Kia has just revealed its refreshed Sportage crossover for the 2019 model year, but what’s going on under the body appears a lot more significant than any exterior styling enhancements. And that’s because the new Sportage will feature the first stage of Kia’s global powertrain electrification strategy.
As for those exterior updates, Kia says: “Improvements to the Sportage’s sporty exterior design include new front and rear bumpers, as well as redesigned front and rear lamps.” Unless you already own a current Sportage you may need to take the South Korean automaker’s word for that because it’s hard to notice any significant difference without seeing a 2018 and a new 2019 model parked next to each other.
However, the really significant enhancement to the popular SUV is the availability of a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain. This isn’t just any mild-hybrid system either. It’s actually an advanced new EcoDynamics+ 48-volt diesel mild-hybrid powertrain that should help Sportage models equipped with it return some pretty impressive fuel economy ratings.
The new EcoDynamics+ system in the Sportage is a 2.0-litre ‘R’ diesel mild-hybrid that supplements acceleration with power from a 48-volt battery, and extends the amount of time the engine is in ‘off time.’ This is achieved using a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator unit, which is an electric motor that replaces a standard 12-volt starter motor but also contributes to driving the vehicle. One of its key attributes is that it can reduce CO2 emissions by up to four percent on the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).
Kia has now become the first manufacturer to offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and 48-volt mild-hybrid technology across its entire portfolio of models. The company will launch no fewer than 16 advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, which will include five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrid variants, five all-electric EVs and, by as soon as 2020, a brand new hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle.
Sales of the 2019 Kia Sportage are set to commence in Europe from the third quarter of this year. – AFP Relaxnews