IMPROVING your best selling model to ensure your sales stay high can prove a dilemma for car makers.
Do anything too radical and you could lose your regular buyers. Do too little and you don't grab the attention of potential new customers.
With its market leading Sportage model Kia seems to have pitched things just right by making some clever cosmetic changes both inside and out while at the same time adding a small electric motor to its two diesel models.
So the impressive 1.6-litre 134bhp diesel is now available as a mild hybrid thanks to the addition of a 48-volt electric motor to run in tandem with the engine.
It's a completely autonomous unit so no plugging in and no range anxiety. In fact with this system you're not even aware of its operation - you just get better economy and a boost in performance.
The Sportage is the Korean car maker's best selling model in the UK and accounts for a quarter of all the brand's sales in Europe with well over 125,000 models bought last year.
It's one of those models that has been a success from day one - 24 years ago - and has continually improved.
In the past Sportage models have not always been the best when it came to miles per gallon but this latest 1.6-litre diesel plus electric motor has certainly changed all that.
Over hundreds of miles of motoring I easily managed an average of 47mpg, just slightly higher than the official figure claimed by Kia.
And best of all the new combination produces a nice turn of power making this model quite lively when you put your right foot down hard.
Despite its height the Sportage handles very well even on sharp bends and corners. The ride is on the firm side but not at the expense of comfort.
Externally the latest model has a crisper, more stylish look about it thanks to redesigned front and rear bumpers, changes to the fog lamps and modifications to the grille.
New headlamps get the full LED treatment for better night vision - as do the rear lights - and there are new distinctive daylight running lights.
The 4 spec model driven here comes with full leather upholstery with the two front seats being electrically adjustable.
And luxuriously both the front and rear seats are heated as is the steering wheel, so no need for gloves in the depth of winter.
Another upmarket touch is the panoramic glass sunroof which ensures the interior is bright, a useful asset on the Sportage where the inside is predominantly black.
Standard on this model is an eight inch touch screen with satellite navigation and a rear view camera function with, for the first time, a 360 degree view around the car to make reversing easy.
Always a generous five-seater with plenty of space for rear seat passengers to actually stretch their legs out the latest model is now slightly longer.
It's also packed with a host of safety features including lane assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic dipped/main beam lighting, blind spot warning and even downhill braking control which limit's the car‘s speed on steep or slippery roads so you don‘t have to risk a skid by applying the brake.