Kia’s longest-running nameplate, the Sportage, is all-new for 2017.
Now in its fourth generation, the all-new Kia Sportage wears a sharp, contemporary exterior over a structure that is stiffer and offers more interior space. Premium materials and advanced technologies combine to make a cabin that makes the driving experience a joy.
“Simply put, the Sportage is a breed apart in the compact CUV segment,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning Kia Motors America. “Instead of bland utility, the Sportage combines distinctly European and sporty styling with thoughtful design and functionality, including innovative packaging, premium materials, a turbocharged engine and surprising features. Sales of compact CUVs are on a sharply upward trajectory, and the all-new 2017 Sportage hits the sweet spot with expressive, distinctive styling and enough versatility to handle even the most multifaceted active lifestyle.”
Every body panel of the 2017 Sportage is new. It now bears Kia’s signature “tiger-nose” grille and the headlights are positioned higher and draw the eye along the sculpted hood.
Despite all its changes, the all-new Sportage remains recognisable thanks to its sloping roofline and raked rear window. With its wheels pushed to the corners, the short overhangs and bold wheel arches give this compact crossover a strong appearance.
The new look disguises the source of the Sportage’s strength – its significantly improved structure. While width is the same as its predecessor, wheelbase has been stretched 1.2 inches and overall length has increased 1.6 inches.
Fifty-one percent of the 2017 Sportage’s foundation consists of Advanced High Strength Steel versus the outgoing model’s 18 percent. This improves torsional rigidity 39 percent.
The result of the exterior dimensions growing, the Sportage’s new cabin provides more space and comfort. Now, there is more headroom and legroom, with rear seat passengers benefitting the most. The second row has a lower floor, allowing the bench height to be lowered to provide a more comfortable seating position.
Up front, the Sportage’s driver-oriented cockpit features a simple and modern design. The dash is divided into two zones, with the upper area hosting a colour touchscreen and the audio and climate controls in the lower area.
To give the Sportage a more premium feel, it is available with heated and cooled leather seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and authentic stitching on the soft-touch dashboard.
Outward visibility has also been improved. The A- and C-pillars are thinner, the rear glass is larger, and the side mirrors are mounted lower on the doors. Partnered with the available panoramic sunroof, which now has a 4.1 inch longer opening, this enhances the feeling of spaciousness.
Thanks to thicker front side glass, a better seal around the panoramic sunroof, and additional sound-absorbent materials, the occupants are well isolated from noise.
Along with the increased passenger space, cargo room has also grown. An innovative dual-level floor and a widened luggage area combine to provide 30.7 cubic-feet. The lower lift-over height and available Smart Power Liftgate, which automatically opens when the key fob is within 3 feet of the Sportage, make loading and unloading easy.
When Kia retuned the Sportage’s engines it focused on improving efficiency and driving performance.
The LX and EX models use a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre 4-cylinder, which produces 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The sporty SX Turbo boasts a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-4 that makes an impressive 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
Every trim level starts as front-wheel drive, but a Magna Dynamax intelligent all-wheel drive system is available to each. Both FWD and AWD variants are mated to a 6-speed Sportmatic transmission.
Providing a leap forward in ride quality is the completely redesigned suspension. The Sportage is now more stable and predictable on rough road surfaces, and SX Turbo models are tuned for sharper handling.
The 2017 Kia Sportage is available now with prices starting just below $25,000.
What do you think about the all-new Sportage? Did Kia make it stand out in your mind? Let us know in the comments below.