New electric steering and new multi-link rear suspension

All around the world, more than 860,000 Kia Sportage owners have enjoyed this model's special blend of on-road talents and off-road abilities since the second-generation model was introduced in 2004.

Now, determined to rival the best vehicles in the compact-SUV class with the all-new Sportage, Kia engineers were given the goal of improving the earlier model's ride/handling balance, whilst also achieving more precise and rewarding responses to driver inputs, with increased riding refinement.

Kia Sportage engineering team designed the new electric power steering system to deliver good steering feel and precise vehicle control, with low effort during parking and city driving and more substantial feedback during out-of-town motoring.

The new MDPS (motor driven power steering) rack-and-pinion system is speed-sensitive and requires just 2.96 turns of the steering wheel from lock-to-lock. Switching from the previous model's hydraulic system to electric power assistance offers a 3.5% improvement in fuel economy.

Both the front and rear suspension systems are mounted on a lightweight hydro-formed subframe, with carefully fine-tuned rubber bushes to help isolate the occupants from irregularities in the road surface.

At the front, the compact MacPherson Strut suspension receives a little fine-tuning to smooth its operation and is largely carried over from the previous model. Small changes to the suspension geometry improve feel and stability, while new side-load coil springs reduce friction.

The new Kia Sportage benefits from an all-new, multi-link, fully-independent rear suspension system. For the new model, the dampers and coil springs are mounted separately to minimize intrusion into the cabin and trunk space.

At the rear, new amplitude selective dampers (ASD) can be fitted as an option. These dampers combine the ability to deliver firm control over bumpy roads and when travelling at higher speeds (stiffer, high amplitude dampening), with a smoother city ride (softer, low amplitude dampening) at lower speeds.

All new Sportage models sold in Europe are equipped with an all-disc braking system, backed up by ABS anti-lock and EBD brake-force distribution systems as standard. For maximum stopping power, ventilated front discs and solid rear discs are fitted - with larger diameter discs fitted to AWD models.

Although the new Kia Sportage's handling bias is focused more towards on-road motoring, the new model with AWD and its manually selected 'Lock Mode' that splits torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles, will be a capable performer in slippery conditions and off-road.

Off-road credentials for the new Kia Sportage include a 172 mm ground clearance, an approach angle of 22.7 degrees, a 28.2 degrees departure angle and a ramp-over angle, which is 17.7 degrees. For drivers interested in tackling more demanding terrain, the maximum climb angle is 44 degrees and the potential roll over limit angle is 45 degrees.

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