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Kia Details Their Death Valley Hot Weather Testing Program
Kia Motors has an extreme hot weather testing program that they put their vehicles through, with the Sportage CUV being the latest to pass it.
The all-new 2017 Sportage was recently shown off at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and will be available all over the world in the early part of 2016.
The final stages of the extreme weather testing is now going on with the Sportage, which is being put through its paces in Death Valley, which can hit temperatures of as 56ºC (132ºF) in the summer.
The main focus in this test is to see how well the HVAC system works in extreme conditions.
There are three particularly tough tests put on the air conditioning system.
1. The uphill climb
The uphill climb is the first of those, and it begins with the vehicle sitting in the midday sun until the cabin hits over 50ºC (122ºF).
The Sportage is then driven through Furnace creek to an elevation of about 5,000 feet.
It’s a 27km ride that is performed at 100 km/h, and it shows the effects of the engine load on the ability of the HVAC system.
2. Stop and go drive
The stop and go drive is the second test, and it simulates a typical drive in a congested city center.
The vehicles is driven at 40 km/h in Furnace Creek for a period of 2 minutes before it is stopped and idled for 2 minutes.
This is performed over and over again to test the strain on the engine, transmission, and HVAC.
3. Slow drive in hot weather
The third and final extreme test for the Sportage is the slow drive. This test is run in the Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America.
The vehicle sits in the heat for an hour before being driven for 30 minute periods at speeds of 40 km/h.
This is to test how the HVAC system performs when airflow to the AC unit is reduced.
Mojave proving ground in California
More extreme weather testing is performed at the Mojave Proving Ground in California.
This course, which sits 177 km from Los Angeles, was opened in 2004, and contains 120 km of different road surfaces that are used to put all Kia vehicles through the toughest of test.
Things like ride, braking, and NVH levels are routinely tested in the extreme conditions of Kia’s Mojave proving ground.
The location is also home to a material weathering facility, where various components are tested for a year at a time.
The new Kia Sportage is as close to the end of global testing as it gets, with an entire fleet of the vehicles tested for reliability and durability in all sorts of different conditions.
Name a weather or road condition, and you can bet that the 2017 Sportage will have been tested on it.
This is the sort of strict development and testing that every single Kia model goes through before being made available to the consumer.
It also explains why Kia can so confidently continue to offer a 7-year 100,000 mile warranty with all their vehicles.