There are now four engines and three transmissions with the introduction of a 1.6-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) unit and a 7DCT (seven-speed dual-clutch automatic) gearbox, both of which are reserved exclusively for GT-Line. They join extensively re-engineered 1.6-litre GDi petrol and 1.7- and 2.0-litre turbodiesel power units with improved fuel economy and CO2 reductions of up to 29g/km, which means significantly lower company car tax.
The six trim lines are badged 1, 2, 3, 4, GT-Line and First Edition. All versions powered by the 1.6-litre GDi and 1.7-litre CRDi engines are front-wheel drive, while those powered by the 1.6-litre T-GDi unit and the two 2.0-litre CRDi diesels have all-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive versions are distinguished by the 'KX' prefix in the model designation; except for GT-Line and First Edition versions
All versions except the entry-level grade have a 7- or 8-inch touch-screen satellite navigation system linked to Kia Connected Services with TomTom, providing full European mapping and detailed traffic, speed camera, weather and local services information. Further up the range, Speed Limit Information, Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert are available.
Grade 1/KX-1 comes as standard with 16-inch alloy wheels and all-round disc brakes, a black diamond-mesh grille with chromed surround, front foglights, LED daytime running lamps, cornering lights, chrome-coated belt-line mouldings, smart black cloth upholstery with a grey headlining, electrically adjustable door mirrors, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter, all-round electric windows, air conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth with music streaming, USB and AUX ports, 12-volt power outlet in the front and rear, Trailer Stability Assist, Hill-start Assist, Downhill Brake Control and cruise control with speed limiter.
Grade 2/KX-2 expands on this with 17-inch alloys, body-coloured exterior handles with chrome inserts, high-gloss paint on the front grille, 7-inch touch-screen navigation system with integrated reversing camera and connectivity services, roof rails, privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate, black premium cloth upholstery and powered lumbar adjustment for the driver's seat, electrically folding and heated door mirrors with LED indicators, reversing sensors, automatic lights and wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual automatic air conditioning with an automatic windscreen de-fog system, a cooled glovebox and the Lane-Keep Assist, automatic high-beam assist and speed limit information functions.
With grade 3/KX-3 come 19-inch alloys, a front wiper de-icer, black leather upholstery, a high-gloss black centre fascia, a rear USB charging point, heated front and outer rear seats, 4.2-inch LCD TFT colour information display, an 8” satellite navigation screen and a JBL premium sound system with sub-woofer, external amp and front centre speaker.
Above that, grade 4/KX-4 adds bi-xenon adaptive headlights with automatic levelling and washers, front parking sensors, a smart key entry system and engine start/stop button, stainless steel door scuff plates, a panoramic sunroof, LED rear combination lamps, 10-way power adjustable driver and eight-way adjustable front passenger ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
GT-Line sits in the range between grades 2 and 3 and has sporty styling flourishes which mark it out as the most dynamic version of the all-new Sportage. There are exclusive 19-inch alloys, LED rear combination lamps, front parking sensors, heated front and outer rear seats, a 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster and, with the DCT gearbox, paddle shifters. The standard GT-Line Exterior Styling Pack adds ice-cube LED front foglights, a high-gloss black ‘blade mesh' grille, dual exhausts, satin chrome belt-line mouldings and door sills and silver front and rear skid plates.
The Interior Styling Pack, which is also standard, introduces black leather upholstery with grey inserts, a high-gloss black centre fascia, a black headliner, stainless steel pedals and a D-shaped leather-covered sports steering wheel.
The four engines available in the previous Sportage have been extensively revised to meet EU6 emissions regulations, with the result that they now deliver better fuel economy with lower CO2 emissions, and they are joined by a 1.6-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol unit in GT-Line.
The 1.7-litre CRDi favoured by more than half of all Sportage buyers is now more than 7mpg more fuel-efficient in combined mode, while its CO2 output falls by 16g/km. There is a reduction in CO2 of 29g/km for the lower-powered (134bhp) 2.0-litre CRDi engine with automatic transmission, while with the higher-powered (182bhp) version of the same engine with automatic transmission the reduction is 23g/km.
The new high-performance T-GDi engine delivers excellent efficiency, with fuel economy of more than 37mpg and CO2 figures of 177g/km (manual) and 175g/km (7DCT).
Driveability has also improved, especially with the 2.0-litre diesels, which now have more torque across a wider rev range. With the 134bhp version, torque rises from 320Nm to 373Nm, while the 182bhp unit now delivers 400Nm (previously 383Nm with manual transmission and 392Nm with the automatic).
Six-speed manual gearboxes are fitted to every model, but the 2.0-litre diesels are available with a six-speed torque converter automatic (standard on First Edition). 7-speed DCT is available on GT-Line models. Intelligent all-wheel-drive is standard on 1.6-litre T-GDi and 2.0-litre CRDi versions. It normally delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels, but this can be redistributed up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear to enhance cornering stability or if road conditions deteriorate. For off-road driving, owners can manually select lock mode, which gives a 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 25mph. The system is now linked to Advanced Traction Cornering Control, which monitors road speed, throttle input and steering angle and distributes torque between the left and right wheels to maximise cornering stability.
With the introduction of GT-Line versions of the Sportage, there are now two distinct body treatments for Kia's compact crossover. All have an almost a sports car-like ratio between sheet metal and glass, with narrow side windows, deeply sculpted sides and bold wheel arches encasing wheels of up to 19 inches in diameter.
The outgoing Sportage was especially successful in the UK, where it is Kia's best-selling model, claiming close to 29 per cent of the company's sales.