2011 Kia Sportage officially unveiled for NZ

2011 Kia Sportage officially unveiled for NZ

Kia NZ has officially announced the arrival of it’s third generation Kia Sportage, that comes with a suspension system tuned for NZ roads. The 2011 Kia Sportage will go on sale in New Zealand from October 1, with the launch date taking into account the rise in GST, thus avoiding buyer confusion over fluctuating pricing. Firm prices are yet to be announced, but they are expected to be competitive, with the entry model targeting the $32,990-to-$34,990 bracket.

“New Sportage couldn’t arrive at a better time — the market is picking up and buyers are looking for excitement and inspirational styling, which Sportage has in abundance,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

“It’s an active lifestyle vehicle with attitude. The styling is edgy, resembling a sports coupe, yet when you climb inside, the new Sportage is extremely roomy, practical and packed with thoughtful features, such as a reversing camera on most models.

“With the recently introduced Sorento R, Cerato sedan and Koup, and now Sportage, we can now offer among the most advanced and stylish range of vehicles in New Zealand.”

The rakish European styling of the 2011 Sportage continues Kia’s efforts to be seen as a “youthful and sporting” brand. Its lines have been taken from the adventurous Kia Kue concept vehicle that did the motor show rounds throughout 2007, including the unusual rear slanting C-pillar that increases the view of rear passengers.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous model — by 90mm, 15mm and 60mm respectively — and with a 10mm longer wheelbase, the third generation Sportage is roomier and more powerful than previous models.

The new Kia Sportage has an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.37 — down from 0.40 — and weighs 91kg less than the previous model. But with more than 70% of the body structure made from high tensile or ultra high tensile steel, new Sportage is both stronger and more rigid. In terms of safety there is a passenger cell to cocoon occupants in a crash, complemented by front, side and curtain airbags, as well as active front head restraints.

The new Sportage receives a completely new drivetrain, with a choice of 2-litre and 2.4-litre petrol or 2-litre diesel and 6-speed sequential automatic (manual is available to special order on some models). Petrol models arrive first, with the diesel slated for the first quarter of 2011.

The all-new 2-litre common rail diesel is from the same R-series family as the much-praised engine that powers the larger Kia Sorento R (read review).

The R2.0 diesel in the Sportage generates 28% more power than its predecessor (130kW @ 4000rpm versus 103kW @4000) and a 30% increase in torque (392Nm between 1800 and 2500rpm, against 305Nm) thanks to new variable vane turbocharger technology. Overall, fuel consumption has been lowered by 6%, with the diesel auto averaging 7.5L/100km.

The 2-litre and 2.4-litre petrol engines are both from the new Theta II family, featuring CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) technology. The 2-litre unit delivers 122kW @ 6200rpm of peak power and 197Nm of torque @ 4600 rpm, whilst the 2.4-litre produces 130kW @ 6000rpm and 227Nm @4000rpm.

As with the previous model, the new Sportage will be available with front wheel drive, or a new, intelligent all-wheel-drive system, currently exclusive to the Sportage and known as Dynamax. It is an on-demand system that continuously senses conditions and anticipates when AWD will be required. On more demanding surfaces the driver can lock the axles together.

Also new to the Sportage is Downhill Brake Control to maintain safe descent on slippery roads and Hill Start Assist, which is designed to prevent the vehicle rolling back when starting on steep hills. They feature on every model, as does the latest version of Kia’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system which now incorporates new Rollover Sensor technology, in addition to Anti-Lock Brakes, Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Cornering Brake Control and Brake Assist System. The rear brake lights also flash when the system is activated, to warn following drivers.

The third generation Sportage has a brand new suspension and steering system and it has been specifically tuned for driving conditions on New Zealand roads. At the front, the compact MacPherson Strut suspension has new geometry settings, while new side-load coil springs reduce friction. At the rear is an all-new, multi-link, fully-independent, with the dampers and coil springs mounted separately. The large wheel arches are filled by 16″ or 17″ alloy wheels.

Inside, there is increased legroom to accommodate taller European and Polynesian frames and the seats are newly designed. Dark colours are used for the cloth and leather trim packages.

The new dashboard layout offers improved function controls and is styled similar to that on the Sorento R, with instruments much easier to read at a glance — there’s even a chilled glovebox on some models to cool drinks.

Equipment levels on the six Sportage models depend on the variant, with LX and EX versions of the 2-litre petrol Urban 2WD model, whilst EX and Limited trim levels are used on the AWD versions powered by 2.4-litre petrol and 2-litre diesel engines.

Manual air-conditioning is standard on LX and EX models. The audio system features a CD player with MP3, USB and iPod connectivity — with door-mounted speakers and a tweeter at each end of the dashboard. Steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control, rear park assist, keyless entry and an alarm are also part of the standard package.

EX and Limited models feature a tailgate-mounted reversing safety camera that displays on the rear-view mirror, LED daytime running lights, ‘welcome home’ escort lights that stay on for 30 seconds for extra security, Xenon headlamps, LED turn signal repeaters on door mirror and discrete luggage roof rails.

Limited models acquire leather upholstery, a double length sun roof, electric driver’s seat, heated front seats, engine stop/start button, dual zone climate control, rain sensing wipers and privacy glass.

Kia Sportage engine options:

1998cc Theta II – 122kW / 6,200rpm – 197Nm @ 4,600 rpm
2359cc Theta II – 130kW / 6,000rpm – 227Nm @ 4,000 rpm
1995cc R Series Diesel – 130kW / 4,000rpm – 392Nm @ 1,800-2,500 rpm

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