Snow sur­prise, Kia

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - PAUL GOVER

THE prod­uct-driven push by Kia never seems to end. Just as the baby Soul hits Aus­tralia — af­ter be­ing rushed through months ahead of sched­ule — this pic­ture of the Korean com­pany’s new com­pact four-wheel-drive has just sur­faced.

It’s the forth­com­ing Sportage and it was caught in driv­ing snow in Scan­di­navia as en­gi­neers fi­nalised the up­date pack­age for the 2010 model that will be ready for show­rooms in the sec­ond half of this year.

The big­gest change is a six-speed au­to­matic gear­box to go with the Sportage’s 135kW tur­bod­iesel en­gine.

The goal is to im­prove per­for­mance and fuel econ­omy in an en­gine that is be­com­ing more im­por­tant to Kia.

But Kia is tied to Hyundai on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and that means the same pack­age is likely to be seen in the next up­date of the Hyundai Tuc­son, which is twinned with the Sportage.

The up­dated tur­bod­iesel pow­er­train will find its way into other Kia mod­els sold in Europe, though there is no firm plan to use it in the lat­est com­pact Cerato in Aus­tralia.

The Sportage up­date is only a mid-life tickle but is im­por­tant for a ve­hi­cle that has been its most suc­cess­ful since be­ing in­tro­duced in 1995.

The cur­rent model was only in­tro­duced with a full model change in 2005.

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