Saturday, April 2, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage SX: A Premium-Class Mainstream Crossover



Highlight: Later this year, this will become the first Kia to offer Android Auto, Apple Car Play, 14 telematic services and 8 GB of music storage, all free of charge.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $33,395 (base model $23,885)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; electronic stability control system; traction control; hill start assist control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system; automatic headlights; rearview camera; and a tire mobility kit

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 17-inch wheels; air condition; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; cloth seats; manually operated front seats; cargo net hooks; steering wheel mounted audio controls; rear privacy glass; a 5-inch infotainment screen; and electric power steering 


Standard Equipment (SX): 19-inch wheels; 2.0-liter turbo/240-hp; an 8-inch infotainment screen; additional USB ports; an automatic rearview dimming mirror; an 8-speaker, 320-watt Harman Kardon audio system; a dual zone automatic climate control system; keyless door access; a push button ignition starter system; a power tailgate; a forward collision braking system; an electronic blind spot detection system; front and rear parking assist sensors; a lane departure warning system; paddle shifters; a pedestrian detection braking system; a rear traffic cross alert system; bi-Xenon headlights with dynamic bending lights; a compact spare tire; dual exhaust system; heated outside mirrors; LED foglights; LED taillights; LED turn signals; a panoramic sunroof; power folding outside mirrors; roof rails; windshield wiper de-icer; a flat bottom steering wheel; heated/ventilated front seats; a heated steering wheel; an illuminated sunvisor mirror; leather seats; a power driver’s seat; a leather wrapped steering wheel; LED interior lightning; and a sport-tuned suspension system

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: None!


Other Trim Level:

LXEX

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 160-watt, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
                                                                                                  
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/181-hp




Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

22-city/29-hwy




What’s New: Along with the brand’s new turbo engine, the second-generation Sportage has been reworked both inside and out, giving the vehicle more of a near luxury experience.

Why: This compact crossover is available in a front wheel drive or an all wheel drive configuration, with two powertrains, including the all-new 2.0-liter turbo. While we were already big fans of the outgoing model, Kia’s design team has literally pushed this vehicle into the premium class range. The overall fit and finish of the Sportage, with its array of trims and features, sets this well-equipped vehicle apart from many of its competitors.

With this year’s redesign, the stylish, road-ready (near luxury) compact crossover offers 19-inch wheels along with the latest high tech safety features. Those safety features consist of everything from a pedestrian detection collision system to a lane departure warning system. These extra autonomous-like safety features pushes the price tag of the higher end SX trim up $2,500 from a comparable 2016 model.

Added to the safety components, the interior layout of the instrument panel of the Sportage follows the interior theme of other Kias. Like that of the flagship Kia and a number of Hyundai models, the infotainment system in the Sportage is relatively easy to use, no owner’s manual is needed. Also Kia’s interior design team has infused a number of soft touch points throughout the vehicle, literally eliminated the hard plastics usually found around the door and on top of the instrument panel. Yes, the folks at Kia left no stones unturned.

Moreover, with an all-new suspension system, the ride quality of the 2017 Sportage bar none is one of the best in the segments. This vehicle just feels like it should be wearing a Mercedes-Benz name badge!

But: Unfortunately, the awkward looking tiger-themed signature grille, which is the face of the brand, doesn’t quite gel with the overall look and theme of this sporty looking crossover. Some critics believe it looks like it could be a member of the Porsche family. However, we beg to differ.

Moreover, in order to get all of the extras, from the oversized sunroof to the autonomous driving features one has to step up to the pricier SX model.

And our final concern is that the higher end SX trim, which includes all of the bells and whistles, lacks a radar-activated cruise control system. Yes, the vehicle has almost every other feature, so why is this must-have component missing from the package?



Verdict: While pricing of the base model 2017 Sportage is about $750 more than the outgoing model, it’s still worth every penny the Korean automaker is asking. Unlike previous Kias, this one is priced in the middle of the pack, when compared to the competition. Kia is no longer yearning to be the price leader. They’re earning the right to ask for more due to the overall fit and finish as well as the overall perceived build quality of this vehicle.

So, besides this being one of two 2017 models currently available for purchase in the highly competitive compact crossover segment, the Sportage seems to set the bar. For those who aren’t really feeling the controversial fascia, they could opt to hold out until the brand’s sibling, the 2017 Hyundai Tuscon, rolls in with its Kia-shared platform changes. And like its Hyundai sibling, the vehicle has a segment leading new-car warranty, too!

Competition: 2017 Hyundai Tuscon; 2017 Ford Escape; 2016 Chevy Equinox; 2016 GMC Terrain; 2016 Honda HR-V; 2016 Nissan Rogue; 2016 Jeep Renegade; 2016 Toyota RAV4; and 2016 VW Tiguan

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