Enhanced 2014 Kia Sportage Celebrates 21 Years
May 20, 2014
Enhanced 2014 Kia Sportage Celebrates 21 Years
Kia is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its fast-selling Sportage with the introduction of the updated 2014 model built in Europe, featuring an all-new direct-injection petrol engine among the changes that deliver a more refined and improved SUV package.
From its first appearance in 1993, Sportage has become an iconic vehicle for Kia Motors, launching the brand internationally and establishing the template for the compact SUV segment.
Twenty-one years later, the 2014 version of the Kia Sportage is proving to be better than ever.
Sportage buyers now have the choice of two power plants; a new high-compression 2-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct Injection) petrol engine or the impressive 2.2-litre R-series turbo-diesel engine, both matched to a super-smooth 6-speed automatic with sequential shift.
And, as more New Zealand motorists eschew the need for 4x4 in an SUV, the local Kia Motors arm is adding another 4x2 model to broaden the appeal of Sportage.
Kia was among the first to introduce 4x2 SUV models to this market with the second generation Sportage Urban. It led the way again when the third generation Sportage was introduced, expanding the 4x2 range with a mid-luxury EX model to complement the LX Urban. Now a third 2WD Sportage has gone on sale in New Zealand in the form of the luxuriously-equipped 4x2 Limited.
“Sportage has been one of the best selling models for Kia and the arrival of the upgraded 2014 line-up has provided an opportunity to fine-tune the range to ensure that it continues to be a leader in this growing segment of the market,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.
“It is clear that increasing numbers of buyers who are drawn to the styling and versatility of an SUV, have no requirement for all-wheel-drive because they are predominantly used in urban areas, which has been demonstrated by the popularity of our 4x2 LX and EX Sportage models. So I have no doubt the new 4x2 Limited will enjoy similar support among Sportage buyers.”
While the popularity of two-wheel-drive SUVs continues to grow, all-wheel-drive models remain an important part of the Sportage range – there are two petrol (EX and Limited) and three diesel 4x4, with an LX model joining the EX and Limited in the line-up.
Mr McDonald says reports from Europe, where Kia builds the Sportage in a start-of-the-art factory in Slovakia, indicate superior performance from the 2-litre, GDi engine from the ‘Nu’ range, which replaces the 2-litre MPi (multi-point injection) unit. Boasting a high compression of 11:5, the ‘Nu’ engine is engineered for improved drivability, with torque rising to 205Nm (but peaking at 4,000rpm, instead of 4,600rpm), whilst power is unchanged at 122kW.
“There is a marked improvement in performance in Sportage models equipped with the new 2-litre petrol engine – it is a very impressive and pleasing vehicle,” adds Mr McDonald. The equally engaging 2-litre R-series diesel engine, which delivers 135kW and 392Nm, is carried over to the 2014 model.
Driving the enhanced Sportage will be an even more rewarding experience, thanks to a number of changes designed to minimise noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). A new soundproof windscreen, with an interlayer film between the glass laminations, reduces wind noise.
Key engineering improvements have been introduced to counter vibration. Among them, the front subframe is now bush-mounted (rather than bolted directly to the bodyshell), an intermediate shaft is added to the drivetrain, resulting in symmetrical (equal length) front drive shafts and a new mounting bracket for the transmission has greater rigidity and reduced resonance.
For greater security when towing, the latest Sportage has an improved ESC (Electronic Stability Control), now incorporating a trailer stability control system.
As before, the 2014 Sportage rides on an all-independent suspension that is further refined through the ANZAC programme to take account of the roads and driving conditions in this part of the world.
Additionally, the 2014 Kia Sportage has received exterior styling tweaks and revisions to the interior, including higher-quality cabin materials. It is distinguished from its predecessor by a new mesh front grille, revised LED rear cluster lights, newly designed 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels (LX now rides on 17-inch wheels, instead of 16-inch) and a shark fin roof antenna.
The cabin is enhanced by greater use of soft-touch materials on the dashboard and door sills, while the seats feature new cloth/leather upholstery combinations.
Safety continues to be a high priority, with all new Sportage models having LED day-time running lights, rain-sensing wipers and all except the LX Urban now have front and rear parking sensors, along with a reversing camera (LX Urban has rear sensors only).
Sportage boasts a long list of standard features, with the Limited models featuring heated/electric front and rear-outboard seats, leather upholstery, cooling glovebox, dual zone climate control, proximity sensing key, Infinity sound system and Satellite Navigation among its lavish specification.
Prices for the 2014 Kia Sportage start from $34,240+ORC, including a 5-year/100,000km factory warranty programme.