The Kia Sportage SUV has been updated, in the process becoming the first model from the Korean brand to offer mild-hybrid technology when it reaches showrooms later this year.
The Sportage, which rivals the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Renault Kadjar, has been treated to a new look inside and out. The front and rear lights and bumpers have been restyled and there"s a new range of alloy wheels. Inside, there"s a redesigned instrument cluster and revised upholstery, while GT-Line cars stand out with two-tone leather and gloss-black exterior trim.
Technology gets a boost, too. Kia"s latest active cruise control can match the speed of the car in front, even drawing to a halt before pulling away in stop-start traffic. Driver fatigue warning is offered, as is an around-view monitor system for safe and easy low-speed maneuvering.
There"s more new technology under the bonnet, with a mild-hybrid diesel engine joining the Sportage engine line-up. In a bid to reduce exhaust emissions, mild hybrid technology is becoming increasingly popular with car manufacturers, appearing in the Renault Scenic and several Suzuki models. It"s also fitted to every model in the Audi A8 range.
After debuting in the Sportage, Kia"s mild-hybrid technology, which it calls "EcoDynamics+" will appear in the Kia Ceed hatchback in 2019 and then in other models in the range. Kia says it should reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4%, as measured using the latest Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)
Kia says that EcoDynamics+ technology can be used in petrol and diesel cars with front, rear or four-wheel drive, so it could appear in any future Kia model. Its introduction is part of Kia"s 2025 Electrification Strategy, under which the company intends to have launched 16 "advanced powertrain" vehicles by 2025, five each of which will be hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles. The 16th – scheduled for 2020 – will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
Kia says that its mild-hybrid technology can provide extra acceleration for overtaking, as well as reducing engine load when the car is being driven more gently. There"ll be a mode for harnessing energy released during braking to recharge the 48v battery and a "moving stop and start" function that can switch off the engine as you"re slowing down, before the car has come to a complete halt.
In the Sportage, the 2.0-litre EcoDynamics+ engine will be joined by a new 1.6-litre diesel that offers 113 or 134bhp, the latter available with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox. Full prices and specifications for the updated Sportage will be announced before sales begin later in 2018.