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2016 vs. 2017 Kia Sportage: What’s the Difference?

Editor’s note: You may want to read more of Autotrader’s model vs. model comparison car reviews as well as the 2016 Kia Sportage review and the 2017 Kia Sportage review.


The compact-crossover segment is more popular than ever, and the new 2017 Kia Sportage looks to capitalize on that popularity with a full redesign that makes it a lot more competitive against ever-changing rivals. But what exactly has changed? And is a new Sportage worth a price premium over a used or certified pre-owned version of the outgoing model?

We’ve created a close comparison between the latest Sportage and last year’s version to help you answer those questions.

2016 Kia Sportage   2017 Kia Sportage


On the outside, the latest Sportage looks completely different from the outgoing model. That may be partially because the Sportage now boasts a more corporate look that brings its design in line with the larger Sorento, or it may be because the outgoing Sportage used an older design that needed modernization.

Whatever the reason, the latest Sportage is similar to the outgoing model in size alone; otherwise, it boasts a totally redesigned look. In short, you won’t have trouble telling apart the new Sportage from the outgoing model, even if you don’t see them side by side.

2016 Kia Sportage interior   2017 Kia Sportage interior


The 2017 Sportage also boasts a heavily revised interior compared to the outgoing model. In addition to utilizing dramatically improved materials, the latest Sportage’s cabin touts a revised dashboard, center control stack, steering wheel and gauge cluster, giving the car a more modern interior design. Interior room is also increased with the new model, which touts more room in back for cargo and a little more space for front- and rear-seat occupants.

2016 Kia Sportage   2017 Kia Sportage


The outgoing Sportage offered two engines: a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, which returned up to 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, and a muscular 260-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that offered 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

The new Sportage also offers two engines. Standard is a 182-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, just like on the outgoing model, while the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder has been detuned to 240 hp. Fuel economy, however, is up: The base version is now rated at 23 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, while turbocharged Sportage models now boast 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

2016 Kia Sportage   2017 Kia Sportage

Features & Technology

The 2017 Sportage offers so many more features than the 2016 edition that it’s hard to believe only one model year separates these two vehicles. Not only is there a larger infotainment screen with an improved Kia UVO interface, but the latest Sportage also offers a wide range of today’s latest safety features, including forward-collision warning, automatic braking, lane-departure warning, a blind spot monitoring system and more. The latest Sportage also includes a few features the old model should have had, such as a power lift gate and an upgraded sound system.

Simply put, if you like a lot of features and equipment with your compact crossover, you’ll definitely want to choose the new, well-equipped Sportage over the outdated, outgoing model.

2016 Kia Sportage   2017 Kia Sportage

Driving Experience

On the road, the latest Sportage touts some obvious improvements over the outgoing version. Specifically, it offers a quicker steering feel with noticeable improvements in cornering and handling capabilities, likely an effect of advancing suspension technology. The Sportage’s base-level engine is unchanged, as is its acceleration, and while we’d normally miss the 20 hp removed from the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the remaining 240 hp and the resulting acceleration are still near the top of the class.

As for ride quality, we think the new Sportage is a little more comfortable than the outgoing model, while wind and road noise have definitely decreased compared to the old version. Visibility and brake-pedal feel are about the same.

Our verdict? While there are some huge differences between the new and old Sportage in terms of technology, equipment and design, driving experience is relatively similar. Upgrades to the new model almost solely relate to a more modern overall design.

2016 Kia Sportage   2017 Kia Sportage


Although the new Kia Sportage has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we have high hopes for strong ratings, as the outgoing model earned a perfect 5-star overall score. Meanwhile, the 2017 Sportage has already earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation, while the old model didn’t qualify for the rating due to a poor performance in the firm’s challenging front small-overlap crash test.

As for safety features, the 2017 Sportage is head and shoulders above the old model. While the 2016 offered everything you’d need, such as side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and an optional backup camera, the new edition brings the Sportage into the modern realm, boasting forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system.

Bottom line: If safety is a priority, you’ll want to choose the new Sportage over the old model.


This choice is clear: The all-new 2017 Kia Sportage represents a major improvement over the outgoing model — so major, in fact, that the latest Sportage easily earns our recommendation over the old version, touting improvements in safety features, technology, comfort, convenience, fuel economy and interior and exterior design. We only recommend an old Sportage over the latest model if your budget truly won’t stretch to include a new one.

Find a Used Kia Sportage for sale


Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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