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Driven: Fresh Kia Sportage touches down

Choice, bro: Buyers can opt for petrol or diesel engines across every spec level in the new Kia Sportage.

New Sportage SUV to add extra volume for Kia, while aiming for more private buyers

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Kia logo10 Jul 2018

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) believes its updated Sportage crossover can lure up to an additional 200 buyers per month, putting the seventh-placed medium SUV in prime position to move up the segment ladder.
 
For the first six months of the year, Kia has sold 7298 examples of the Sportage (down 1.0 per cent year on year), trailing the perennially strong Mazda CX-5 (13,847), Toyota RAV4 (11,770) and Nissan X-Trail (10,280).
 
The South Korean brand’s nearest rival in the booming mid-size SUV segment is the Mitsubishi Outlander, which has amassed 8154 new registrations this year. 
 
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the Sportage in Canberra, KMAu chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the brand is happy with how the model was tracking, but an increase in volume is predicted.
 
“We think (the update) will probably bring about a 20 to 25 per cent increase in sales, so we’d be expecting maybe 200 more a month,” he said.
 
“We’d love to see it improve – the competition is really hot in those segments especially that small-to-medium segment.
 
“So we don’t gauge ourselves too much on (competitor’s volume) … we like to see improvement with our volumes and if we’re seventh, we’re seventh, if we’re fifth, we’re fifth, so we don’t get too carried away with that.”
 
Mr Meredith said the company would like to see more patronage from private buyers, as fleet and rental sales currently make up over half of the Sportage’s overall numbers.
 
“About 55 per cent (of Sportage sales) is fleet and rentals, so we need to get private sales, retail sales higher,” he said. “There is a slightly higher component of fleet business and rental business with Sportage than there is with our other models.”
 
Pricing has increased slightly for the update, starting with the front-drive, petrol-powered Si from $29,990 plus on-roads, an increase of $1000 over the outgoing model.
 
All variants have increased in price by between $1000 and $2500, with the highest change coming from the oil-burning SLi. 
 
From launch, both petrol and diesel-powered Si Premium versions can be had at a driveaway price $300 less than its recommended retail cost, however the deal will not be permanent.
 
The range tops out at $47,690 plus on-roads for diesel GT-Line.
 
Kia has made autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist, forward collision warning, driver attention alert and an electrochromatic rearview mirror standard across the range, while the GT-Line gains adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.
 
No changes have been made to the outputs of the Sportage’s three powerplants, consisting of the 114kW/192Nm 2.0-litre and 135kW/237Nm 2.4-litre petrol units, and the 136kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine.
 
The oil-burner gains a new in-house eight-speed automatic first shown in the Stinger, which helps reduce fuel consumption by as much as 0.4 litres per 100km. The two petrol versions retain the existing six-speed auto.
 
All 2.0-litre petrol variants are front-drive only, while the larger petrol engine and diesel range all come with all-wheel drive.
 
In keeping with Kia Australia’s decision to not introduce hybrids and instead make the switch to full-EVs when the time is right, the mild-hybrid turbo-diesel version launching overseas will not be offered here.
 
Updates have been made to the Sportage’s ride and handling characteristics, with the car-maker introducing measures for a more comfortable and compliant ride.
 
Steering response has been sharpened thanks to changes to the steering rack and subframe, while suspension changes include an increased rear spring rate on all-wheel-drive versions and changes to the shock absorber that result in a more rounded ride. 
 
All variants now have a suppler ride quality, while the Si’s suspension tune is even softer still.
 
Visual changes include a redesigned front bumper and foglight bezel, a more angular surround for the signature tiger-nose grille, revised tail-light design and rear bumper, and new designs for the range of alloy wheels, from 17- to 19-inch dimensions, all of which come with a full-size spare.
 
Kia has kept interior changes to a minimum, which include a flat-bottom steering wheel for GT-Line, and increased interior dimensions thanks to a wheelbase increase of 30mm.
 
Standard specification on the Si includes a reversing camera with rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, electric heated and folding exterior mirrors, premium steering wheel and shifter, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, six-speaker sound system, 17-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, high-beam assist, and the aforementioned safety features.
 
Stepping up to the Si Premium nets an 8.0-inch infotainment system with sat-nav, DAB+ digital radio and an eight-speaker JBL audio system, front parking sensors, 18-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, and 10-year MapCare and traffic monitoring updates.
 
The SLi adds an electronic parking brake with auto hold, tyre-pressure monitor, smart key with push button start, leather-appointed seats with contrast stitching, 10-way adjustable driver’s seat, LED rear combination lights, rear privacy glass, 4.2-inch instrument cluster display, and a luggage net.
 
Top-spec GT-Line variants include the aforementioned exclusive active safety features, eight-way power front passenger seat, park assist, auto-levelling LED front headlights and LED foglights, GT-Line exterior trim, dual chrome-tip muffler, panoramic sunroof, flat-bottom steering wheel, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated front seats, hands-free tailgate, and 19-inch alloys. 
 
Kia’s seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, seven year roadside assist and capped-price servicing remains for the Sportage.
 

2018 Kia Sportage pricing*

 
Si 2.0-litre petrol (a) $29,990
Si 2.0-litre (a) $35,390
Si Premium petrol (a) $32,290
Si Premium diesel (a) $37,690
SLi 2.0-litre petrol (a) $36,790
SLi 2.0-litre diesel (a) $42,190
GT-Line 2.4-litre petrol (a) $44,790
GT-Line 2.0-litre diesel (a) $47,690

*Excludes on-road costs


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