Kia Sportage — Solid advancement for 2017

By David Finkelstein

The Sportage is Kia's longest running nameplate, and its continued longevity should be insured with an all-new fourth-generation 2017 model that features contemporary design elements that give it a striking appearance from bumper to bumper with smooth curves and sharp body creases.

The new front grille and headlamp assembly gives it a distinctive look from the front, yet recognizable as a Kia. The new crossover has a Kia-like sloping roofline and a sharply raked rear window. Short overhangs and wheels pushed to the corners are also signature design cues, while a longer, more aerodynamic spoiler and bolder wheel arches give this compact product a more dynamic appearance.

Tasteful chrome trim surrounds the windows
, giving both the Sportage LX and EX a more upscale look.The top-of-the-line SX Turbo model adds new “ice cube” LED fog lamps, HID headlamps, LED taillights, satin exterior trim, metal-look skid plates, metal transverse trim and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Sportage structure is now both stronger and stiffer than that of the outgoing version. This results in a safer, plus quieter vehicle overall. Wind noises were reduced due to thicker front side glass, a lip seal for the panoramic sunroof and additional soundproofing in the doors.

The dimensions have been increased a
bit, therefore one would welcome the more spacious interior for both occupants and cargo. Now, perhaps those weekend trips to the home improvement store or heading out for those memorable camping adventures will be more pleasant!

The innovative dual-level cargo floor and a wider storage area behind the second row has grown substantially from just over 26 cubic feet to almost 31 cubic feet. Adopted from Kia higher end models, the Sportage now offers the Smart Po
wer Liftgate system, which automatically opens when the key fob is within three feet of the vehicle.

The welcomed feeling of spaciousness is enhanced with an available panoramic sunroof with an opening that comes out to be just over 4-inches longer than the outgoing model.

Consumers will also discover advanced driver assistance technologies, significant suspension and steering improvements and available intelligent yet seamless all-wheel-drive chassis that clearly improves Sportage’s overall driving esteem. Even after a brief evaluation, you'll quickly discover the notable gains in the ride quality and handling characteristics.

Premium grade soft touch high quality materials plus world-class craftsmanship create a “class-up” experience. The nicely thought out driver-oriented cockpit features a simple and modern design with clean horizontal lines, emphasizing the more spacious interior. The lateral design of the dashboard helps showcase the upper display zone engineered to channel information via the instrument panel by way of a new color touchscreen,as it's slightly angled toward the driver. 

The lower half, of the assembly features easily identifiable components designed to operate the available dual-zone climate control system and audio functions. The interior is offered in five distinctive colors. Depending on the trim level you chose, leather upholstery is available plus a D-shaped/heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel (with paddle shifters) as well as piano black trim interior pieces, aluminum/alloy operating foot pedals and desirable authentic stitching on the dashboard.

Even more comfort is offered in the form of a multi level-heated and ventilated front seat system. A 10-way power control with lumbar support for the driver’s seat is optional coupled with an eight-way power control for the passenger seat.

For the 2017 model year, the Korean-built CUV will be sold in three distinct trim levels, LX, EX and their top end SX Turbo model.

“Simply put, the Sportage is a breed apart in the compact CUV segment,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “Instead of bland utility, the Sportage com
bines distinctly European and sporty styling with thoughtful design and functionality, including innovative packaging, premium materials, a turbocharged engine and surprising features.”

With the usage of advanced high strength steel, the body now has a higher degree of structural rigidity, making this model the safest ever.

Both FWD and AWD variants are linked with an updated six-speed Sportmatic transmission. The 2.0-liter four cylinder turbo produces 240 horsepower, and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The EPA numbers show 21-city/26-MPG highway with FWD. The 2.4-liter engine generates 181 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. Its MPG numbers reflect 23-city and 30-highway/FWD. Either engine operates just fine or regular grade unleaded fuel.

With the spotlight on the advanced on-board technologies, the LX comes equipped with a standard 5.0-inch color touchscreen that features Bluetooth hands-free phone operation and streaming audio, SiriusXM satellite radio and a rear-camera display. A move up to the EX brings a 7-inch touchscreen with the latest version of Kia’s award-winning telematics and infotainment UVO3 system. Complete with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay plus UVO eServices, it includes some 14 telematics services and up to 8 GB of music storage.

All Sportage trims come standard with a 160-watt six-speaker audio system. Optional is a 320-watt Harman Kardon premium audio with eight speakers, including a subwoofer, an external amplifier for unrivaled audio quality.

The base 2017 Kia Sportage LX has a starting price of $22,990 excluding their $895 destination charges. At road test with their flagship SX and AWD, the sticker pricing came out to be $34,895. The warranty shows 10-years/100,000 miles for the powertrain and 5-year/60,000 miles for basic coverage.

The vehicle generally competes with the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue.