Elegant, sporty and high tech. New Kia Sportage, protagonist of our test drive, he took the fifth generation of the Korean SUV to take an important step, arriving on the road with a model specially designed for the European market and full of elements capable of satisfying customers from the Old Continent. Not only the design renewed in a modern key but also a series of contents in the name of electrification that aim to keep Sportage among the best sellers in the segment. Let’s go and discover them together.
Kia Sportage 2022: the design
The design innovations are already clearly visible at the front, with the black Tiger Nose grille extending across the entire width including the exclusive LED DRLs with a futuristic boomerang shape that also emphasize the presence of Matrix LED light clusters with an intelligent front lighting system. The daytime running lights embrace the front three-quarters while on the sides you immediately notice a contrast of taut lines that degrade to the rear, where we find a softer style. Here there is also space for new light clusters inspired by the Kia EV6. The different position of the mirrors, with their location below the belt line, give a sense of sportiness but above all improve visibility. Then the black contrasting roof makes its debut, which once again underlines the modern soul of the Sportage.
The range of engines
There are several engine options. In addition to the 136 HP bi-fuel petrol/LPG versions, 48 V mild-hybrid technology is available in combination with the 150 HP 1.6 T-GDi petrol engine and the 136 HP 1.6 CRDi diesel engine, the full hybrid for the petrol unit with power of 230 HP and finally the plug-in hybrid. The PHEV system, the protagonist of our test drive, has a powertrain of 265 HP of combined power, the result of the combination of the 1.6 petrol engine, a 66.9 kW electric motor and a 13.8 kWh battery. The latter was housed between the axles, thus allowing for better weight balancing and consequently also road holding. The range in full electric is between 60 and 70 km, with the possibility of recharging in about 7 hours with a domestic socket and in two hours if the on-board charger is used up to 7.2 kW. Traction can be front or integral, with the 6-speed automatic gearbox. The plug-in architecture increases the weight by 243 kg compared to the diesel version, a detail that is not insignificant but which is a direct consequence of the presence of a larger accumulator, as also happens on other PHEVs.
There is plenty of space on board and passengers can also spend a journey in total relaxation at the rear. The load capacity of the boot stands at 571 liters, a figure slightly lower than the value of the full hybrid version. In front of the driver and passenger, the curved display opens which houses the digital dashboard and the touch screen of the infotainment system, both 12.3”. Managing multimedia features is simple and the interface is responsive, with touch-sensitive buttons for the climate control system complementing the digital dashboard. From the central tunnel it is then possible to interact with the driving modes or select the driving mode using the appropriate rotary control. However, it is easy to perceive the quality of the materials used which establishes a decisive change of pace compared to the previous generation.
Wide the endowment of the ADAS package: The new Sportage features Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, including Junction Turning, which helps prevent collisions when turning at intersections with oncoming cars, pedestrians and bicycles, as well as Highway Driving Assist (HDA) which maintains the distance and speed set by the vehicle in front when driving on the motorway and helps the driver stay in the center of the lane. HDA can intervene on the speed of the vehicle based on the speed limit. The fifth generation is also equipped with Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM), Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) and Surround View Monitor (SVM) which assists in the parking phase, both when exiting and when entering.
How is Kia Sportage PHEV doing: driving dynamics and fuel economy
Compared to previous generations, a marked improvement in driveability can be appreciated, with decidedly more precise steering and more marked dynamics, with the right power boost for daily needs. Even with an additional weight compared to the endothermic versions, the Kia Sportage PHEV guarantees optimal consumption. In our test which took place on a mixed route between motorway, urban and suburban roads we found data between 6 and 7 liters per 100 km. A more than satisfactory response. Added to this is the possibility of proceeding in full electric thanks to the special button that allows you to switch comfortably to EV mode. The ergonomics of the seat are also good, with the driver’s position allowing those behind the wheel to better control the overall dimensions of the car, both when maneuvering and when navigating city traffic. The presence of electronically controlled suspension then allows you to tackle any situation, improving driving comfort and safety.
Prices and layouts
The range of the new Kia Sportage consists of four trim levels, Business, Style, GT-Line and GT-Line Plus with the price list starting at 31,000 euros for the 1.6 T-GDi petrol with mild-hybrid technology from 150 HP in the entry level and goes up to 53,000 if you choose the top of the range GT-Line Plus in plug-in hybrid configuration with its 265 HP powertrain and all-wheel drive. In this case, the panoramic sunroof, the electrically operated tailgate, the Harman Kardon audio system, the electrically adjustable suspension are included. By adding the Premium Pack at a cost of 1,250 euros, you can also have ventilated front seats with leather trim and position memory.
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