Looking for a small crossover SUV with both style and versatility? The 2017 Kia Sportage might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
[BRYN MACKINNON: ] I'm Bryn MacKinnon and this is an Edmunds expert rundown of the 2017 Kia Sportage. [MUSIC PLAYING] The Sportage looks a bit odd to some of us from the front, kind of like its nose got chopped off by a meat cleaver. [MUSIC PLAYING] We've heard the dreaded Subaru benign Tribeca comparison, too, but from the side and the back, the Sportage redeems itself with taut proportions and a generally upscale vibe. On the road, we've been impressed by the Sportage's agreeable ride and although the optional turbo engine isn't that fast by the numbers, it does add a useful helping of low-end torque for quick stoplight getaways. [MUSIC PLAYING] The Sportage is also athletic around corners and laudably quiet at highway speeds. It's a pleasure to drive, though the fuel economy is less enjoyable. Inside the Sportage, you'll find a remarkably spacious back seat for a small crossover. You could put a couple six-footers back there without a second thought. [MUSIC PLAYING] Moving to the front compartment, the Sportage's dashboard has a modern look and it's canted toward the driver with logically arrayed and easy-to-use controls-- not much to complain about here. The fuel economy numbers might give you pause, but otherwise, the bottom line is that Kia's got a winner with the new Sportage. The good news for you is that this segment is full of appealing options, including the all new Honda CRV, the Mazda CX-5, and the Toyota RAV4. But don't sleep on the Sportage-- it's got a lot going for it. For more Edmunds expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]
The Sportage is the model that put Kia on the map for American consumers back in the mid-'90s, pairing Mazda-sourced mechanicals with appealing trucklet styling that called to mind the contemporaneous Isuzu Trooper. Fun fact: That original Sportage actually rode on a rear-wheel-drive platform, with four-wheel drive offered as an option. The Sportage subsequently switched to car-based, front-wheel-drive underpinnings, but every new model has been better than the last. The fully redesigned 2017 Sportage is no exception, and this latest overhaul took care of at least two of our complaints about the previous generation — the cramped backseat (which is now downright roomy) and the flinty ride (which is newly nice and smooth).
The 2017 Kia Sportage offers a choice of two four-cylinder engines. The base 2.4-liter lump has 181 horsepower, while the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four cranks it up to 240 hp. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard either way. Fuel economy isn't that great, with the 2.4-liter engine topping out at an EPA-estimated 29 mpg on the highway and the turbo-four dropping to 26 mpg highway. That's with front-wheel drive, mind you; those numbers sink if you opt for all-wheel drive. Happily, both engines are smooth and quiet, but as you'd expect, the turbo is more fun.
Even with AWD, the Sportage isn't an ideal off-roader. In Kia's words, it's a vehicle that was "conceived for urban adventures." Still, AWD offers that extra margin of safety and sure-footedness, especially in bad weather. You'll just have to weigh the significance of that fuel-economy trade-off.
Outside, the new Sportage is quite handsome from the back and in profile, although the tall, flat nose and high-mounted headlights may provoke unwelcome flashbacks to the Subaru B9 Tribeca. Inside, the new Sportage receives upgrades with luxury-class undertones, especially at the top of the model range. But materials quality is quite nice even in the base Sportage, and the cabin stays respectably quiet at speed. The optional 7- or 8-inch touchscreen is easy to use and offers full smartphone connectivity.
The 31 cubic feet of storage space in the rear is more than the outgoing model had but is less than some competitors offer. The second-row seatbacks fold down, of course, if you need additional room.
The new Sportage is decidedly a step up from its predecessor, and we think it's nice enough to merit close consideration from fans of other brands. Let Edmunds help you figure out which version of the 2017 Kia Sportage is right for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.