Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage

The all-new 2017 Kia Sportage enters its fourth generation with a major redesign that puts a little less emphasis on sport and a lot more emphasis on quality and comfort. Not to mention an intriguing new face.

When the Sportage made its debut, the compact crossover SUV field was thinly populated. Thats not the case today. The segment is chock-a-block, with over a dozen entries, all with virtues. Getting a new vehicle to stand out from the crowd is a challenge.

Whats the right recipe? Uninhibited styling? Athletic dynamics? Leader-of-the-pack performance? The previous generation projected a sporty image, fortifying it with a lively turbo engine option and suspension tuning that some judged to be a little too stiff.

The 2017 Sportage takes a different approach, emphasizing elements that almost always pay off in the showroom: quality interior furnishings, plenty of room, creamy ride, quiet operation, safety features in step with the times, and a good value story.

In addition to moving suspension tuning toward the comfort side of the ledger, Kia has dialed back on power. Displacement of the two engine choices is unchanged: a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter and a turbocharged 2.0-liter. Both engines are direct-injection four-cylinders, and both have received engineering attention to enhance efficiency.

At 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, output of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is about the same as that of the 2016 version. However, the turbos ratings drop from 260 hp and 269 lb-ft to 240 and 260, respectively. Both engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

All-wheel drive is optional, front-wheel drive is standard. The all-wheel drive uses a new Magna system that anticipates road irregularities.

Kia cites an impressive 39 percent improvement in structural rigidity. But the Sportage has gained substantially at the scales, with curb weights running up to the two-ton frontier for the line-topping SX Turbo with all-wheel drive.

EPA fuel economy ratings range from 23/30 mpg City/Highway for the basic front-drive Sportage LX to 20/23 mpg for Sportage SX AWD turbo.

Safety features include forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking; lane departure warning (which emits a particularly irritating beep but lacks lane-keeping); blind spot detection; and rear cross traffic alert.


2016 Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is the most visually compelling compact crossover in a jam-packed category. Sleeker in appearance than most compact SUVs, Sportage stands apart from the crowd because of its tidy proportions, eager stance, and fashionably rakish profile. Focusing on practical efficiency, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 dominate this category; but Kias entrant emits a livelier attitude.

Countering its visual flair, Sportage suffers from a comparatively small interior, which translates to tight legroom in the back seat. Sportage is smaller than some of its competitors, though it scores major points when judged by the fit and finish of its cabin.

Ride quality falls short, too, and Sportage can get expensive as you move up the trim-level scale. Sportage isnt recommended for off-roading, though available all-wheel drive does include a differential lock that provides a 50/50 split, at up to 25 mph.

Changes are minor for 2016, aiming to simplify the lineup. The 2016 Kia Sportage EX gains leather-trimmed seating surfaces and pushbutton start. Contents of LX Popular and EX Premium packages have been revised for 2016.

Two four-cylinder engines are available. Sportage LX and EX get a 2.4-liter direct-injected engine, rated 182 horsepower in the LX and 180 hp in EX. Each drives a 6-speed automatic transmission. In the sporty and markedly swifter Sportage SX, a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine makes 260 horsepower, and its transmission includes shift paddles for improved responses.

By todays standards, fuel economy is so-so. With the base engine and front-wheel drive, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates 21/28 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined. The turbocharged Sportage SX gets an estimate of 19/26 mpg City/Highway. All-wheel drive drops the figures to 19/26 mpg with the regular 2.4-liter engine, or 19/25 mpg with the turbo. Several rivals return better than 30 mpg in highway driving.

Crash-test scores trail prominent rivals, and Sportage has few modern high-tech safety features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the front-wheel-drive Sportage a four-star overall rating, while the all-wheel-drive version scored five stars. In the small overlap frontal crash test performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Sportage ranked Poor, which is poor. Hill-start assist and downhill brake assist are standard equipment.


2014 Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage is a sporty crossover utility vehicle, conveniently sized and well-executed in almost every way. The Sportage coaxes both ample performance and decent fuel economy from a choice of two moderately sized engines. Unlike some competitors in this class, which tend to look alike, the Kia Sportage glories in its distinctive appearance, helped by a high beltline, pronounced rear pillars and prominent wheel flares.

For 2014, Kia has enhanced its standard 2.4-liter engine, adding direct injection and boosting horsepower from 176 to 182 horsepower. Wheels and the grille have been redesigned, and high-intensity-discharge headlights have been added to the options. LED rear taillights are installed, and EX models get new fog lamps. Newly available features for 2014 also include Infinity premium audio, rear ventilation, a ventilated passenger seat, and UVO eServices that work with a free smartphone app. All 2014 Sportage models have a tilt/telescopic steering wheel. A new navigation system is available, compatible with UVO eServices. On the dashboard is a new 4.2-inch LCD screen.

All 2014 Sportage models have high-performance dampers. Kia has dropped the previous base model and the manual transmission; all 2014 Sportage models have a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Three trim levels and two engines are offered. The 2014 Kia Sportage LX and EX with the standard 182-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine earn an EPA City/Highway rating of 19/26 mpg with all-wheel drive (AWD). Front-wheel-drive 2014 Sportage models achieve an even better 21/28 mpg rating. Aiding fuel efficiency is a relatively lean curb weight, though Sportage isn't quite as light as it used to be.

The Sportage SX, with its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, benefits from 260 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The 2014 Sportage SX gets a respectable 20/26 mpg City/Highway rating from the EPA with front-wheel drive, and 19/24 mpg with AWD.

We've found that the standard 2.4-liter engine delivers its power smoothly and mostly in a linear manner, with only an occasional, slight surge after an upshift in the automatic as the electronics adjust to the changing load. Those gear changes are clean, if not remarkably sharp, with ready downshifts for overtaking or merging.

The steering feels heavier in the AWD version but is reasonably responsive in both, with good directional stability. All-wheel drive comes with a limited locking feature for low-speed use in adverse conditions.

Power folding mirrors and sunvisor extenders come on all 2014 Sportage models. LED accent lights are mounted on Sportage LX and Sportage EX models; the 2014 Sportage SX has LED daytime running lights.

Sportage styling looks fresh and sharp from every angle. Character lines are crisp but subdued, contrasting nicely with the overall rounded look. Blackened lower trim panels imply good ground clearance, while keeping the tires visually in proper proportion to the body.

We found the interior accommodations comfortable, though the Sportage lacks the interior roominess of its competitors: mainly, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester. The front seats offer good support. Leather-trimmed seats and front-seat ventilation are available.

An AM/FM/CD six-speaker stereo with SiriusXM radio and USB/auxiliary input jacks comes standard, with Infinity premium audio included on EX and SX models. An optional navigation system with a touch screen includes Sirius Traffic. A rearview camera is available, which is an excellent safety feature. Sportage EX and SX get dual-zone, automatic climate control.

Cargo capacity is a generous 26.1 cubic feet behind the second seat, but a less-impressive 54.6 cubic feet with the second seat folded. Translation: It's handier for hauling people than large amounts of cargo.


2013 Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is a sporty crossover utility vehicle, conveniently sized and well-executed in almost every way. The Sportage coaxes both ample performance and decent fuel economy from a choice of two moderately sized engines.

The 2013 Kia Sportage with the standard 176-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine earns an EPA City/Highway rating of 20/27 mpg with automatic and all-wheel drive (AWD); front-wheel-drive 2013 Sportage models achieve an even better 21/30 mpg rating. Aiding fuel efficiency is a relatively lean curb weight of 3200-3400 pounds.

The Sportage SX, with its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, delivers the power and torque we'd expect from a V6: 260 horsepower and 296 pound-feet, respectively. The 2013 Sportage SX gets a respectable 21/28 mpg EPA City/Highway rating with front-wheel drive and 20/25 mpg with AWD.

We found the standard 2.4-liter engine delivers its power smoothly and mostly in a linear manner, with only an occasional, slight surge after an upshift in the automatic as the electronics adjust to the changing load. Those gear changes are clean, if not remarkably sharp, with ready downshifts for overtaking or merging.

The steering feels heavier in the AWD version but is reasonably responsive in both, with good directional stability. All-wheel drive comes with a limited locking feature for low-speed use in adverse conditions.

The 2013 Kia Sportage is changed only slightly from last year. 2013 Sportage models can be distinguished by revised Kia badges. Power folding mirrors and sun visor extenders come on all 2013 Sportage models. LED accent lights come on 2013 Sportage LX and 2013 Sportage EX models; the 2013 Sportage SX gets LED daytime running lights. The 2013 Sportage EX is available with a new blue interior package. Sportage was redesigned for the 2011 model year. Some interior features were added for 2012.

The styling looks fresh and sharp from every angle. Character lines are crisp but subdued, contrasting nicely with the overall rounded look. Blackened lower trim panels imply good ground clearance while keeping the tires visually in proper proportion to the body.

We found the interior accommodations comfortable, though the Sportage lacks the interior roominess of its competitors, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester. The front seats offer good support. Leather-trimmed seats and an air-cooled driver's seat is available. An AM/FM/CD/MP3 six-speaker stereo with SiriusXM radio comes standard, with a subwoofer and external amplifier optional. An optional navigation system with a touch screen includes a rearview camera, an excellent safety feature. Sportage EX and SX get dual-zone, automatic climate control.

Cargo capacity is a generous 26.1 cubic feet behind the second seat but a less-impressive 54.6 cubic feet with the second seat folded. Translation: It's handier for hauling people than large amounts of cargo.

 

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