had all the customer needs and wants covered. As it turned out, this approach didn’t quite work out as planned. The brand admits to missing a vital gap within their own line-up. They have thus recognised and remedied it with the introduction of seven new models. I spent the day with a few of these to find out just what they have to offer.
The problem explained
When Kia launched the Sportage initially, the focus mostly centred around the top-of-the range 1.6 T-GDI GT-Line, which offered all the bells and whistles possible. Taking a closer look at the model line-up, one would have noticed that the entry level 2.0-litre Ignite has a price tag of R369 995.
In order for a customer to get to the next model, the 2.0 CRDI EX AT, they would have needed to fork out an extra R118 000. The next model after that would have seen a further R70 000 price hike. These jumps can be seen throughout the range, hence the Korean automaker’s decision to fill the spaces in-between.
What is on offer?
Kia Motors South Africa went to great lengths to connect with its customer base and to find out what it is that they would like to see within the range. For starters, the gap between the entry-level model and the next derivate of the original range has been supplemented by six new versions. Each offers a bit more in terms of features and design.
New Sportage Ignite range adds Plus models
Of the new models in the Sportage range, a new Ignite Plus slots in between the standard Ignite and EX, and comes fitted with the same 114kW/192Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine, but for an additional R7 000 gets 17-inch alloy wheels, front foglights and an electrochromatic rear-view mirror.
Whereas the standard Ignite originally offered only a six-speed manual gearbox, Kia has now added a six-speed automatic ‘box as an option, with same applying to the Ignite Plus.
But wait, there is more...
Likely to be the pick of the range, the Ignite Plus can now also be specified with a 85kW/280Nm 1.7-litre CRDi oil-burner, mated solely to the six-speed manual ‘box. This model carries a R30 000 price premium over the top-spec Ignite Plus petrol manual, and will cost R406 995. I like this model mostly because of the torque it produces, and since the petrol versions tended to feel a bit lazy at times.
Kia has also decided to add more models to the upper echelons of the line-up with regards to their 2.0-litre EX offerings. Available with either the aforementioned petrol or the 130kW/400Nm turbodiesel unit, the six-speed automatic only EX models are backed-up by the EX Plus, which, over and above the items already offered, adds 19-inch alloy wheels, electric leather front seats, reverse camera and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation.
I must say that I applaud Kia Motors South Africa’s decision to bolster the Sportage range. With the new expanded line-up, there is no doubt that there is now a Sportage for everyone.
Sportage 2.0 Ignite - R369 995
Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus - R376 995
Sportage 2.0 Ignite AT - R382 995
Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus AT - R389 995
Sportage 1.7 CRDI Ignite Plus - R406 995
Sportage 2.0 EX AT - R429 995
Sportage 2.0 EX Plus AT - R459 995
Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX AT - R487 995
Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX Plus AT - R517 995
Sportage 2.4 GDI SX AWD AT - R557 995
Sportage 2.0 CRDI SX AWD AT - R567 995
Sportage 1.6 T-GDI GT Line AWD DCT - R599 995
A five-year / unlimited km warranty and five-year / 90 000km service plan are standard across the entire Sportage range.