The Sportage ‘Axis Edition’ has been styled and equipped to provide retail and fleet customers with many of the features of a high-grade Sportage for a mid-range price, starting from just £20,995 on the road – on sale from 1 July.
It will be available with a choice of two efficient powertrains and four paint colours. The engines on offer are the 1.6-litre GDi direct-injection petrol unit developing 133bhp and 165Nm of torque, or the advanced 1.7-litre common-rail turbodiesel which develops 114bhp and 260Nm. Both are front-wheel-drive models featuring a six-speed manual transmission linked to Kia’s Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop-start system to save fuel and eliminate emissions when idling in traffic.
The standard colour is solid Arctic White, but buyers are able to opt for one of three metallic finishes – Phantom Black, Fusion White or Dark Gun Metal – for a price of £525.
The Sportage ‘Axis Edition’ models sit between trim grades ‘2’ and ‘3’ in the range, but include many of the features found even higher in the line-up plus a number of SUV finishing touches, including roof rails as standard. The black gloss arrow mesh radiator grille with chrome surround, LED daytime running lamps and rear LED combination lamps and the roof-mounted ‘shark’s fin’ antenna deliver a premium look. Automatic headlight control is included in the lighting package, and the ‘Axis Edition’ models are fitted with electric folding door mirrors with LED indicators.
The sumptuous interior is upholstered in unique black leather with contrasting grey Dinamica® microfiber inserts. This is complemented by the light grey door inserts unique to the ‘Axis Edition’ models. The front and outer rear seats incorporate heater elements. The premium look of the interior is enhanced by black headlining, black B and C pillar coverings and black sun visors, grab handles and map light switches. Privacy glass and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror are other luxury flourishes fitted as standard. ‘Axis Edition’ logos are applied to the outer C pillars.
The lavish specification includes a seven-speaker Infinity®high-end sound system incorporating a subwoofer and external amp. This includes an AM/FM radio, CD player, USB and AUX sockets and iPod connectivity. Bluetooth music streaming and hands-free phone operation are also supported, with voice control in any of ten languages.
The Axis Edition models also come with a seven-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system including full UK postcode recognition and European mapping for 44 countries. The system includes TMC traffic messaging with a detour function, motorway junction views, lane guidance and a speed limit alert. It allows the driver to input quick, short and economy routes. A reversing camera with views displayed in the touchscreen is an additional useful feature built into the system.
The ‘Axis Edition’ models are fitted with the same 17-inch light alloy wheels and 225/60 R17 tyres found on Sportage ‘2’ and ‘KX-2’ grades.
The 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine is from the Gamma family. GDi makes it possible to increase power and torque levels while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Typically, a GDi engine will deliver seven per cent more torque at low engine revolutions and 12 per cent more torque at high rpm than a conventional engine of similar capacity – and with a fuel economy improvement of around ten per cent.
It develops 133bhp at 6,300rpm and 165Nm of torque (122lb/ft) at 4,850rpm. It is an aluminium 1,591cc 16-valve twin-cam unit with variable valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust valves, and featuring a high 11.0:1 compression ratio.
A fine mist of petrol is injected directly into each of the four cylinders at up to 135 bar in minutely precise quantities and with millisecond timing to ensure the Sportage uses only as much fuel as it needs, exactly when it needs it. The result is highly efficient combustion that ensures excellent performance with low fuel consumption and emissions – the 1.6-litre GDi Sportage with ISG has a combined fuel economy of 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions of only 149g/km. It accelerates from 0-60mph in 10.7 seconds and has a maximum speed of 111mph
The 1.7-litre turbodiesel is part of the U2 family engineered and designed at Kia’s research and development facility in Germany. Developing 114bhp at 4,000rpm and 260Nm (192lb/ft) of torque at 1,250 – 2,750rpm, it has been crafted for optimum driveability in European conditions. More than 90 per cent of maximum torque is available from just 2,000rpm. Performance is similar to that of the 1.6-litre petrol version, with a maximum speed of 107mph and 0-60mph acceleration in 11.9 seconds, while combined fuel economy is 54.4mpg and CO2 emissions are a remarkably low 135g/km.