Kia has launched its all-new Sportage mid-sized SUV. It’s the fifth generation of one of Kia’s most popular vehicles and its first SUV, having been on sale here since 1997.

Sportage sales have declined steadily in the past few years, partly because of new models and upgrades in its highly-competitive market segment but also with existing Kia owners downsizing to the newer and smaller siblings Seltos and Stonic. Then, there will no doubt be others who have been holding off for this important upgraded model.

As before, Gen 5 Sportage will be sold in four variants, entry-level S and top-grade GT-Line are on sale now with the mid-spec SX and SX+ models due within the next couple of months.

The design of previous Sportage models has been neat and functional without anything that has made them stand out from the crowd. That’s all changed with the new model which is sure to turn heads. It’s a great looking vehicle from every angle.

The front has a much bolder look with the new gloss black grille stretched across the width of the vehicle and flanked by what is likely to be the car’s party piece, a pair of boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights which frame new diagonal headlights, also LED.

In profile there’s a new fastback look to new Sportage with the roofline sloping sharply down to the integrated spoiler and angular taillights which are linked by a strong horizontal line that gives a wider appearance.

There are eight body colours, four of them new to Sportage although seven of them are premium. The stand-out to our eyes is Jungle Wood Green although it’s only available in the SX+ and Gt-Line variants.

Each spec level gets a different wheel style. All are machined finish alloys, 17-inch in the S, 18-inch in the SX and 19-inch in the SX+ and GT-Line.

Sportage is available overseas in either short or long wheelbases but sensibly, given the availability of the Seltos and Stonic models, will only come here in LWB format. It’s now larger in all external dimensions than the outgoing model and that contributes to extra interior space, especially in the rear seats.

There’s a comprehensive choice of powertrains in new Sportage including two petrol and one diesel engines; manual and three different automatic transmissions; and either front or all-wheel drive.

The S and SX models each get the naturally-aspirated MPI 2.0-litre petrol engine that carries over from the outgoing Sportage. Peak outputs are 115 kW and 192 Nm and it comes with the choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions and front-wheel drive.

Available across all four variants is a 2.0 CRDI 2.0-litre turbo-diesel that generates 137 kW and 416 Nm. It’s mated to an eight-speed auto and only comes with all-wheel drive.

The Sportage SX+ gets the full menu choice with both of the above engines as well as a new 1.6T-GDI 1.6-litre 132 kW / 265 Nm turbo-petrol unit linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The top spec GT-Line comes with either the 1.6T-GDI or the 2.0 CRDI with eight-speed auto and AWD.

Fuel consumption on the combined urban/rural cycle is listed at 7.7 L/100 km (manual) and 8.1 L/100 km (automatic) in the 2.0-litre petrol; 7.2 L/100 km in the 1.6T-GDI; and 6.3 L/100 km in the 2.0-litre diesel.

There’s now a new Terrain Mode setting in the diesel models to cater for some semi-serious off-road conditions.

All Sportage models get seven airbags (including front-centre); autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist features; blind spot collision warning; rear cross traffic warning; driver inattention alert; lane keeping and following assist; safe exit warning; intelligent speed limit assist; rear parking sensors; multi-collision braking; reversing camera; automatic headlights; and IsoFix child seat anchors.

SX, SX+ and GT-Line models add front parking sensors and rain-sensing windscreen wipers while the GT-Line also gets surround view monitor; blind spot view monitor; reverse parking collision avoidance assist and remote smart parking assist.

There are three different levels of infotainment touchscreens: 8.0-inch in the S, 12.3-inch LCD in the SX and SX+; and a brilliant curved display in the GT-Line that combines both the 12.3-inch LCD infotainment screen with a 12.3-inch digital drive cluster. The lower-spec models each get a 4.2-inch digital driver cluster.

SX, SX+ and GT-Line get satellite navigation with 10-year updates as well as the capacity to personalise their preferences such as radio favourites and Bluetooth priorities.

S and SX get a six-speaker sound system, SX+ and GT-Line step up to an eight-speaker Harmon Kardon premier system.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available. Bluetooth pairing is fast and intuitive.

The Gen 5 Sportage is built on Kia’s new N3 platform previously seen here in the latest Carnival and Sorento models. As with all Australian Kia models there has been considerable local input into tuning Portage to suit our distinctive conditions.

The result is improved ride and handling that combines comfort with stability even when pushed reasonably hard. We have a Sportage GT-Line on the way to Brisbane shortly and we’ll provide a detailed road test shortly.

With its combination of striking new looks, large choice of drivetrains, added safety features and seven-year warranty the new Kia Sportage has plenty of offer.

S 2.0-litre petrol: $34,690 (six-speed manual), $35,690 (six-speed automatic)
S 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $42,690 (eight-speed automatic)
SX 2.0-litre petrol: $37,490 (six-speed manual), $38,490 (six-speed automatic)
SX 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $45,490 (eight-speed automatic)
SX+ 2.0-litre petrol: $44,490 (six-speed automatic)
SX+ 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $49,990 (eight-speed automatic)
SX+ 1.6-litre turbo-petrol: $46,990 (seven-speed DCT automatic)
GT-Line 1.6-litre turbo-petrol: $51,990 (seven-speed DCT automatic)
GT-Line 2.0-litre turbo-diesel: $54,990 (eight-speed automatic)
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all government and dealer delivery charges.

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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