Kia Sportage entry models get diesel power exclusively
The petrol-powered LX and EX derivatives make way for the 1.6l turbodiesel, and get more safety items
Kia SA has introduced more diesel derivates of the Sportage SUV range. The latest generation family mover with bold styling was launched in September 2022 in LX, EX and the three-tier GT-Line specifications, but all powered by the same GDi-badged 1.6l turbocharged petrol four-cylinder.
This was followed by the introduction of a 1.6l CRDi derivative in May 2023. The motor that arrived in higher spec GT-Line S models only sought to satisfy the needs of customers who require the low fuel economy traits of a diesel motor.
According to Stephen Cross, sales and marketing MD at Kia SA: “This motor has found favour among customers who prioritise practicality and efficiency,” and thus going forward the 100kW and 320Nm outputting four-cylinder motor becomes the standard fitment in the entry-level LX and EX models.
It’s paired with seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and in our experience it’s a power train that strikes a good balance in utility and running costs, and now at an even more affordable price point.
The 1.6 T-GDi petrol engine with 132kW and 265Nm remains available in the trio of GT-Line models but more enhancements introduced to the range include the standard availability of the full Advanced Driver Assistance System technology across the range, previously the exclusive enclave of GT-Line owners.
Lane-follow and lane-keeping assist that work with the standard blind spot warning system use cameras and radar to keep the vehicle within a lane and behind a leading car autonomously when activated are now available as standard across the range, as is forward collision-avoidance assist, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, downhill brake control, six airbags and trailer stability assist.
Convenience items shared by all models include smart entry with push button start and an electric parking brake with auto-hold functionality, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The drive experience revealed nothing new from our previous engagements with the range. The EX cabin is just as spacious and well designed with digital screens and plenty of amenities such as partial cloth and leather upholstery, electric seats with heaters, and park distance control.
The diesel motor sends sufficient oomph to the 18-inch wheels and the transmission is a willing partner with its smooth and predictable changes.
All Sportage models ship as standard with Kia’s unlimited kilometre/five-year warranty, inclusive of roadside assistance. A six-year/ 90,000km service plan is included.
Sportage anniversary in SA
The changes are introduced against the backdrop of a milestone for the Sportage range. The year 2023 marks 25 years since the range was introduced locally. The first generation of the Kia Sportage debuted in SA in 1993 and was powered by a Mazda-derived 2.0l four-cylinder petrol engine producing 95kW and 182Nm with part-time four-wheel drive.
They were initially imported into SA in the mid-1990s by a dealer in Randburg, Johannesburg, who brought about 60 left-hand-drive Kia Sportage units which were to be converted to right-hand drive locally.
The fate of the first batch of imported Sportages is unclear, but it took another three years before the newly established Kia SA reintroduced the SUV in 1998.
Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi LX: R637,995
Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi EX: R691,995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line: R713,995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line Plus: R741,995
Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi GT-Line Plus: R765,995
Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi GT-Line S: R798,995
The revised Kia Sportage line-up is on sale immediately and all models come standard with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
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