – it’s also 10mm wider and 15mm taller.


According to Kia, this equates to more rear leg and headroom, while the boot has also grown from 466 litres to 637.


As previously covered by GoAuto, the trademark ‘tiger nose’ grille has been squeezed tight and now sits above a cascade grille, flanked by boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights and headlights, with further design flamboyance in the form of a large air intake beneath the bumper and number plate.


The rear is less of a design departure than the nose, sharing the basics with the outgoing model (angular tail-lights linked by a red reflector strip).


In profile, the third side glass is longer and tapered, giving a more flowing look to the car than the previous model’s abrupt and near-vertical rear door glass and C-pillar treatment.


But the biggest surprise is inside the cabin where, despite its expected price opening of around $35,000 (plus costs), the Sportage gets a Mercedes-Benz MBUX Hyperscreen-style 24-inch flat glass display.


The screen comprises a 12-inch driver information unit butted hard up against a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen with the whole system able to be updated over the air.


Many of the secondary switches have been moved to the centre console, along with bigger personal storage bins and cupholders; the extra space afforded in part by the trendy new rotary gear-selector. 


A high-speed wireless charge pad is also included, although it could ultimately depend on the variant or grade, as could the mention of a Harman/Kardon sound system.


Kia has stated that safety was its top priority in designing and developing the next Sportage and claims it will be one of the safest in its class.


Passive safety starts with the new body that boasts higher torsional rigidity than the current model.


Kia’s in-house Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology that includes autonomous emergency braking with vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection will be included as standard, along with navigation-based adaptive cruise control and lane centring.


The common blind-spot monitor has been enhanced in the Sportage to include collision avoidance which will automatically brake the car if the driver doesn’t heed wanings.


The Sportage also has remote smart parking assist (RSPA) to help the driver remotely park or exit a parking spot from outside the vehicle.


Kia Australia will announce which variants have these features as standard and if there’s an optional safety package closer to launch.


The Sportage is expected to carry over trim and grades, opening with the ‘S’ and topping out with the GT-Line.


While the GT-Line has been styled for urban luxury, a new ‘X-Line’ variant has been revealed with unique bumpers, more pronounced side sills and a distinctive curved roof rack for the more adventurous customers.


This ties with the new Terrain Mode (AWDs only), tailor made for owners who “want to pursue outdoor adventure and leisure activities” – as found in the bigger Sorrento.


For the unfamiliar, Terrain Mode automatically adjusts drive and brake settings to optimise traction in conditions such as snow, mud and sand. 


This mode is in addition to the default drive-mode settings of Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart.


The MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems return, albeit with a comprehensive retune, but the big news is the debut of ‘electronic-control suspension’ – aka adaptive dampers, however this will likely be reserved for the flagships.


The Sportage’s drivetrains are new for 2022, following Hyundai’s lead by introducing – for the first time in the Kia SUV – the 132kW/265Nm turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol mill, mated exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.


The entry-level engine is a 2.0-litre petrol developing 117kW/191Nm – paired to a six-speed automatic – while the all-new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is rated at 137kW/417Nm and paired with an eight-speed auto.


Kia is likely to offer front-drive versions in the lower price bracket and keep AWD for the X-Line and GT-Line with diesel and turbo-petrol drivetrains.

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