I recently had the chance, sorry, I mean the pleasure of tooling around town in the 2017 Kia Sportage. This fourth generation Sportage comes in three trim levels EX, LX, and SX. The one I enjoyed was the Sportage with the SX trim level and boy was it sweet. The Sportage is in the same competitive class of compact SUV as the Toyota Rav4, Honda CRV, and Nissan Rogue, to name a few, and it does quite well in holding its own against the perrenial segment leaders.
Kia has made many improvements over the past few years and now boasts a family of vehicles whose level of quality is right up there with Japanese made cars. From the interior to the exterior to what's under the hood, there certainly is a lot to like.
As soon as you look at the front of this new Sportage you can't help but notice the impressive head lighting system. Xenon HID headlights, LED fog lights and Directionally Adaptive lights, which basically means that the car can almost help the driver see around corners, highlight the nose of the Sportage. Walk around to get a look at the car from the side and you'll appreciate the beauty of the 19" alloy wheels which helps with the sleek, sporty look of the vehicle. I've seen reviews where people have praised the bold look of the front of the vehicle and others who have said some unflattering things but I'm in the corner of those who love the design of the exterior.
The Kia Sportage also has a magic power lift gate. Ok, it's not magic, but it is pretty cool. You can program your Kia to sense when you're standing behind the vehicle and automatically open the rear tail gate. This feature is extremely useful for those times that your hands are full, and you just don't want to stand there balancing on one food while waving the other foot under the vehicle. This feature was included on my test vehicle so when the lift gate opened on its own I had to jump back. I actually thought there was some sort of glitch in the system but after a quick Google search, I'm happy to report the system works just fine!
The cabin itself is very spacious with upscale leather seats and a dash that feels quite rich to the touch compared to the 'plasticy' feel of other cars. The EX and SX comes with a 10 way power adjustable driver's seat, while the LX comes with a 6 way adjustable driver's seat. The seats were quite comfortable, providing plenty of back and thigh support and would be perfect for those long road trips.
I fear leather seats during the hot summer months. There have been times when I was wearing shorts and I jumped into a car with leather seats and basically suffered third degree burns on the back of my thighs so when I saw that the Kia Sportage came with seat coolers I was blown away! This is a feature you'd typically find in a luxury vehicle but the fact that Kia now includes them in many of their vehicles scores another point for Kia. The seat coolers are cooling systems built into the front seats that blows air through the seat back and bottom to keep the driver and their passenger cool.
Another feature that I quite liked was the Kia’s new UVO3 infotainment system. The SX has an 8" touch screen and it supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system is quick, very responsive to the touch and easy to use. The rest of the centre console was also very nicely laid out. Below the infotainment system there were different rows of buttons. One was row was dedicated to the the infotainment system, another was for temperature controls, the third row was for the seat warmers and coolers, and finally, charging ports.
As I mentioned earlier the Sportage has a very spacious cabin, and with the panaromic sunroof it feels even bigger. Passengers in the rear won’t be cramped either. Even with the front seats pushed all the way back they won't have their knees pressed into their chests. Cargo space is nothing to laugh at, you get 868L with the rear seats up, but fold the seats flat and you get 1,703L, almost double the volume!
Getting into the Sportage you can find yourself asking ‘What good are all these bells and whistles if a car can't offer some sort of decent crash protection?’. No need to worry, The Sportage has earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick and comes with a slew of safety features such as a standard back up camera, front and side airbags, Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Front and Rear Parking Assist , Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Downhill Brake Control and many others.
The Sportage SX was not only a whole lot of fun to drive, it was also very quiet. I don't know how much sound insulation the engineers at Kia put into this car but there was not a lot of road, or, wind noise in the cabin while on the highway. Very comfortable seats that made sitting in traffic not so unbearable and impressive shock absorption that didn't jar you out of your seat when you hit those famous Toronto potholes just added to the fun driving experience.
My Modern Bronze, (yes that's the name of this colour), Sportage was a beast on the road. There were times when I stepped on the gas and was shocked how fast this car took off, but with a 2.0L, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces a healthy 237 horsepower I shouldn't have been surprised. This pick up and go power was perfect for quick passing and it handled beautifully.
Kia is out to win the hearts of the people who typically gravitate towards the traditional manufacturers and, in my opinion, they're slowly but surely getting some of those customers. Prices range from a touch below $25,000 for the entry level LX model, to less than $40,000 for the fully equipped Turbo SX model. Typically I see more mid level model Honda's and Toyotas on the road than the top of the line ones and I expect that this will be the case for Kia based on the prices for the EX model.
The 2017 Kia Sportage boasts a fantastic combination of safety, technology, build quality and one that stood out in a parking lot. This car has opened my eyes to the quality of Kia vehicles and I can't wait to play with another one.
Enjoy the full gallery below: