We’ve seen the sketches and the spy pictures, and now it’s official. Kia’s best selling model in Europe, the Sportage, enters its fourth generation with the unveiling of the all-new Sportage at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
There’s a saying that if you keep doing a silly face, it will stay that way for the rest of your life. Unfortunately this new Sportage is stuck with the face that we saw in the spy pictures. Kia claims by repositioning the tiger-nose grille lower at the front creates an “imposing appearance and a more stable-looking stance”, but we’ll reserve our judgement until we see it in the metal
Designed by Kia’s European design studio, the new Sportage is longer than before by 40 mm at 4,480 mm and the wheelbase has been extended by 30 mm at 2,670 mm. The width and height remains the same as its predecessor at 1,855 mm for the former and 1,635 mm for the latter.
In contrast to the shocking face, the rest of the Sportage takes an evolutionary approach similar to the all-new Optima. The side profile is retained with the familiar window line and the unpainted black plastic cladding that underlines the whole vehicle, while the bulging wheel arches accommodate a choice of 16, 17, and 19-inch wheel options.
The back is slightly different, though. The LED tail lights are sharper and they are bridged together by a metallic strip. Those who want more can opt for the GT Line specification. It will add on the ice cube front fog lamps, a special set of 19-inch wheels, metal-effect diffuser and dual tailpipes.
The cabin is said to be an improvement over the predecessor, with more space, upgraded materials, and greater soundproofing. The dashboard is more driver-oriented this time, and buyers can specify a touchscreen infotainment system up to 8.0-inches with navigation and Kia’s Connected Services. The standard six-speaker audio system for the infotainment system can be upgraded to a 320 W eight-speaker JBL audio system too.
Wireless charging pad is a standard feature, but for devices that don’t support wireless charging there are two USB charging ports included as well. Several driving assistance systems are offered on the new Sportage, and it includes the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), and the High Beam Assist (HBA).
Front occupants get extra leg room, while the rear passengers sit more naturally with a comfortable posture thanks to the 40 mm lower floor and 30 mm higher rear bench hip point. The rear seatbacks recline in 17 positions, and behind it is a 503-litres worth of cargo space with adjustable boot floor.
In Europe, the Sportage will be offered in two petrol and three diesel engine choices. The base petrol is a 1.6 GDI four-cylinder paired exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission, delivering 130 hp and 161 Nm to the front wheels only. The other petrol engine is a turbocharged 1.6 T-GDI four-cylinder delivering 175 hp and 265 Nm of torque, with an option of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT. The manual T-GDI can be had in either a FWD or an AWD guises, but the DCT-equipped T-GDI can only be had with AWD.
The 1.7 CRDi four-cylinder diesel churns out 113 hp and 280 Nm of torque, and it’s also available only with the six-speed manual driving the front wheels. The bigger 2.0 CRDi four-cylinder diesel comes in two different tunes. In ‘low’ tune it produces 134 hp and 373 Nm, while the ‘high’ tune offers 182 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Fitted with a six-speed manual, the 2.0 CRDi is available as a FWD or an AWD guise, whereas the optional six-speed auto is only reserved for the AWD variant.
Opt for the GT Line and you will not only receive the enhanced exterior looks, it also comes with the new rack-mounted electric motor-driven power steering system (R-MDPS) as standard, bundled together with a specially tuned suspension.
Don’t hold your breath just yet, because the all-new Sportage will only go on sale in Europe in Q1 2016, so don’t expect it to arrive in Malaysia any time soon.