The next generation
Kia is taking on its rivals with style, writes Paul Pottinger in New Zealand
THE multi-cultural Kia Sportage has just had a complete makeover, including a $25,990 starting price.
Designed by an Italian based in California, built in Korea and adapted for Australian conditions, it is the third generation of the Sportage.
The starting price is for an Si Sportage with a 2-litre petrol engine and front-wheel drive, and the top end is up to $38,990 for the Platinum AWD diesel.
It’s up against a growing array of medium SUVs including Volkswagen’s Tiguan, Nissan’s Dualis, Hyundai’s ix35, Holden’s Captiva, Mitsubishi’s new ASX and the stalwart Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.
The visually striking Sportage is designed by Massimo Frascella, featuring the corporate grille and accents that have become familiar under the direction of chief designer Peter Schreyer. But, as Kia Australia marketing boss Steve Watt says, the focus is on ride quality to match the design.
The Australian version of the Sportage gets a suspension and steering set-up adapted from the British version and refined over 1700km of testing. The mid and top-line versions also receive a new AWD system from Magna Dynamax.
Kia Motors Australia’s CEO M.K. Kim says forthcoming Kias will receive the same treatment.
‘‘Sportage is the first of our newgeneration cars to benefit from the determination to deliver Australian flavour. It will not be the last,’’ he says.
The value equation is compelling on the Sportage. The front-wheeldrive Si manual is $1000 less than the rival ix35 from Hyundai, and the sixspeed auto adds $2000. It comes with 17-inch alloys, front fog lamps, and six airbags. The mid-spec SLi runs a 130kW/227Nm 2.4-litre petrol engine ($31,990) or a 2.0-litre turbodiesel ($34,990) through a six-speed auto. It includes chrome accents, leather trim, rear-view camera and roof rails.
The Platinum uses the same drivetrains (petrol $35,990; diesel $38,990) and adds full leather, daytime running lights, smart key and ventilated driver’s seat.
Value: the new Kia Sportage is packed with features, has a slick design and an affordable price tag.