Ten years ago, would probably wouldn’t have been seen dead in a KIA. Fast forward to 2018, and KIA are makers of some of the best-selling and most respected vehicles on the road. And that’s not just in South Africa, that’s globally!
The Sportage – the most successful model in KIA’s history – is now in its fourth-generation, and for the new model year, has been subtly tweaked, with the line-up trimmed from twelve to nine derivatives. Some engine options have been dropped, and the SX and GT-Line trim levels have been binned too. However, KIA South Africa have increased the specification and value offering of the existing line-up.
The popular 2.0-litre Multi-point Injection (MPI) and 2.0-litre CRDI (Common Rail Diesel Injection) engines have been retained, while both the 2.4 GDI and 1.6 T-GDI petrol engines found in the previous SX AWD and GT Line models have been discontinued. A new naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine has been fitted to the entry-level Sportage Ignite. This motor is paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission, and produces 97kw and 161nm.
The existing 2.0-litre MPI petrol motor has been retuned, sees a slight increase in output from 114kw and 192nm to 115kw and 196nm, and is available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The sole oil burner in the line-up, the 2.0-litre CRDI produces an impressive 131kw of power, and a healthy 400nm of torque and is mated only with KIA’s high-tech new 8-speed automatic that we have also seen in the refreshed Sorento.
As mentioned, the exterior of the Sportage has been slightly tweaked for the new model year. At the front, Sportage retains its striking headlamps, incorporating unique LED Daytime Running Lights, as well as a slightly revised, more prominent ‘tiger nose’ grille. A new bumper design gives Sportage a more masculine, menacing visage, with a more prominent housing for the front fog lamps.
At the rear, Sportage also gains a revised bumper that emphasizes the car’s width while giving it a more planted stance. The rear taillights retain their original shape – with a connecting strip between the lights – but feature a new lighting signature that also assists in emphasizing the vehicle’s width. Other enhancements include a new selection of alloy wheel designs in 16-, 17- or 19-inch sizes (model dependent), as well as a range of new colour options.
In terms of specification, the entry-level Ignite features manual air-conditioning, automatic headlamp control (incorporating ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Escort’ lighting), LED DRLs, electric side mirrors with integrated indicator lamps, a centre console armrest with an integrated storage box, Bluetooth connectivity, a radio with six speakers, electric windows front and rear, rear park distance control, 16-inch alloy wheels and high performance dampers. The Ignite also gets fabric upholstery, and a leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel and shift knob.
Ignite Plus models build on the Ignite’s already comprehensive specification, but also gain auto-folding side mirrors and an electrochromatic rear-view mirror on the inside. These models ride on new 17-inch alloy wheels and are fitted with front fog lights too.
EX models are a step-up on the Ignite Plus and are easy to distinguish thanks to its restyled 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the most notable changes are the leather upholstery, with electric adjustability up front, and a 7-inch colour touchscreen that incorporates not only the reverse camera display, but also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are improvements under the skin too, as the EX is equipped with front parking sensors, auto rain-sensing wipers and an Electric Parking Brake with Auto Hold function, on top of the specification seen on the Ignite Plus.
Topping the line-up is the exclusive EX Plus range. This builds on the EX specification, and features the same sporty 19-inch wheels as the EX AWD model, as well as a panoramic sunroof. Rear passengers now have access to a USB port, while the colour touchscreen that incorporates satellite navigation, the reverse camera display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, increases from 7-inches to 8-inches. There is even a wireless smartphone charger as well.
The Sportage range features a full complement of safety and driver assistance systems, including ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), six airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchors as standard. Vehicle safety is ensured through the standard inclusion of central locking, as well as an alarm, immobiliser and Data Dot. Drivers will also benefit from Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-start Assist (HAC), and Downhill Brake Control (DBC).
KIA Sportage 1.6 GDI Ignite (6-Speed Auto) R379 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus (6-Speed Manual) R389 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus (6-Speed Auto) R403 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI Ignite Plus (8-Speed Auto) R453 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 EX (6-Speed Auto) R459 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX (8-Speed Auto) R509 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX AWD (8-Speed Auto) R536 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 EX Plus (6-Speed Auto) R499 995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX Plus (8-Speed Auto) R549 995
All Sportage models come with KIA’s industry-leading unlimited kilometre, five-year warranty, as well as a standard 5-year/100 000km service plan and 5 years of roadside assistance.