Kia has come up with a much-improved Sportage compact crossover for 2017. The new model has to be good to compete with formidable rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape.
This is the fourth-generation of the Sportage and features a distinctly stiffer structure, new suspension, advanced driver assistance system, and an upgraded interior. It has significant suspension and steering improvements for better ride and handling, and an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Every body panel is new, and the front end looks more aggressive.
The 2017 Sportage is roomier because its wheelbase is longer and overall length is increased. Body overhangs also are short. The car has decent legroom and more headroom for two 6-footers in the backseat. Width remains the same, so wide parking area slots aren’t needed.
How nimble are you? Extra effort is needed to get in or out of the Sportage. Once inside the quiet, attractive interior, occupants have a good view of surroundings.
All Sportages have a driver-oriented cockpit with a simple, modern design. The EX and SX turbo models have sumptuous leather upholstery and a heated and leather-wrapped D-shaped wheel with paddle shifters. That shaped wheel eases entry.
The LX has a 5-inch color touchscreen that’s easy to use, and the EX has a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. All versions come with a 160-watt six-speaker audio system while a more powerful 320-watt system is available.
I particularly liked the small but clearly marked dashboard switches for those who don’t feel like using the touchscreen to control various functions.
Rear seatbacks easily flip forward and sit flat to increase the enlarged cargo area, which has a lower opening and available power rear hatch.
The Sportage comes in LX, EX, and SX Turbo trim levels. List prices range from $22,990 to $34,000. The Sportage comes with either all-wheel drive (AWD) or front-wheel drive (FWD).
Two engines are offered–a 2.4-liter 181 horsepower four-cylinder or a turbocharged 2-liter four with 240 horsepower (237 on AWD models) and a lot more torque.
Both engines are hooked to a responsive six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature.
Estimated fuel economy is not a strong point with the turbo engine and AWD.
With FWD, the figures are 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on highways with the lower-horsepower engine and 21 city and 26 with front-wheel drive (FWD) and the more potent turbo engine.
Figures with all-wheel drive (AWD) and the regular engine are 21 city and 25 highway, but just 20 and 23 with the turbo engine.
I tested the $32,500 Sportage SX FWD and found it to be carlike and easy to maneuver in tight parking garage spots and heavy traffic. It was fast during 65-75 mph passing with no turbo lag. The compact crossover was also agile with its fully independent suspension, electronic stability control, traction control and 19-inch wheels. The SX has firmer shocks for sharper handling.
The steering was nicely geared and the ride was supple. The brake pedal had a firm, confident feel, and stopping power with the anti-lock brake setup was good.
My test car had a “sport” mode button that caused the steering, engine shifts, engine response and transmission to be slightly more responsive.
The test car had such standard items as a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated power front seats and a push-button start.
Concerned about safety? The SX FWD also had a rear camera display, blind spot detection with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and front/rear parking assist.
Many of these items — and others — are offered for lower-line models in option packages. For instance, the $1,900 Premium package has items including a panoramic sunroof, blind spot detection system, rear cross-traffic alert and a heated steering wheel.
As with most of its rivals, the Sportage has prospective buyers covered with a variety of models.
The 2017 Kia Sportage earns a ‘Buy It!‘ rating. The deftly redesigned SUV has a sporty look, good handling, and available all-wheel drive. And proves itself to be a strong contender in the hotly contested compact crossover market.
The all-new 2017 KIA Sportage is here and it aims to compete against segment stalwarts such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, and Chevy Equinox just to name a few. Has Kia done enough with the controversial styling and other updates to grab more sales?
|2017 KIA SPORTAGE SPECS|
|MSRP||$22,990 (FWD) / $25,500 (AWD)||$24,490 (FWD) / $27,000 (AWD)||$32,500 (FWD) / $34,000 (AWD)|
|Engine||2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection I4||2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection I4||2.0L turbo I4|
|Power||181 hp @ 6000 rpm||181 hp @ 6000 rpm||240 hp @ 6000 rpm (FWD)|
|237 hp @ 6000 rpm (AWD)|
|Torque||175 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm||175 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm||260 lb-ft @ 1450 – 3500 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|Curb weight||3,305 – 3,596 lbs. (FWD)||3,305 – 3,596 lbs. (FWD)||3,666 – 3,899 lbs. (FWD)|
|3,448 – 3,739 lbs. (AWD)||3,448 – 3,739 lbs. (AWD)||3,765 – 3,997 lbs. (AWD)|
|Estimated fuel economy (city/hwy/combined mpg)||23 / 30 / 26 (FWD)||23 / 29 / 25 (FWD)||21 / 26 23 (FWD)|
|21 / 25 / 22 (AWD)||21 / 25 / 22 (AWD)||20 / 23 / 21 (AWD)|