Kia unveils sleeker Sportage

  • 04-Mar-2010 05:19 EST
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Kia's Los Angeles design studio shaped the exterior of the Sportage.

The latest Kia Sportage was unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, signaling a completely new design direction for the third generation of Kia’s compact five-seat SUV. As well as the new body shell, Kia will use a range of new diesel and revised gasoline engines for the model.

Changes to Kia’s 2.0-L Theta II four-cylinder engine include upgrades to the electronics and low-friction components. Kia claims power has been increased and fuel consumption reduced. The engine is equipped with continuously variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust camshafts.

Peak power is a claimed 163 PS (118 kW) at 6200 rpm, with maximum torque of 194 N·m (143 lb·ft) at 4500 rpm. This engine will be joined later this year by Kia’s first direct-injection gasoline engine, the 1.6-L Gamma rated at 140 PS (103 kW) at 6200 rpm and producing 166 N·m (122 lb·ft) at 4500 rpm.

The Sportage will be offered with two new diesels. The R series 2.0 L available at launch is a variant of the four-cylinder 2.2-L common-rail unit that debuted in the Kia Sorento and Hyundai ix35 (Sorento). The engine produces 136 PS (100 kW) at 4000 rpm and 304 N·m (122 lb·ft) at 2000 rpm.

This will be followed by a new variant of Kia’s U2 diesel engine family with a larger 1.7-L capacity. The engine was designed and engineered at Kia’s research and development center in Germany. It produces 115 PS (85 kW) at 4000 rpm and 255 N·m (188 lb·ft) from 1800 to 2500 rpm. Both the 1.6-L GDI and 1.7-L diesel will be available with an integrated motor stop/start system by the end of 2010.

Two- and four-wheel-drive systems will be available. A six-speed manual transmission will be regular equipment for the diesels and a five-speed manual for the gasoline engines. A six-speed automatic will be an option with the larger gasoline and diesel engines. This transmission is a new design from Kia.

The Sportage was the result of work from three design teams. The exterior was developed by Kia’s Los Angeles-based studio; the European studio was responsible for the interior, while the Korean-based design team were responsible for the overall design.

“Most of the design features from the Kue (a concept shown at the 2007 Detroit Show) have landed here in the production version of the Sportage,” Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer of Kia Motors Europe told AEI. “We think that buyers want a different type of SUV. We wanted to make it look more on-road than off-road and more sleek.”

The interior was the first full interior design that Kia’s European design studio, based in Frankfurt, Germany, has worked on.

“We knew we were going to be working on something that was far more car-like with a high belt line that kind of wraps you inside,” James Moon, the interior designer who worked on the car told AEI. “So we wanted to play on that with the interior and do something that was much more horizontal and muscular that you really see in the dashboard. It’s the very bold section the whole way across, but at the same time it doesn’t look too hard. It has to look like something inviting and a pleasant place to be at the same time—much more what you would expect of a road car than a pure SUV.”

The Sportage will be built at Kia’s Zilina plant in Slovakia.

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