Kia’s Slovak fast-track
Korea turns to Europe to meet demand for Sportage
Visually the European-built examples are unchanged front-on and in profile but the rear design cues vary slightly. There is the Series II badge, of course, and a revised rear reflector cluster.
Interior variations include new trim and upholstery, including the colour of the leather seats and stitch pattern, lockable glove box and seven airconditioning vents.
The switch to European production is pragmatic.
Really, the only problem we have had since the arrival of the Sportage is getting enough to meet demand,’’ Kia Motors Australia boss Tony Barlow says. The opportunity to have consistent supply by taking production from Europe makes perfect sense.’’
He says there will be more European-built Kias on sale in Australia. Early next year, the factory in Zilina will start exporting the Pro-cee’dGT hot hatch.
The Sportage Series II continues with the current Si, SLi and Platinum trim levels.
The Si models are frontdrive, five-speed manual or sixspeed automatic while SLi and Platinum will be4WD automatic only.
Given Europe’s penchant for diesel, the existing 2.4-litre petrol engine is deleted from the range. The 2.0-litre Theta II petrol engine will available in all three grades and the 2.0-litre R Diesel (now Euro 5 compliant) is available in SLi and Platinum grades.
Essentially this makes diesel the only real choice for SLi and Platinum. The diesel variant won praise at COTY.
At least the European-built Sportage will retain the Dynamax all-wheel-drive system launched with the Sportage in Australia.
Prices for petrol versions start at $25,490 for the Si manual (auto adds $2000) while the4WD SLi automatic is $31,990 (satnav adds $1500) and the Platinum automatic is $36,490.
The diesel SLi starts at $35,490 (add $1500 for satnav) and tops out at $39,990 for the Platinum variant.
Premium paint is a $520 slug.