Kia Sportage: The all-new urban-friendly compact SUV

Posted: June 17, 2010 in Kia

With a new bodyshell, new engines and fresh, bold styling that introduces a new kind of dynamic aesthetics, the latest Kia Sportage is an urban-friendly compact SUV for today’s families – consuming less fuel and emitting less CO2.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous model – by 90 mm, 15 mm and 60 mm respectively – the all-new design successfully retains the key SUV features – a commanding driving position, heightened sense of security and powerful road presence – that made the second-generation Kia Sportage so popular.

The second-generation Sportage was introduced in 2004 and marked a huge step forward for Kia. Over the next six years, it attracted thousands of new customers to Kia, and achieved global sales of more than 860,000 units – including 150,000 units in Western Europe.

Now, under the direction of Kia’s Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, the Kia design teams have created a third-generation Sportage incorporating Kia’s new design DNA and many features from the 2007 Kia Kue concept car, to be immediately identifiable and to stand out from potential rivals in an increasingly crowded segment.

“With the all-new Sportage, we have created a five-seat compact SUV with maximized customer appeal. It is urban-friendly and fully in tune with changing consumer expectations and demands,” commented Hyoung-Keun Lee, President, Kia Motors Corporation.

“Despite the recent and ongoing global economic difficulties, Kia’s market research indicates that demand for C-segment SUVs in Europe will grow steadily over the next five years as customers down-size their vehicles and new models focus attention on the segment.

“Customer response to the new Sportage in Europe has been entirely positive and we are confident that our latest model will significantly increase Kia’s share of the compact SUV market,” concludes President Lee.

New Sportage has an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.37 – down from 0.40 – and a reduction in weight of 91 kg compared with the previous model enhancing fuel economy and refinement.

Choice of engines with enhanced economy and lowered emissions

When the full range of new Sportage models is on sale later this year, it will be available with four engines – two petrol and two diesel, ranging between 115 ps to 163 ps – manual and automatic transmissions and two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The model range presented to customers will vary country-by-country across Europe to suit local requirements and preferences. Final decisions on the UK range are yet to be made but all the engine variants will be available and Kia Motors (UK) Ltd., plans to take all the transmission and drive options.

For new Sportage the 2-litre diesel and petrol engines available at launch will be joined by smaller capacity engines available with fuel-stretching ISG (Intelligent Stop & Go) technology and with CO2 emissions from as low as 138 g/km.

Enhancing occupant and pedestrian safety

Fitted as standard in most European countries, new safety features will include ESC with a new Roll-over Sensor that deploys the side airbags, curtain airbags and seatbelt pretensioners when required, Hillstart Assist Control to prevent roll-back when starting on an incline, Downhill Brake Control to limit speed during a steep descent and an ESS system which flashes the brake lights during an emergency.

A new rear-view safety camera providing on an LCD colour display integrated into the interior rear-view mirror will be available as an option on all models.

Appealing to existing and new Sportage customers

New Sportage will be manufactured at Kia’s factory at Zilina, in Slovakia and buyers will be offered a choice up to 10 exterior colours and a black interior, trimmed in cloth, part-leather or full-leather that can be personalised with dark, light or orange accents. The quality of the cabin has been greatly improved. Available high-tech features will include: Xenon HID headlamps, LED running lights, keyless entry, engine start button, reversing safety camera, built-in sat-nav and full-length panoramic glass sunroof.

Kia’s latest compact SUV will benefit from the brand’s unique 7-Year Kia Warranty in Europe. The all-new Sportage range will begin to appear in showrooms across Europe during the summer.

Introducing a new kind of dynamic aesthetics

The new Sportage marks a dramatic shift in design direction for Kia’s compact SUV. Longer, lower and wider than the previous generation model, the new Sportage is immediately identifiable by its ‘tiger’ face – incorporating Peter Schreyer’s striking signature grille design that links all new Kia models.

“The new Sportage is fresh and bold and could not be mistaken for anything other than a Kia,” said Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer. “It embodies Kia’s new-found visual dynamism by successfully taking the key features of an off-road vehicle – the raised ground clearance, the commanding driving position and heightened sense of security – and enveloping them in a sleek and urban-friendly design with global appeal. With its athletic and muscular design the Sportage fits its name perfectly.”

Sitting below the central bonnet-mounted badge, the ‘tiger face’ sweeps out to effectively frame the grille before broadening out and encompassing the car’s large and piercing headlamps to create a distinctive and powerful face. The strength of this look is reinforced by the clamshell bonnet and its contours that run into raised shoulders as they flow down to meet the headlamps.

“The clamshell bonnet gives a sense of strength and solidity to the front end,” said Schreyer. “Together with the grille, these shoulders create a strong three-dimensional feel to the face of the new Sportage, and they also help the driver accurately place the car on the road.”

The new Sportage’s athleticism is reinforced by its rakish windscreen angle, which sweeps seamlessly into the low roofline. And the top of the screen itself reflects the grille profile. “The profile line of the top of the windscreen mirrors that of the grille,” explains Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer, Kia Europe.

“We first featured this element on the Kee concept car, at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. This is followed through to the rear, which has the same distinctive outline at the base of the rear windscreen. These two features instantly heighten the Sportage’s on-the-road visibility – as do its sculpted flanks featuring a striking concave motif in the door panels and the flared wheel-arches.”

The key design element of new Sportage’s purposeful stance is the relationship between its high shoulders and narrow glasshouse, explained Schreyer. “We’ve created a vehicle with a sportscar-like ratio between sheet metal and glass. The side-windows are very narrow that gives an almost rally-car feeling. Follow the shoulder and roof lines and they meet at the striking reverse-angled C-pillar.

“The size, the shape and the proportion of the C-pillar on any car is absolutely crucial to its appearance, and as you can see on our new Sportage, it determines the entire look and feel of the car,” he added.

Using a tape-measure against the new Sportage confirms it is slightly lower than the previous generation, but the design makes it look significantly lower, and both sleeker and more assertive.

Mirroring the large headlamps up front, the rear of the new Sportage features prominent taillights that flow across the tailgate and into the car’s broad rear shoulders. Raising the rear spoiler-topped hatch reveals a large, deep and regular-shaped cargo bay.

Many of the new Sportage’s external design features – the rakish windscreen angle, the radically angled C-pillar and the signature sculpting of the car’s flanks, were first hinted at in the Kue concept car, star of the 2007 Detroit Motor Show.

“It’s crucial that we draw real design inspiration from our concept and showcars, like the Kue, and inject that motivation into our production cars. The new Sportage is clear proof of that,” commented Schreyer.

A raft of details – the ribbed roof, the chunky door handles, the roof-rails, the raised ride height and the large wing mirrors – serve to further reinforce the Kia’s go-anywhere credentials. The new Sportage’s spacious cabin looks as dynamic and sporting as its exterior. It’s dominated by the sweeping dashboard, which broadens from the edges and then narrows dramatically in the middle to create an eye-catching centre console. This emphasises the width of the car, making those on board feel protected, safe and secure.

Guillaume explained: “The horizontal layers break up the dashboard, so you are not facing a vast cliff of plastic, while the high centre tunnel bisects the front cabin. It’s anything but the typical T-shaped dashboard/console layout you will find in most vehicles.”

Those high shoulders and the narrow glasshouse hint at the new Sportage’s dynamic driving position, enhanced by the chunky small-diameter three-spoke steering wheel and deep-set cowled instruments.

“The exterior design is very sporty for a car of this type, and although you sit high in the cabin there’s still something very sporting about it because the windscreen has a very fast angle and the shoulder line is very high,” said Guillaume. “This gives you a cocooned and safe feeling, and yet from a practical point of view there is still plenty of rear headroom.”

In the generously proportioned rear cabin, the boldly angled C-pillar cuts back on itself well behind the rear passengers, to enhance the car’s low-slung profile without encroaching on their view out.

Peter Schreyer intends to transform the public perception of Kia all around the world. “I want to give Kia global appeal – I want that appeal to be about design above all else. The new Sportage is a major step towards achieving that goal.”

Top-quality trim and equipment with high-tech features

Kia is confident that when current Sportage owners and new customers to the brand visit dealer showrooms to view the all-new Sportage, they will be mightily impressed by the newcomer. Its showroom ‘presence’ will be both impactful and surprising.

New Sportage will be available in a stunning new metallic colour – Techno Orange – and first impressions will also be enhanced by the new bright chrome finish for the front grille- the strong Kia ‘face’ – as well as the bold reverse-angle C-pillar, the wider track, purposeful stance and much closer relationship between the wheels, tyres and wheel-arch – creating a premium appearance and echoing the precision and care that has been applied to the entire vehicle.

Inside new Sportage, the styling echoes the new kind of dynamic aesthetics created by the exterior appearance and establishes a new kind of ambience, with top-quality fit, discreet trim accents and the availability of numerous high-tech features. New Sportage will be built with a choice of two equipment levels, LX and EX (for details see Section 8), plus a wide range of options.

The longer bodyshell and longer wheelbase, plus the extra interior width ensure that occupants of the new Sportage will enjoy its spacious cabin. The adoption of a reverse-angle for the C-pillar moves it 186 mm further back – compared with the previous model – placing it behind the rear seat passengers to provide them with a clear view out. Entry and exit from the cabin is made easier by lowering the seats by 29 mm and the top of the door sills by 31 mm.

Driver comfort is enhanced by the adoption of a floor-hinged accelerator pedal that allows smooth control of the throttle and by the increased range of fore and aft sliding movement available for the driver’s seat – 24 mm more than the previous model. As an option, heated front and rear seats can be specified.

The thick-rimmed four-spoke steering wheel and the ‘three-cylinder’ instrument cluster are becoming Kia trademark features. Similar to the cluster fitted to the Soul, Sorento and Venga, the new Sportage’s instruments have clear and precise graphics. A ‘Super Vision’ cluster with red lighting will be available as an option.

New Sportage’s interior comes trimmed in black cloth as standard – and unusually, an all-black headliner can be specified. Options include part-leather and full-leather seat trim, with a choice of contrasting stitching. LX models feature a Dark Gunmetal dashboard and centre stack, while colour options include Medium Grey, Light Alpine and Orange door inserts, plus Alpine Metallic centre stack trim.

Manual air-conditioning is standard. The audio system for new Sportage features an RDS radio and CD player with MP3, USB and iPod connectivity – with door-mounted speakers and a tweeter at each end of the dashboard. An all-new audio visual navigation system with a 7.0-inch screen, Bluetooth and voice recognition will be offered.

Other available high-tech ‘comfort & convenience’ features include a Smart Card for keyless entry, together with an engine start/stop button, ‘welcome home’ escort lights, Xenon headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lights and a tailgate-mounted reversing safety camera with interior mirror display monitor.

A total of 10 exterior colours available will be: solid colours x 2: Cassa White and Clyde Blue and metallic colours x 8: Dark Gunmetal, Techno Orange, Sand Track, Black Pearl, Pheonix Silver, Sirius Silver, Machine Silver, and Byte Blue.

More space for people and cargo, and a quieter drive

Luggage space in new Sportage benefits from the 70 mm increase in the vehicle’s rear overhang. With the rear seats upright, the cargo bay is 80 mm longer and 110 mm wider at floor level, thanks to the more compact design of the rear suspension. Cargo capacity is among the best in class and ranges from 564 litres with the rear seats occupied to 1353 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Storage space within the cabin includes the larger glovebox – cooled in some models, a larger 6.0-litre centre console – up from 3.0-litres, and four door pockets. Two large cup-holders are located between the gear selector and the centre console, while the folding centre armrest in the rear seat has twin cup-holders.

New Sportage is significantly quieter and more refined than its predecessor. The all-new bodyshell design and greater use of high tensile steel have resulted in a stiffer and safer vehicle in which occupants will be aware of fewer vibrations from the road surface or mechanical components.

New diesel and petrol engines to power new Sportage

Manufactured at Kia’s world-class facility in Slovakia, the all-new Sportage will ultimately be available in Europe with a wide choice of engines. At launch this summer, the engine line-up will comprise 2-litre diesel and 2-litre petrol engines – with a 1.7-litre diesel and a 1.6-litre GDI petrol unit to follow later this year, reducing the new model’s base-line CO2 emissions to less than 140 g/km.

Stop and Go available for two engines

By the end of 2010, Kia will be offering its fuel-stretching ISG (Intelligent Stop and Go) system as an option on both the 1.7 diesel and 1.6 GDI engine. ISG automatically switches the engine off whenever the vehicle is stopped in congested city driving and instantly restarts the engine when the driver selects first gear. Combined with other technologies in new Sportage, ISG helps to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions.

Several innovative fuel-saving technologies are fitted to the new Sportage as standard, including a gear-shift up/down indicator on all manual models, an ECO indicator to encourage economical driving on all automatic models and a power-saving alternator management system.

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