Kia is launching a new top-of-the-range ‘KX-4’ version of the Sportage that features a higher output turbodiesel engine alongside the most luxurious level of specification yet seen in the company’s popular crossover model. The Sportage ‘KX-4’ uses an 181bhp version of Kia’s 2.0-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine mated to a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions and an intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. The Sportage ‘KX-4’ wants for nothing in terms of equipment and builds on the specification of the ‘KX-3 Sat Nav’ by adding a Parallel Parking Assist System – complete with all-round parking sensors – a keyless smart entry system and engine stop/start button and stainless steel door scuff plates. Standard equipment also includes a full leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, seven-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with EU mapping, Xenon lights, automatic lights and wipers, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, cruise control, iPod connectivity, colour reversing camera and a seven-speaker stereo complete with external amplifier and subwoofer. Unique to the Sportage ‘KX-4’, the new higher output 2.0-litre CRDi ‘R’ powerplant develops 181bhp at 4,000rpm and 383Nm (282lb/ft) of torque from just 1,800rpm to 2,500rpm in manual guise. The automatic develops 392Nm. A revised variable geometry turbocharger, higher pressure piezo injectors and software mapping are responsible for the 47bhp increase over the 134bhp version that the new version sits alongside. The ‘KX-4’ completes the 0-60mph dash in 9.4 seconds and, when fitted with the six-speed manual transmission, top speed is 120mph, CO2 emissions are 158g/km and 46.3mpg is achieved on the official combined cycle. The six-speed automatic has a top speed of 121mph whilst the CO2 emissions are 189g/km and the official combined cycle figure is 39.2mpg. Both ‘KX-4’ versions fall into insurance category 19. Unlike the other trim versions – ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘3 Sat Nav’ – which are also on offer with two wheel drive, ‘KX-4’ is only available in All-Wheel Drive (AWD). The intelligent electronically-controlled single high ratio system continuously monitors driving conditions and anticipates when AWD will be needed ensuring Sportage is always in the correct drive mode for the prevailing circumstances. The AWD system normally delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels. But the torque can be redistributed up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear to enhance cornering stability or if road conditions deteriorate. For off-road driving, owners can manually select lock mode, which gives a 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 25mph. The Sportage ‘KX-4’ 2.0 CRDi 181bhp manual is priced at £27,195 OTR and the automatic at £28,500 OTR – both versions go on sale from today and, as with every new Kia, come with a fully transferable, seven year warranty as standard. The Sportage range, priced from £17,300 OTR, has found favour with car buyers since its launch in September 2010 with over 18,000 so far finding homes in the UK. During that time in excess of 550,000 Sportages have been sold across the globe.