Wednesday 22 August 2007

New Car: 2008 Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage SUV now manufactured in Europe

Full 18-model Kia Sportage line-up produced in Slovakia

Choice of gasoline or diesel engines, with manual or automatic transmission

Improved build-quality, comfort, refinement and towing ability

Kia Motors will officially celebrate the start of full production of its popular Sportage compact SUV at the company’s ultra-modern Slovakia facility by holding the premiere of the 2008 model at the Frankfurt International Motor Show on 11 September.

Kia’s first-ever plant in Europe continues to be a burgeoning success as the Zilina operation has seamlessly added two new models – the cee’d Sporty Wagon and Sportage SUV– to its inventory, just a few months after making its very first cee’d hatchback cars last December. At the end of this year, the facility will add a fourth model to its repertoire, the Pro-Cee’d three-door hatchback. With a staff of 2,400 working two shifts, Zilina is already living up to its promise of becoming the most productive car manufacturing plant in Europe, aiming to build 100 cars per employee per year – when fully operational.

The handsome Kia Sportage SUV is little changed on the outside, but 2008 models will feature exterior enhancements that include a re-styled front grille, black bezel headlamps, enlarged door mirrors, new-style alloy wheels, a broader range of paint finishes and body-colour bumpers for all models.

“Made in Europe, the new 2008 Kia Sportage retains all the popular attributes of the original model and now offers customers an even better drive in greater comfort and refinement,” enthused Mr Jean-Charles Lievens, Senior Vice President Kia Motors Europe. “Since its launch in Europe during 2004, the Sportage has attracted more than 100,000 buyers and has played a key role, together with the larger Sorento SUV and smaller Picanto city car, in raising public awareness of the Kia brand across the broadest spread of European consumers.”

Technical improvements introduced simultaneously with manufacturing the 2008 Sportage in Europe begin with the power steering, which is re-tuned to be a little more direct. Sixteen inch diameter wheels with 215/65 R16 tyres are standard, the suspension dampers are stiffer for improved on-road handling and body roll has been reduced. Larger, 300 mm diameter front brakes now stop the Sportage in just 41.6 metres (from 100 kph), and place the Kia among the best-in-class.

Inside, the 2008 Sportage has improved front seats with longer (by 40 mm) and wider (by 20 mm) cushions for greater support and comfort. The rear seat cushion shape and firmness have been enhanced and the seat lowered by 5 mm to increase headroom.

Wind noise has been reduced by redesigning the door mirror housings and improving the seals around the electric sunroof. The 2008 Sportage has 12.5% more towing capacity than the previous model – now up to a maximum of 1800 kg.

Thanks to the unique Rotation Dipping Painting process at the Zilina plant, which rotates each bodyshell through a forward somersault while immersed in the electro-plating tank, and the built-in quality of Kia vehicles manufactured in Slovakia, all versions of the 2008 Kia Sportage are covered by a new 10-Year anti-corrosion warranty – an extension of four years.

Customers buying a 2008 Kia Sportage can choose from a range of 10 exterior colours and two interior colours – Flesh Beige and Saturn Black. Eight of the exterior colours are new to Sportage, with two solids and six metallics in common with the cee’d models produced at Zilina. Two of the most popular metallic colours (Greyish Silver and Smart Blue), are carried over from the 2007 model year.

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