Kia Sportage GT AWD
Kia Sportage GT AWD
Kia Sportage GT AWD
Kia Sportage GT AWD
Kia Sportage GT AWD
Kia Sportage GT AWD
Kia Sportage SX AWD
Kia Sportage SX AWD
Kia Sportage SX AWD
Kia Sportage SX AWD
Kia Sportage EX
Kia Sportage EX

By: IOL Motoring Staff

Cape Town - The fourth-generation Kia Sportage, released in South Africa this week, is both longer and visually more forward-biased than its predecessor, giving the impression that it's all set to sprint away and leave its predecessor in the dust.

Certainly its pricing has accelerated: the entry-level two-litre Ignite is still R369 995, but the range-topping 1.6 turbopetrol T-GDI GT-Line AWD will set you back R599 995, compared to R503 995 for the most expensive outgoing model, the two-litre CRDi turbodiesel AWD auto.

But for that you get a slightly longer Sportage - 40mm longer at 4480mm on a 30mm longer wheelbase of 2670mm, with longer front and shorter rear overhang (hence the forward 'tilt'), with a bigger cargo bay (up from 465mm to 503 litres) and a bigger fuel tank (62 litres in place of 58) boasting a range of new engines and transmissions and a completely new, more upmarket interior layout and lots of gizmotronics.

The cabin design lends itself to dual-colour schemes; all black is standard, but two-tone grey or black and beige is available on all but the base model, while the sporty new GT Line Models come with a D-shaped steering wheel and piano black trim and aluminium pedals.

Amped up

Two USB charging points - one up front and one in the rear – are standard, to keep everybody’s mobile devices amped up on the move; also available is a five-watt wireless charging station at the base of the centre stack, which activates automatically when you put a compatible mobile device it, shows the charge level in the instrument cluster and even warns you if forget it there when you get out.

SX and GT Line variants have a 180mm colour touchscreen with integrated satellite navigation as standard, as well as a rear-view parking camera. Top models also have a ’smart’ key, that unfolds the mirrors, and switches on the interior and door-handle lights when you bring it within 1.7 metres of the car, and opens the power-operated tailgate if you bring it close to the back of the car.

Smooth mover

The fourth-generation Sportage has had a number of suspension upgrades aimed at improving the ride without sacrificing handling, starting with revised bushing mounts, stiffer bushings and more robust wheel bearings in front.

The rear sub-frame also gets stiffer mounting bushes while a stiffer rear cross member reduces road noise and vibration in the cabin.

The dampers’ rebound stroke has been lengthened to reduce vibration from corrugated road surfaces, while uprated rear wheel-bearings and stiffer lateral bushings reduce understeer.

GT Line models have a slightly firmer ride for sharper handling, while the electric power steering (across the range) now has a sliding damper on the reduction gear module for quicker responses and more feel around the centre position.

The Range

The entry-level Ignite has Kia's familiar two-litre 'Nu' engine, rated for 114kW at 6200rpm and 192Nm at 4000rpm, now with continuously variable valve timing and a new variable induction system. It comes as a front-wheel drive model only, with a six-speed manual transmission.

The Sportage EX front wheel drive variant has an uprated version of two-litre 'R' turbodiesel, good for 130kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm from 1750-2750rpm, with lighter internal components and high fuel-injection pressures for improved efficiency. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The SX models, next up, come with Dynamax on-demand all-wheel drive and a choice of diesel or petrol motorvation, either from the same 130kW/400Nm 'R' oil-burner, or from the 2.4-litre, direct-injection 'Theta' petrol four - which isn't new, but is new to the Sportage line-up, bring with it 135kW at 6000rpm and 237Nm 4000rpm, each of which is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The new flagship Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT Line, adds to that machine finished alloy rims, quad LED 'ice cube' front fog-lights and bright-metal skid plates front and rear - but more important in the overall scheme of things is its turbocharged direct-injection engine, rated for 130kW at 5500rpm and 265Nm from just off idle at 1500rpm to 4500rpm, driving all four wheels (on demand ) via a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

PRICES

2.0 Ignite - R369 995

2.0 CRDi EX - R487 995

2.4 GDI SX AWD - R557 995

2.0 CRDi SX AWD - R567 995

1.6 T-GDI GT-Line AWD - R599 995

A panoramic sunroof is available as a R12 500 option on SX models, and is standard on the GT Line model. All Sportages come with a five-year unlimited distance warranty.