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2017 Kia Sportage: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2016

The Sportage was the first Kia model sold in the United States, introducing the brand in 1994. Just 23 years later, the 2017 Kia Sportage arrives as the fourth generation of the compact crossover.

The Sportage has changed and grown over the generations, moving from its body-on-frame origins to a more modern unibody design and gaining lots of features and sophistication along the way. Like the rest of the Kia lineup, the Sportage has moved from being the choice of purely price-minded buyers to a genuine contender in terms of quality and refinement. The redesign for 2017 touches nearly every aspect of the Sportage's content, from design and powertrain to technology and packaging.

What's New for 2017?

New exterior and interior design; new front fascia and grille; larger cargo capacity (30.7 cu ft. versus 26.1 cu ft. in previous generation); new powertrain choices; simplified model lineup with new available and standard technology features

What We Like

Attractive exterior and interior design; all-wheel drive available on all trim levels; lusty 2.0-liter turbocharged engine on top trim level; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

What We Don't

No longer the least expensive vehicle in its class; blind spots have grown with the redesign; fuel economy lags behind top of the class

How Much?

$22,990-$34,000

Fuel Economy

LX and EX models come with a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) direct-injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. Front-wheel-drive LX and EX vehicles are rated to achieve 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drive LX and EX versions get 21 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. SX Turbo models get a turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, and front-wheel-drive versions can achieve 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, while all-wheel-drive models get 20 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

LX (starting at $22,90) is the base Sportage model. Standard features and equipment include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, privacy glass, power adjustable outside mirrors, a rear-window wiper and defroster, cargo net hooks, a luggage under-tray, a dual-level cargo floor, cloth seats, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, front seatback pockets, a manually adjustable driver's seat, air conditioning with rear vents, power door locks, keyless remote entry, power windows, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a 160-watt stereo system with six speakers and a 5-in touchscreen, a 3.5-in thin-film-transistor LCD cluster, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, USB and auxiliary input jacks, 4-wheel disc brakes, selectable drive modes (Normal, Sport and Eco) and a rearview camera.

The Popular Package ($1,100) is available for LX models. It includes a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, upgraded Clean Tex cloth seats, roof rails, UV-reducing solar-control glass, heated outside mirrors, a windshield wiper deicer, a rear-center armrest and cup holders and dual illuminated-visor vanity mirrors.

A Cool and Connected Package ($900) can be added to LX models in addition to the Popular Package. It includes a UVO3 7-in touchscreen with Android Auto and eServices telematics, along with dual-zone automatic climate control.

EX (starting at $25,500) includes all of LX's standard features and adds or upgrades with 18-in alloy wheels, fog lights, a gloss-black grille with chrome trim, solar glass, roof rails, heated outside mirrors, a windshield wiper deicer, dual illuminated-visor vanity mirrors, leather seats, heated front seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone climate control, smart key and push-button start, a 7-in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, UVO eServices telematics and an additional USB port.

The Premium Package ($1,900) can be added to EX models. It includes a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, a blind spot monitoring system with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, heated power-folding exterior mirrors with LED turn signals and LED interior lighting.

A Technology Package ($2,800) can be added to EX models with the Premium Package. This includes 8-in touchscreen navigation, a smart power lift gate, a 320-watt Harmon Kardon sound system with eight speakers, ventilated front seats, an 8-way power front passenger seat, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, front and rear parking-assist sensors, high-beam assist and a compact spare tire.

SX Turbo (starting at $32,500) comes with all of EX's standard features and adds or upgrades to 19-in alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a compact spare tire, a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, bi-xenon headlights with dynamic bending light, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, a dual exhaust, power-folding outside mirrors with LED turn signals, metal-finished front and rear skid plates, metal sport pedals, metal door-scuff plates, LED interior lighting, ventilated front seats, a power adjustable front passenger's seat, a heated flat-bottom steering wheel, paddle shifters, dashboard stitching, a black headliner, black high-gloss interior inserts, an 8-in touchscreen with navigation, a 4.2-inch color thin-film-transistor LCD cluster, a blind spot monitoring system with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and front and rear parking-assist sensors.

A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models, and all-wheel drive can be added to all models for $1,500. Additional port-installed options like bumper applique and tow hitch run from $75 to $425 a la carte.

Safety

All Sportage models come with advanced dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-curtain airbags and dual full-length side-curtain airbags with rollover sensing. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, downhill brake control and LATCH connectors are all standard, as is a rearview camera display. Optional safety systems like a blind spot monitoring system with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning can be added on the EX trim and are standard on SX Turbo models.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Sportage as Good on all tests and gave it a Superior score for front-crash prevention when equipped with autonomous emergency braking. SaferCar.gov gave Sportage a 5-star overall rating.

Behind the Wheel

There's a reason that compact-crossover vehicles like the Sportage have gained a big chunk of market share recently: They're great to drive. With just a slightly taller stance than a comparably sized sedan, the compact crossover is more comfortable, offers greater visibility and nearly matches the performance and fuel economy of its trunk-laden cousins. Add in greater utility and available all-wheel drive like the Sportage has, and you've got a winning combination.

The Sportage impresses with good handling and a quiet, composed ride. LX and EX models, with a 2.4-liter engine that produces 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, deliver more than adequate acceleration and have no problem skirting through traffic and merging onto fast-moving freeways. The SX Turbo's 240 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque are better matched to the Sportage's nearly 4,000-pound curb weight, and enthusiastic drivers will appreciate the sport-tuned suspension's slightly stiffer ride quality.

Sportage's interior has really come a long way, with a beautifully designed and executed layout that puts the driver in control. The long list of standard and available features leaves little to be desired, especially in the loaded SX Turbo models. Kia's fit and finish are impressive, with great materials selection and tasteful restraint.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Honda CR-V -- The best-selling crossover in the United States is a good benchmark for refinement and reliability.

2017 Toyota RAV4 -- Toyota's long-running compact crossover has benefited from recent interior refinements that make it a much-improved choice for grownups.

2017 Mazda CX-5 -- Mazda has the edge when it comes to zoom factor, and the CX-5 delivers the best driving experience in the class.

Autotrader's Advice

Kia has added to its reputation for value with some of the best exterior and interior designs available in popular brands. The 2017 Kia Sportage is a good-looking, well-performing compact crossover that measures up to the best in the class. The EX model, with its impressive equipment list and available all-wheel drive, represents the best balance of price, convenience and capability in the Sportage lineup. If you're looking for a replacement for your sedan or large SUV, you may find a good match here.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Kia Sportage: New Car Review - Autotrader