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New Kia Sportage released

11th August, 2010 (copyright image) (copyright image) (copyright image)

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With a new bodyshell, new engines and fresh, bold styling that introduces a new kind of dynamic aesthetics, the latest Kia Sportage is an urban-friendly compact SUV that is ideal for today’s consumers – using less fuel and emitting less CO2.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous model (by 90 mm, 15 mm and 60 mm respectively), the all-new design successfully retains the key SUV features – the command drive position, heightened sense of security and powerful road presence – which made the outgoing second generation Kia Sportage so popular.

The second-generation Sportage was introduced in 2004 and marked a huge step forward for Kia. Over the next five years, it attracted thousands of customers who had not previously considered buying a Kia, and achieved local sales of more than 6,900 units – including more than 1,900 in 2009.

Now, under the direction of Kia Motor’s Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, the Kia design teams have provided a third-generation Sportage incorporating Kia’s new design DNA and many features from the 2007 Kia Kue concept car. The new Sportage can be immediately identifiable as a Kia and stands out from potential rivals in an increasingly crowded segment of the automotive market.

“With the new Sportage, we have created an all-new, five-seater compact SUV with maximised customer appeal. It is urban-friendly and in tune with changing consumer expectations and demands,” commented Mr MK Kim, President and CEO of Kia Motors Australia.

“Despite the recent and ongoing global economic difficulties, Kia’s market research indicates that demand for compact SUVs will grow steadily over the next five years as many customers down-size their vehicles and the introduction of new models focuses attention on this segment.”

“Customer research with the new Sportage generated entirely positive responses and we are confident that our latest model will significantly increase Kia’s share of the compact SUV in the Australian market.”

The new Kia Sportage is significantly sleeker and lighter than the previous model, with an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.37 (down from 0.40) and a significant weight loss of 91 kg compared with the previous model – enhancing fuel economy and refinement.

Optimised locally for a unique Australian Market.

When comparing Kia markets around the world and in particular speed limits and road conditions, Australia is unique. The development of a compact SUV with ride quality, responsive steering and dynamics that satisfied the type of quality demanded by Australian vehicle buyers was a challenge the Kia Australia dynamic (ride and handling) team, including Product Development Specialist Graeme Gambold, spent five months resolving.

The process began with a commitment to Kia Motors Australia from KMC to better match the dynamics of all future Australian bound models to local tastes and conditions.

“Through my previous experience with KMAu I have come to understand the premium that Australian drivers place on the balance of comfort and sportiness for this country’s unique roads,” says Kia Motors Australia President and CEO Mr MK Kim.

“With KMC’s support it has been possible to set ourselves the target of delivering those special characteristics so important to the Australian owner. Sportage is the first of our new-generation cars to benefit from the determination to deliver ‘Australian’ flavour ... it will not be the last.”

In mid-March 2010 an early prototype Sportage was delivered to Australia for testing. Subsequent evaluation determined that the set-up was not suited to local roads or handling requirements.

The most significant step in the process occurred in early May when KMC engineers participated in a comprehensive local analysis designed to highlight a mismatch between the evaluation vehicle and typical Australian roads and conditions.

The four-day trial through two states and one territory covered more than 1,700 kilometres of metropolitan, suburban and country roads. Surfaces ranged from smooth freeway to negotiating the rally proven ‘mineshaft’ at the foot of the Brindabella Ranges near Canberra.

As a result of that evaluation, the Australian team were invited to travel to KMC to conduct a critical analysis of other world markets including Europe, Korea and the US. Armed with sway-bars of various thicknesses, results from different spring rate and damping tests and a new power steering rack, the team returned to Australia ultimately benchmarking and matching the Australian spec to a European set-up with significant input by the UK.

“Our review of other markets found that domestic Korean vehicles were developed for lower speeds on smooth roads,” Kia Senior Product Manager, Nick Reid says.

“We then looked at the US market and while their road conditions are very similar, the vehicle buying public in the US like their vehicles set up completely differently to Australian drivers.”

“We therefore set about creating a car that was just as familiar with the freeway as it was descending Bumble Bee Hill into the Yarramalong Valley just north of Sydney. It was soon realised that the UK, Kia’s largest European market, and Australia had very similar development and dynamic goals.”

“UK roads are renowned for being fast and uneven with their ‘B’ roads demanding many of the same vehicle response characteristics as our secondary roads.”

“The UK-influenced European suspension set-up was tested on metropolitan and regional Australian highways and back roads. The steering was also given a ‘local’ feel – very natural with a linear torque build-up which makes it easy to park but still provides good weight through the steering wheel on the open road.”

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The end result is an all new Sportage with a focus on ride quality whilst also maintaining compact-SUV agility and dynamics designed to meet the demands of the discerning Australian driver.

Choice of engines, plus enhanced safety

The new line-up is available with three engines (two petrol and one diesel, covering a 122 kW to 135 kW power spread), and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions with two-wheel or all-wheel drive.

New safety features include ESC with a new Rollover Sensor, Hillstart Assist Control (to prevent roll-back when starting on an incline and roll-forward when reversing up a slope in reverse with the manual transmission) and Downhill Brake Control (to limit speed during a steep descent).

A new rear-view safety camera, which transmits an image to an LCD colour display integrated into the interior rear-view mirror, will be standard in SLi and Platinum models.

Appealing to existing and new Sportage customers

The new Sportage is manufactured at Kia’s Gwangju factory in South Korea, and buyers will be offered a choice of nine exterior colours and Black interior, trimmed in cloth, or full-leather. The quality of the cabin’s materials and the Sportage’s interior ‘fit & finish’ are greatly enhanced.

Available high-tech features will include: LED daytime running lights, ‘welcome home’ light delay, automatic light control, turn indicators in the door mirror mountings, keyless entry and engine start/stop button, reversing safety camera (with interior mirror display), ventilated driver’s seat and a full-length panoramic glass sunroof.

Together with the larger Kia Sorento, the new Kia Sportage will perform a key role in boosting local and global sales, enhancing brand awareness and reinforcing Kia’s ability to produce well engineered vehicles at a reasonable price.

“Local research indicates that Sportage’s sleek lines and low crouching stance, will make the new compact SUV very popular with males aged between 28 to 40,” says Kia Motors Australia National Marketing Manager Steve Watt.

“It’s masculine and sporty looks and comprehensive list of specs will appeal to men while its practical versatility will appeal to women. The compact-SUV segment is one of the most competitive in the Australian market. In 2009 the 22 entrants accounted for 45 per cent of total SUV sales.”






Price* (MLP*)


2.0L Petrol

5-Speed Man




2.0 L Petrol

6-Speed Auto




2.4 L Petrol

6-Speed Auto




2.0 L Diesel

6-Speed Auto




2.4 L Petrol

6-Speed Auto




2.0 L Diesel

6-Speed Auto



NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes options, dealer delivery fees and the various statutory charges.


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