Kia has unveiled the facelifted 2018 Kia Sportage, the brand’s global best-selling vehicle. The new model introduces upgraded powertrains, the first mild-hybrid drivetrain, a refreshed exterior and interior design, as well as new safety and infotainment technologies.
Among the major upgrades is the 2.0-liter diesel engine, which is now available with Kia’s new eight-speed automatic transmission, which is available in certain markets with a 48-volt mild-hybrid drivetrain. The 48V diesel mild-hybrid unit is the first to be launched as part of Kia’s global powertrain electrification strategy.
The 2.0-liter ‘R’ diesel engine is aided by a Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit. The MHSG is connected by a belt to the engine’s crankshaft, and switches between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. Power is stored in a compact 0.44 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery. The 48-volt battery is located beneath the trunk floor, minimizing the impact on practicality.
In ‘motor’ mode the battery is discharged under acceleration, providing up to 12 kW of electric power assistance to the engine, and reverts to ‘generator’ mode during braking, or coasting.
The battery and MHSG also support a new ‘Moving Stop & Start’ function which allows for the engine to be turned off (If the battery has sufficient charge) during deceleration or braking and reigniting the engine when the driver presses the accelerator.
Both the 2.0-litre diesel and mild-hybrid diesel variants are offered with Kia’s new eight-speed automatic transmission.
A quick teaser of the facelifted Kia Sportage
The Sportage also introduces an all-new 1.6-litre engine which replaces the Sportage’s existing 1.7-liter CRDi (sold in Europe) and adopts a new fuel injection system and revised valvetrain. The engine’s cylinder heads have been reshaped to create a ‘bowl’ shaped combustion chamber for a more equal distribution and even houses a new turbocharger system which is claimed to aid exhaust gas recirculation.
Elsewhere, the crankshaft and pistons components have been redesigned to reduce mechanical friction. The new engine is also 18 kgs lighter than the predecessor and is offered in two states of tune, 115 PS, and 136 PS; torque numbers have yet to be revealed.
The 115 PS engine is offered only a six-speed manual driving the front wheels; the 136 PS variant gets the manual, 2WD option and a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic and AWD.
Aesthetically, the new Sportage features new front and rear bumpers, as well as redesigned front and rear lamps. New alloy wheel designs are available, ranging from 16- to 19-inch depending on the market, and optional accessories include chrome sill trim and metallic skid plates. A range of new external colours are also on offer.
The SX and GT Line models are equipped with a gloss black hot-stamped radiator grille, a gloss black and silver skid plate, and dark chrome inserts on the side sills and rear tailgate. All models are fitted with a dual exhaust rear valance and revised ‘ice cube’ LED fog lamps.
On the inside, the new Sportage is equipped with a new steering wheel design and revised driver instrument cluster, while the cabin is available with new upholstery designs. SX and GT Line models are available with new two-tone fabric and leather seats as standard, or with optional two-tone leather seats, with colors varying by market.
The ventilation and air conditioning controls at the centre of the dashboard has also been revised with new bezels for a premium touch.
The facelifted Sportage will adopt Kia’s latest advanced driving assistance systems, including Smart Cruise Control with Stop&Go, Surround View Monitor, and Driver Attention Warning depending on the market.
In terms of connectivity, the Sportage features Kia’s two new infotainment systems: a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch infotainment system.
Global sales of the upgraded 2018 Kia Sportage are set to commence during Q3 of 2018.