Coming of age for Sportage

Fourth generation unveiled as grand slam tennis raged in Melbourne, Australia


NOVAK Djokovic slamming an ace deep at corner of the box to end his devastation of Andy Murray in the men’s singles final proved to be a rousing exclamation point for another successful Australian Open in Melbourne.

And coupled with the rise of Angelique Kerber to stardom, the chase for the grand slam events just got off to a very interesting start.

As unforgettable as that Djokovic ace and the killer drop shots Kerber used to make her dream of a major trophy come true, Kia came up with its own brilliant shots in a continuing role as the major partner of the Australian Open to kick off its global marketing campaign for a flagship model that has generated more than a million in unit sales since its launching in 2009.

It’s the coming of age for the Sportage.

Spectators savoring the intense action—whether at the Rod Laver Arena or the adjacent courts—got an extra treat with the public display of the all new Sportage, including the one-off X-Men-inspired CUV variant, a collaboration of 20th Century Fox and the X-Men movie franchise.

Though Rafael Nadal, who many had expected to return to his old form Down Under, was really never a factor and made a quick exit from the form chart, the Spanish global brand ambassador of Kia shared stellar billing with the X-car inspired by the X-Men character Mystique all throughout the week as grand slam tennis raged under perfect weather in Melbourne.

While the Sportage is now on its fourth iteration, the so-called Kia X-Car unveiled was just its second version and specially created to promote the new “X-Men: Apocalypse” film ahead of its playdate this coming May.

The X-Car is inspired by the X-Men character Mystique, reflecting the appearance and powers of the famous shape-shifter.

An online video that has gone viral features the Sportage, driven by Kia’s brand ambassador Rafael Nadal, taking on the X-Men’s arch-villain Apocalypse.

The X-car transforms from its standard state, and shape-shifts into the custom-designed bodywork with special textured “tone-on-tone” matte and gloss blue paint finish, racing wheels and tires, along with red and yellow bodywork highlights.

Sportage love affair

There is reason to believe that the local market will continue with its Sportage love affair where design improvements have made it stronger and safer.

The power that comes from the 2.0-liter CRDi “Nu” MPI engine mated to a six-speed transmission completes the package.

Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system ensures stability under braking and cornering.

The vehicle’s optional Electronic Stability Control and electric motor-driven power steering are key safety features that allowed the Sportage to obtain the maximum five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash-performance tests as well as a high rating from the Euro NCAP’s important Safety Assist category.

Michael Choo, Kia Motors Corp. general manager of overseas public relations, offers his thoughts: “Safety, as always, is a top priority for Kia, and the new Sportage builds on the brand’s reputation for offering the highest standards in occupant and pedestrian crash safety.

Crash safety tests

“The fourth generation of Kia’s best seller has been engineered to meet the toughest and most demanding crash-safety tests.”

A bold new look and an attractive “face” are the biggest changes in the Sportage’s design.

The headlamps are now positioned higher, sweeping back along the outer edges of the sharply detailed bonnet. A lower, wider grille has been enlarged to promote greater engine cooling.

The cabin now has a driver-oriented dashboard, air-ventilated seats made of soft-touch leather with stitching.

Seating comfort, meanwhile, is assured by the 10-way power control with lumbar support for the driver, and an eight-way power control for the passengers.

Ever heard of a new wireless charger for mobile devices inside a car? It’s only one of the new innovations in the new Sportage cockpit, together with a multifunction 8-inch touchscreen providing infotainment and satellite navigation system, a rear parking camera, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and aux-in and USB ports for smartphones and MP3 music players.

All these changes bring us back to one of those classic lines delivered by Mystique in the X-Men movie: “mutant and proud.”

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