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New Kia Sportage adds mild hybrid power

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A facelifted version of the Kia Sportage SUV has gone on UK sale with for the first time a mild hybrid powertrain option.

The 48-volt unit, Kia’s first application of hybrid technology to its diesel engines, tops a range of updates to the fourth-generation Sportage which is the Korean brand’s best-selling model in the UK.

Dubbed EcoDynamics+, the new drivetrain is applied to the 2.0-litre CRDi diesel engine. It uses a 0.44kWh lithium-ion battery and a mild-hybrid starter-generator unit, connected by belt to the engine crankshaft to add power under acceleration.

Generating energy

When not under load, such as when coasting or braking, the system generates electricity for the battery. When suitably charged it can also turn the engine off under in-gear deceleration and braking, saving fuel and emissions. Kia quotes a four per cent CO2 improvement under the new WLTP measuring procedure, seven per cent on the existing NEDC method.

The hybrid system makes little difference to the Sportage’s practicality, the battery accommodated under the boot floor. It is also paired with a new eight-speed auto transmission and all-wheel-drive.

1807 Kia Sportage The Car Expert

The Car Expert carried out a brief drive of the hybrid Sportage during the launch of the all-new Ceed in Slovakia, and can confirm that in operation it feels no different to the traditional powertrains. These are also being updated in the new model – the 1.7 diesel makes way for a new and more efficient 1.6 unit and the petrol engines now include particulate filters.

Other changes to the Sportage include an upgraded infotainment system and new active driver aids. Adaptive cruise control, an around-view monitor and a driver attention warning system are all now available for the car. These add to the suite of assistance systems that already include autonomous emergency braking and which have already earned the Sportage a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Wide range of trims

Some 21 versions of the new Sportage will be available, prices starting from £20,305 and the mild hybrid variants costing from £34,545. There is also an ‘Edition 25’ model on offer, celebrating the silver anniversary of the first Sportage going on sale.

The mild-hybrid powertrain is the first to be launched as part of Kia’s global powertrain electrification strategy, the brand stating that it is the first manufacturer to offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and 48-volt mild-hybrid technology across its model line-up.

Kia plans to launch 16 ‘advanced powertrain’ vehicles by 2025, including five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five battery-electric vehicles and, in 2020, a fuel-cell electric vehicle.

1807 Kia Sportage The Car Expert

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.