January 2016 was when Kia launched the fourth generation of the Sportage Compact SUV into the Australian market.
About 2 1/2 years later the increasingly popular brand is upgrading the mid-size Sportage with a mid-model life enhancement.
The key refinements include:
- Diesel drivetrain gains eight-speed auto
- Revised suspension brings more refined and compliant ride
- Revised subframe and steering geometry for better responsiveness
- AEB and Lane Keep Assist across the range
For the Australian market the new Sportage will be available in four trim levels – Si, Si Premium, SLi and GT-Line.
There’s a choice of three engines:
- a 2.0-litre MPI (114kW and 192 Nm) – Si, Si Premium and SLi
- a 2.4-litre Theta GDI (135kW and 237Nm) – GT-Line
- a 2.0-litre diesel (136kW and 400Nm) – all grades
And a choice of two transmissions:
- Six-speed automatic (petrol)
- Eight-speed automatic (diesel)
The 2018 Kia Sportage update sees some changes to the front light clusters with the HID headlamps on the GT-Line making way for a full LED cluster.
The fog lamp aperture on the Si and Si Premium get sharper lines for “a sportier, more aggressive look”, according to Kia.
There are some minor cosmetic changes to the grill as well as a revised tail light cluster that improves braking visibility.
To complement the changes there are also new designs for the 17″, 18″ and 19″ alloy wheels.
The recent update has seen some cosmetic upgrades to the interiors.
These include some styling highlights surrounding the centre navigation screen, some trim changes for GT-Line (as seen below) and a general refinement.
The Sportage also features two USB charging points, one in the front and another in the rear, to allow all occupants to charge their mobile devices while on the move.
Otherwise there are no changes and for more information about the interior, read our original reviews of the launch of the 4th generation Sportage.
Entry-level Kia Sportage Si comes with:
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
- Engine immobilizer
- Remote central locking
- 6-way adjustable driver’s seat
- 7″ colour LCD infotainment system
- 6-speaker audio unit
- Cloth trim seats
- Rain sensing wipers
- Cruise control
- Power windows front and rear
- Bluetooth functionality
The Kia Sportage Si Premium adds:
- Satellite navigation
- Front parking sensors
- LED running lights
- 18″ alloys with 225/55 R18 rubber
- 8″ touch screen infotainment
- DAB digital radio
- 8-speaker JBL premium sound system
- 10-year Mapcare and SUNA Traffic monitoring
The Kia Sportage SLi adds to the extensive list:
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
- Smart key with push button start
- Leather appointed seats
- 10-way driver adjustable seat
- LED rear combination lamps
- Electronic parking brake
- 18″ alloys wheel with 225/55 R18 tyres
The Kia Sportage GT-Line adds:
- 8-way power front passenger seat
- Intelligent Parking Assist System
- LED fog lights
- GT-Line sports pack (bumpers, side sill and grille)
- Panoramic sunroof
- Flat-bottomed sports wheel with gear-shift paddles
- Wireless phone charging
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Hands-free power tailgate
- Advanced Smart Cruise Control
- 19″ alloys with 245/45 R19 rubber
- LED headlights with auto levelling
Drive and Engine
There really isn’t any changes to the engines. However the eight-speed transmission in the diesel models provides a marginal fuel efficiency improvement.
Essentially it improves what is already a great engine/transmission combination.
As with all Kia models in Australia, the local engineering team has taken the opportunity to revisit the ride and handling package introduced with the fourth generation car.
The recalibrations and improvements introduced for the product enhancement have given the Sportage a more compliant ride with improved body control and enhanced steering feel.
To my mind the pick of the range is the turbo-diesel with eight-speed auto and AWD.
Safety, as always, is a top priority for Kia, with the achievement of a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The rating for the updated model is yet to be determined, but Kia is expecting no changes.
- Quality/value proposition
- Australian tuned ride and handling
- 2.0L CRDi/8 speed/ AWD combination
Not So Good Bits:
- Some of the interior still a little plastic
- Cannot turn off the Adaptive Cruise Control
- Some safety features only available on GT-Line
The SUV market is increasingly competitive and popular among buyers.
Kia has taken the opportunity to make some subtle enhancements to the Sportage to keep the vehicle at the forefront of buyer’s minds.
These changes have made what was already an excellent product even better.
As I mentioned, there are some highly rated, European badged SUVs that would be embarrassed in a direct comparison with the Sportage.
That statement shows just how good the Sportage really is.
Facts and Figures: 2019 Kia Sportage
- Engines: 2.0 litre petrol producing 114kW/192Nm, 2.4 litre petrol producing 135kW/237Nm and 2.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 136kW/400Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto (petrol), eight-speed auto (diesel)
- Safety: Five Stars
- Warranty: 7 Yrs/Unlimited km
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: From $29,990