Revving Ahead: 2023 Kia Sportage Diesel Redefines Driving Excellence

  • Efficient Diesel Power: The 2023 Kia Sportage 1.6CRDi GT Line Plus combines 100 kW power, 320 Nm torque, and claimed 4.9 L/100 km fuel efficiency.
  • Refined Driving Experience: Its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, balanced suspension, and advanced safety features offer a smooth, engaging ride.
  • Tech-Forward Interior: With Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated seats, and advanced driver-assistance systems, the Sportage delivers modern comfort and connectivity.

When the right color meets sleek design, the Kia Sportage becomes a captivating medium SUV in South Africa’s new-vehicle market. The latest addition to this popular lineup is the 2023 Kia Sportage 1.6CRDi GT Line Plus, introducing a diesel variant that promises a blend of power, efficiency, and advanced features to entice even the most discerning SUV enthusiasts.

A Journey Back to Diesel

The Kia Sportage has always been known for its striking aesthetics and impressive performance. However, when the NQ5-gen Sportage was initially launched in September 2022, it featured an all-petrol lineup. Nevertheless, Kia South Africa left the door open for the possibility of introducing turbodiesel versions later on. In May, three 1.6CRDi Sportage models hit the scene, providing a taste of the diesel powerplant. The diesel lineup is a throwback to proven technology in South African conditions, particularly reminiscent of the engine in the Kia Soul diesel.

In an era where turbodiesel engines are becoming less common in passenger cars, the 2023 Kia Sportage Diesel is a notable outlier. Many automotive brands are phasing out diesel powerplants from their product line-ups, except for larger SUVs and commercial vehicles. In the medium SUV segment, competitors like Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Mazda offer various diesel derivatives.

The Sportage range now boasts an impressive diversity, consisting of eight derivatives—five 1.6-litre turbopetrols and three 1.6-litre turbodiesels—available across three trim levels. This range variation is one of the most extensive in its class.

Under the Hood: Power and Efficiency

The heart of the 2023 Kia Sportage 1.6CRDi GT Line Plus beats with a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel Smartstream engine. This powerplant delivers 100 kW of power and a robust 320 Nm of torque. While the diesel variant may not match the acceleration of its petrol counterparts, its higher torque output and superior fuel economy set it apart.

Engine SpecificationDetails
Engine1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel
Power100 kW
Torque320 Nm
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch transmission
Fuel Consumption4.9 L/100 km (claimed)

In real-world testing, the Sportage Diesel proved its mettle. The 0-100 kph sprint was achieved in a swift 10.37 seconds, surpassing the manufacturer’s claimed time of 11.4 seconds. While the average consumption figure deviated from the claimed 4.9 L/100 km due to spirited driving and congested traffic, the vehicle demonstrated the potential for under 6 L/100 km under optimal conditions. With a tank capacity of 54 litres, the Sportage can theoretically cover around 1 000 km before needing a refill.

Refined Performance and Driving Dynamics

The clatter of diesel engines may be a characteristic sound for many, but Kia’s refinement prowess shines in the 2023 Sportage Diesel. While a slight diesel clatter is audible outside the vehicle, the cabin remains surprisingly insulated from road, wind, and mechanical noise.

The 1.6CRDi GT Line Plus boasts middling outputs and a 0-100 kph time that doesn’t hinder its overall driving experience. With peak torque available between 2 000 and 2 250 rpm, the vehicle exhibits effortless overtaking performance, eliminating the need to fully depress the accelerator pedal. Impressively, this performance is achieved despite the vehicle’s weight of just under 1.5 tonnes.

The real gem of the powertrain is the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The transmission’s seamless coordination with the engine ensures quick and slick gearshifts. The transmission’s excellent calibration, combined with the Sportage’s drive modes (Eco, Sport, and Smart), allows for an adaptable driving experience.

Ride, Handling, and Safety

Sporting 19-inch alloy wheels, the 2023 Sportage Diesel exudes a sporty aesthetic. The plump 235/50 tyres, matched with the 19-inch wheels, maintain the vehicle’s ride quality while delivering a visually appealing stance. The suspension strikes a harmonious balance between ride comfort and handling prowess, ensuring an engaging driving experience.

Safety FeaturesDetails
Airbags6 airbags
Stability ControlElectronic stability control
Blind-Spot WarningIncluded
Advanced Driver-Assistance SystemsLane-keeping assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, and more

In terms of safety, the 2023 Sportage Diesel is well-equipped across all derivatives. All models feature six airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, blind-spot warning, hill-start assist, downhill brake control, and trailer-stability assist. Higher-grade versions, like the GT Line Plus, offer advanced driver-assistance systems that enhance safety during various driving conditions.

Tech-Forward Interior

Stepping inside the 2023 Sportage Diesel reveals an array of impressive tech features. The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, catering to the tech-savvy generation. The inclusion of USB-A and -C ports, along with a wireless charging pad, ensures seamless connectivity and charging for all devices.

The interior design exudes sophistication, with subtle brushed light grey and gloss black accents tastefully elevating the vehicle’s appearance. A GT steering wheel equipped with metallic shift paddles adds a sporty touch. Heated seats, including rear heated seats, and a heated steering wheel cater to comfort, especially during colder days.

Ample Space and Utility

Practicality and space are key considerations in the SUV segment, and the 2023 Sportage Diesel doesn’t disappoint. With the rear seatback’s 40:20:40 split-folding capability, the Sportage offers utility space to accommodate various cargo sizes. With the seats up, the vehicle’s 571 litres of load bay capacity surpasses rivals like the Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Price and After-Sales Support

Pricing for the 2023 Kia Sportage 1.6CRDi GT Line Plus starts at R747 995 as of July 2023. This price includes a 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assistance, providing peace of mind to owners. The vehicle also comes with a 6-year/90 000 km service plan, reflecting Kia’s commitment to comprehensive after-sales support.

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