Kia's longest-running nameplate, the new Sportage gets a stiffer body, improved ride and steering, and more interior space. An extra 1.6 inches of overall length opens up more rear legroom, while a lowered second-row floor make for easier entry and exit.
Cargo room behind the rear seats also increases from a skimpy 26.1 cubic feet to a more competitive 30.7 cubic feet. There's even a longer panoramic sunroof.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder remains the base engine, rated at 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, slightly less than the current model. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is also available, making 241 hp and 260 lb-ft. That's a noticeable drop of 19 hp and 9 lb-ft, presumably in the name of improved fuel economy, although Kia has yet to announce official EPA ratings for the 2017 Sportage yet.
Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive an available option.
The 2017 Sportage will be offered in LX, EX and SX Turbo trim levels.
LX models get a standard 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming audio, while EX models get leather upholstery and a 7-inch touchscreen with the latest version of Kia's Uvo3 connected services. Uvo3 offers 14 different telematics services such as Pandora Internet radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and WiFi hotspot functionality, and 8GB of music storage.
The SX Turbo includes all of the above, but adds an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters and 19-inch wheels.
The new Sportage arrives at dealers in early spring. Kia has not announced pricing, but says it will be competitive in the segment. The current Sportage starts at $23,045, not including destination fees.
Edmunds says: With sharp new looks, more cabin and cargo space and upgraded technology, the 2017 Kia Sportage is well positioned in the hotly contested compact SUV segment.