Kia’s Slo­vak fast-track

Korea turns to Europe to meet de­mand for Sportage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

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.

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