The Sportage is Kia’s compact crossover and is completely redesigned for the 2017 model year. It was already a strong contender in this category and with the updates, it should be on your test drive list if you’re shopping for an affordable, compact SUV.
The five-passenger Sportage is available in LX, EX and SX Turbo. Starting prices range from $22,900 to $34,000. Front-wheel-drive is standard. All-wheel-drive is available for $1,500.
The Sportage gets more room for passengers and cargo for 2017 and costs less than many compact SUVs. It also has many available technology and safety features so you can get the Sportage that fits into your budget and lifestyle. The one major negative is its fuel efficiency is worse than most competitors.
The standard engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Critics say it could use more power, especially for driving at highway speeds. My tester has the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. It provides enough pep for daily driving. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic that shifts smoothly and accurately. While the Mazda CX-5 offers more nimble performance, the Sportage can be fun to drive on twisty back roads. Steering is sharp and there’s little lean when cornering. Overall, the ride is pretty smooth and quiet.
EPA mileage estimates for my turbo model are 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23 mpg. I got 24 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The Sportage is not suitable for off-roading and has limited towing capacity at 2,000 pounds, enough to pull a small trailer or little boat.
The interior looks like something you’d find in a higher priced vehicle. Materials are of high quality with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. The dashboard is well laid out with controls that are easy to reach and use.
There’s lots of space, especially considering the small size of the vehicle. The front seats boast good leg-and headroom even for taller passengers. And there’s even plenty of room for adults in the second row in the reclining rear seats. The A and C pillars are skinnier so passengers can see out easily, and the optional huge panoramic sunroof brings plenty of light into the cabin.
Standard features include a rearview camera and a 5-inch touch-screen infotainment system with six speakers, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Even the base model comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The touchscreen is user-friendly. It was easy to pair my phone. Voice commands worked well to make calls and enter addresses.
Options include heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a panoramic sunroof, a 7-inch touch screen, an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a faster-charging USB port, navigation, HD Radio, a Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, automatic pre-collision braking, and a hands-free power liftgate.
The Sportage has 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space with both rows of seating in place. That’s a little more than average for the class. There are 60.1 cubes with the second row folded, which is less than many competitors. One plus: the cargo floor lifts providing a spot to stash items and keep them out of sight, or give you a little extra space to fit larger items in the cargo area. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold flat, giving you flexibility in hauling humans and stuff. You can get the optional hands-free power liftgate which raises the back automatically when you stand back there for a few seconds with the key fob.
Kia and Hyundai offer some of the best warranties. The Sportage is covered with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty.
My tester starts at $32,500. Destination fee is $895 bringing the grand total to $33,395.
The redesigned Kia Sportage offers peppy handling with the larger engine, a pleasant and spacious interior, good safety ratings and excellent warranties, all packed into a compact crossover.
The good news for consumers is there are many competent compact crossovers available including the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue. If great fuel efficiency is most important to you, the Kia Sportage won’t be your first choice. Otherwise, it stacks up well against the competition, so it will boil down to which vehicle and which features are right for you.