the first time sports launched 28 years ago, Kia was a “value” brand (just one notch above the low-cost ones). The design of their cars was not very inspiring, the interior was simple and the technology was not very advanced.
Fast forward almost three decades, everything has changed: today the structure of the Korean group is led by famous Europeans and new models manage to break the boundaries. This combines with the general improvement of its cars, which left Kia at a level of technical content that is sometimes higher than its old references, generalist brands.
It is in this context that it has been recently launched fifth generation of sportsKia’s most sought-after model in Europe (more than 100,000 units were sold out of a total of almost half a million sales last year).
The model was designed to fight toe-to-toe with heavyweight opponents such as Volkswagen Tiguan or Nissan Qashqaitwo of the most powerful SUVs in the segment in the last two decades.
Kia Sportage has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder 150 hp (without any kind of electric motor) or 180 hp (with electric motor) — Photo: Disclosure
Bold design, same size
Visually, it is more than a “non-conformist” Kia from the manufacturer of bold cars such as the Soul, Niro, Stinger and, more recently, the electric EV6 – which, by the way, resumes such qualities as the top position. lights, with an end-to-end light line on the trunk lid.
There are fewer creases on the sides than on the Hyundai Tucson. The roof can be – for the first time on Kia – painted black, and the front is shown by boomerang-shaped daytime running lights, “Tiger’s nose” thinner than usual on cars of the brand and larger (in length) and. width) radiator grille.
In higher versions, Sportage can receive headlights with LED matrix technology, which improves the range of lights and adds intelligent functions (something that is not, at the moment, available on the “cousin” Tucson).
In the top version, the Sportage receives headlights with LED matrix technology – Photo: Revelation
Compared to its predecessor, the Sportage has little difference in external dimensions: an extra 3 cm in length and an extra 1 cm in width. Naturally, the interior space doesn’t get much change either.
In practice, this means that four adults over 1.80 m in height travel without fuss in the new Kia. The fifth passenger will eventually be uncomfortable because of the hard seat and the central tunnel (wider than the top) which deprives him of space for his legs.
From the mid version onwards, there is a rear vent with individual temperature control. USB-C ports on the sides of the front seats and hangers integrated behind the headrests are practical and useful solutions. The pockets in the rear doors are very small.
The air conditioning is triple zone and the second row still accepts USB devices in the front seats — Photo: Disclosure
The trunk is property
The luggage compartment has a capacity that varies between 526 and 591 liters, depending on the engine – a large amount of electricity, more than a battery supporting the system and a small volume of the compartment.
The version with the smallest luggage space: 1.6 T-GDi MHEV. The SUV has a small hybrid system, which uses a small electric motor that acts as a generator and supports the main gasoline engine, but does not move the vehicle. That is, it is smaller than Tucson, but remains one of the largest in its category.
The trunk has good volume and the flexibility of the rear seats folds — Photo: Disclosure
It is possible to expand the trunk by means of simple folding (40/20/40) of the rear rear seats. The hood can be opened in “hands-free” mode, but only when the car is closed and using a less practical system than the “kick” under the rear bumper.
More modern and digital
If outside the car we can see the effects of the EV6, the inside is more visible, especially in the medium and high versions. There are two – more laptop-like – 12.3″ screens, with a slightly curved and side-mounted driver orientation, with instrument functions on the left and a multimedia center on the right.
The instrument panel and multimedia center merge into two 12.3-inch screens — Photo: Disclosure
They use modern image resources, high resolution and allow very intuitive use. Also inherited from the EV6 we have an area for direct touch commands below the main screen; they can be used to control the climate and sound system.
Just press a button to change the function, which is a smart and better solution than having to search for these functions in menus and sub-menus.
However, unlike the EV6, a head-up display is not available as an option. Other features could be better in terms of connectivity (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and compatibility with mobile devices: cables are required for these connections and only in the top option (GT-Line) is there a mobile phone charger for introduction.
Speaking of the GT-Line, in this version the coating is obviously of better quality on the dashboard, doors and seat covers, naturally. Kia insists on piano black surfaces, which are prone to fingerprints or scratches easily. The area between the front seats is wide and has several storage areas, somehow compensated by the small pockets in the doors.
The new generation Kia Sportage arrives this year to compete with the mid-size SUVs Corolla Cross and Compass 4xe — Photo: Disclosure
New platform and equipment
The fifth generation Kia Sportage is not only a modification of the previous model, but a completely new car. This is also confirmed by the beginning of the platform (N3) that the Korean brand uses in Sorento, its large SUV.
There’s more aluminum in the build (so more stiffness and less weight), four-wheel independent suspension (McPherson front and multi-link rear), as well as a full list of driver assistance systems (which Kia calls DriveWise).
As an option in hybrid versions and plug-in hybrid (only the latter with 4×4 system and Terrain System, developed for the most demanding conditions, such as snow, mud or sand), the model can be equipped with electronic suspension and variable dampers.
The fifth-generation SUV introduces a platform and engine range – Image: Disclosure
A variety for all tastes
The engine range is made up of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 150 hp (without any kind of electric) or 180 hp, and the smaller electric motor (17 hp) in the ISG, the version we drive.
There is also a choice of 1.6 diesel with 115 hp or 136 hp – in this case, a small hybrid. Finally, there are two hybrid configurations (HEV and PHEV), which combine a gasoline engine (in the 180 hp version) with electric motors and batteries to ensure a complete cycle of electricity, as well as low consumption and emissions.
Performance, comfort, exterior appearance and ample trunk are some of the things that deserve praise — Photo: Disclosure
In the first case, it is a 60 hp engine (combined power of 230 hp) supported by a small 1.5 kWh battery placed under the back seat. In the second, the electric motor has 90 hp (total output of 265 hp) and the battery is large, also lithium-ion, of 13.8 kWh, but it is between the two axles.
In this configuration it is possible to travel long distances (60 km) without emissions. There are different transmissions depending on the engine: six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or six-speed automatic with torque converter.
Inside, you can see quality finishes and amenities for passengers — Photo: Solutions
We drove a few kilometers with the Sportage 1.6 MHEV (miniature hybrid) to get an idea of how its dynamics work. Even with “pushing” electricity (17 hp), the SUV is not very fast, accelerating from zero to 100 km / h in about 9 seconds (1,600 kg is partly to blame).
When we increase the revs to force a little speed, the reflection is in the high level of noise and consumption (in a combination of city, road and highway, we reach an average of 12.6 km / l).
The dual-clutch automatic transmission is smooth in gear changes, but reveals some hesitation when we need to be quick, especially on downshifts. The orientation also does not help improve the image because it is not very communicative.
On the other hand, the stand has always provided great confidence (there are ventilation discs on all four wheels) and the suspension has a rigid adjustment, which helps prevent the body from leaning excessively.
This makes cornering better than most SUVs in its class, especially in Sport mode (the other two are Comfort and Eco). In versions with active operation and variable electronic dampers, the results will certainly be more convincing.
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi MHEV
|Price: 35 thousand euros|
|Engine: Front, transverse, 4-cylinder in line, 1.6, 16V, turbo, direct injection, gasoline + electric motor (17 hp)|
|Power: 180 hp at 5,500 rpm|
|Torque: 27 kgfm between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm|
|Transmission: Automatic, seven speed, front wheel drive|
|Suspension: Independent, McPherson (front) and multi-link (rear)|
|Brakes: Ventilated discs|
|Tires: 235/55 R18|
|Tank: 54 liters|
|Trunk: 562 liters (manufacturer)|
|Weight: 1,680 kg|
|Media Center: 12.3 in., Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired)|
|Height: 4.51 meters|
|Width: 1.86 m|
|Height: 1.64 m|
|Wheel base: 2.68 m|
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