The all-new 2017 Sportage, the fourth generation of Kia Motors America’s longest-running nameplate, wraps a stunning and contemporary design around a structure that is both stiffer and more spacious than ever before. But how does it handle off-road? That’s where I come in!
Advanced driver assistance technologies, significant suspension and steering improvements, and available intelligent AWD vastly improve the Sportage’s driving dynamics while premium materials and world-class craftsmanship create a class-up experience in an otherwise utilitarian segment.
“Simply put, the Sportage is a breed apart in the compact CUV segment,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “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.”
The all-new Sportage’s roomier, more luxurious cabin features an impressive level of craftsmanship, with high-quality, soft-touch materials and a range of technologies improving overall comfort, convenience, and connectivity. Updates to the drivetrain provide enhanced efficiency and performance, while changes to the suspension deliver better ride and handling. Like the outgoing model, the all-new Sportage is built at Kia’s production facility in Gwangju, Korea, and is available in three distinct trim levels (LX, EX, SX Turbo).
Aggressive, Inspired Design
Conceived under the direction of Kia’s president and chief design officer, Peter Schreyer, the 2017 Sportage’s exterior juxtaposes smooth curves with sharp creases. Although every body panel is new, the “face” of the new Sportage features the most significant change over the outgoing model. Kia’s hallmark “tiger-nose” grille resides vertically in the front fascia while the headlights are positioned higher, sweeping back along the outer edges of the sharply detailed hood. A lower, wider front clip – enlarged to provide greater engine cooling – adds visual volume to the lower half of the Sportage’s face, resulting in more aggressive countenance despite the same 73-inch overall width as its predecessor. The wheelbase has been stretched 1.2 inches (now 105.1 inches), while overall length has increased 1.6 inches to 176.4 inches.
Despite its increased dimensions, the all-new Sportage remains instantly recognizable thanks to its sloping roofline and sharply raked rear window. Short overhangs and wheels pushed to the corners continue to be signature Sportage design elements, while a longer, more aerodynamic spoiler and bolder wheel arches give the compact CUV a more dynamic appearance. Tasteful chrome trim surrounds the windows, giving both the Sportage LX and EX a more upscale look, while the top-of-the-line SX Turbo model adds new “ice cube” LED fog lamps, HID headlamps, LED tail lights, satin exterior trim, metal-look skid plates, metal transverse trim, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Modern and Refined Interior
Inside, the new Sportage’s driver-oriented cockpit features a simple and modern design with clean horizontal lines emphasizing a more spacious interior. The lateral design of the dashboard divides it into two clear zones. The upper “display” zone delivers information to occupants via the instrument panel and new color touchscreen, which is canted 7.2 degrees toward the driver. The lower half, or “control” zone, features easily identifiable switchgear to operate the available dual-zone climate system, audio and secondary controls. Similar to the touchscreen, the center console has been angled to face the driver.
Giving the Sportage a more premium feel is the availability of five expressive interior colors integrated with metalwork and soft-touch materials. The EX and SX Turbo models add sumptuous leather upholstery, and the SX Turbo includes a D-shaped, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, piano black trim along the center console, aluminum alloy pedals, and authentic stitching on the dashboard.
As a result of the increased exterior dimensions and clever packaging, interior dimensions have grown, offering more space and comfort. Headroom has increased 0.2 inches to 39.3 inches in the front and 0.6 inches to 39.1 in the rear, while legroom has increased slightly in front and 0.3 inches in the rear to 38.2. The second row has a 1.6-inch lower interior floor (ground clearance is unchanged at 6.4 inches for front-drive models and 6.8 inches on AWD) and 1.2-inch lower rear bench hip point, benefitting second-row passengers with more headroom (up more than a half inch) and a more comfortable seating position. Offering even more comfort are options such as three-level heated and ventilated front seats, 10-way power control with lumbar support for the driver’s seat, and eight-way power control for the passenger seat.
Just as passenger space has increased, so has cargo room. Thanks to an innovative dual-level cargo floor and a widened luggage area, cargo capacity behind the second row has grown substantially from 26.1 cu.-ft. to 30.7 cu.-ft. (SAE). By relocating the license plate from the bumper to the tailgate, the lift-over height has been lowered for easier loading and unloading. A Smart Power Liftgate™, which automatically opens when the key fob is within three feet of the vehicle, is also available.
Outward visibility has been improved by mounting the side mirrors lower on the doors, using thinner A- and C-pillars and incorporating larger rear glass in the hatch. This feeling of spaciousness is further enhanced with an available panoramic sunroof with an opening 4.1 inches longer than the outgoing model’s.
Kia engineers reduced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) through the application of a quad-bushing setup in the rear suspension to isolate road noise and additional sound-absorbent materials throughout the Sportage’s wheel arches. Wind noise also is reduced as a result of thicker front side glass, a lip seal for the panoramic sunroof, and additional soundproofing in the doors. The 2017 Sportage is also more aerodynamic than its predecessor, with a coefficient of drag that’s been reduced from .35 to .33.
A Strong Foundation
The structure of the all-new Sportage is significantly improved due to the extensive use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). With 51 percent of the Sportage’s body-in-white consisting of AHSS versus the outgoing model’s 18 percent, torsional rigidity has improved 39 percent. Furthermore, the increased use of advanced hot-stamped steel improves body integrity. The material has been used to reinforce the A-, B- and C-pillars, side sills, roof structure, and wheel arches, while over a football field’s length of structural adhesive reinforces the body and quells NVH. As a result of its stronger core, Sportage engineers are targeting the compact CUV to earn an five-star overall National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rating and an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ designation.
The 2017 Sportage will be available with a wide range of driver assistance features1 including:
Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, which can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the Sportage to a halt
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which emits an audible alert when it detects the driver straying from the current lane without using a turn signal
Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Lane Change Assist (LCA), which can monitor cars up to 230 feet behind the Sportage and provide the driver with a visual warning in the door mirror when another car enters the blind spot
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which can warn the driver if other cars pass behind the Sportage while in reverse
Front & Rear Parking Assist, which uses sonar sensors integrated in the bumpers to warn the driver when nearing other vehicles or objects
Bi-HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) and High Beam Assist (HBA) technology
Refined and Spirited Performance
The completely redesigned fully independent front suspension achieves a leap forward in ride quality. A four-point bushing setup delivers greater stability and a more predictable response to changing road surfaces, while stiffer wheel bearings and bushings result in more precise handling. The fully independent rear suspension now adopts a dual-member shock absorber housing, and both AWD and FWD models now benefit from a dual lower-arm multi-link setup. The SX Turbo has been uniquely tuned with firmer shocks to deliver sharper handling befitting its athletic personality.
Both FWD and AWD variants are coupled with an updated six-speed Sportmatic transmission. The Magna Dynamax™ intelligent AWD system is available on every trim and features a 50/50 locking center differential. The system senses, anticipates, and optimizes traction requirements for all road and weather conditions. AWD models feature a unique front fascia with a steeper approach angle for increased capability.
Steering is another area of improvement, as engineers mounted the steering box farther forward on the axle for smoother steering inputs. With a 32-bit ECU (versus the 16-bit unit of its predecessor) and 25 percent less friction than the previous system, the 2017 Sportage offers a more precise steering response and better feel.
Efficiency and driving performance were two major areas of focus when retuning the GDI engines. The hard-charging 2.0-liter inline-four turbo found on the FWD SX Turbo makes 240 horsepower (237 on AWD models) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and has been retuned to target improved fuel efficiency and offer better midrange torque. The LX and EX use a normally aspirated 2.4-liter engine that produces 181 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque and is also retuned to target better fuel efficiency.
Advanced Telematics, Audio and Entertainment
The all-new Sportage features a number of new and advanced on-board technologies2 to elevate the driving experience and keep drivers connected. The LX comes equipped with a standard 5.0-inch color touchscreen that features Bluetooth®3 hands-free phone operation and streaming audio, SiriusXM®4 satellite radio, and rear-camera display1. A move up to the EX brings a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with the latest version of Kia’s award-winning telematics and infotainment system, UVO3, which is making its debut on the all-new Sportage. Complete with Android Auto5, Apple6 CarPlay® (April availability), and UVO eServices7 featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage and access to Pandora®8, though the touch screen. SoundHound is accessible through a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. The SX Turbo features all of the above, plus an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen and onboard navigation.
All Sportages come standard with a 160-watt six-speaker audio system. A powerful 320-watt Harman Kardon® premium audio system is also available and features eight speakers including subwoofer, an external amplifier, and Clari-FiTM9 music restoration technology for unrivalled audio quality.
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