Kia hits the sweet spot with fourth-generation compact crossover

Kia recently rolled out the fourth-generation Sportage compact utility vehicle — which also happens to be the Korean automaker’s longest running nameplate in America.

To end the suspense, the 2017 Kia Sportage is an absolutely exceptional vehicle by combining performance, comfort, and yes, luxury into a model that’s also practical to own.

With a base price starting at $22,990, the 2017 Sportage is available in front- or all-wheel drive configurations. Not only does it provide roomy, comfortable seating for five passengers, it also provides a lot of versatility — whether it be the need to carry cargo items from the home improvement store or head off with the family down the less traveled trail for a weekend outing.

Completely redesigned inside and out for the 2017 model year, Kia has found the sweet spot in the fastest growing segments in the industry.

The Sportage is easy to drive in urban environments, yet it’s also an ideal vehicle to take on a long road trip — even if that trip doesn’t include roads.

And, it is very, very nicely equipped. I would even describe the Sportage SX Turbo model that I evaluated this week as luxurious.

The Sportage is available in three trim levels — LX, EX and SX Turbo.

Sportage LX and EX models are powered by a 2.4-liter I-4 engine delivering 181 horsepower and 175 lbs.-ft. torque. Using regular unleaded gasoline, front-wheel drive models have an EPA fuel economy rating of 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, while all-wheel drive models have an EPA of 21 mpg, 25 mpg respectively.

For those wanting more performance, the Sportage SX Turbo is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine delivering 240 horsepower and 260 lbs.-ft. torque. Also requiring regular unleaded gasoline, Sportage SX Turbo front-wheel drive models have an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, while all-wheel drive models have an EPA rating of 20 mpg, 23 mpg respectively.

When it comes to safety, the Sportage is loaded with a number of standard safety features, as well as the availability of a number of driver assistance features such as:

• Forward collision warning system and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection

• Lane departure warning system

• Blind spot detection with lane change assist

• Rear cross traffic alert

• Front and rear parking assist, and

• Bi-HID headlights with dynamic bending light and high beam assist technology.

As I stated earlier, the 2017 Kia Sportage is an absolutely excellent vehicle — and it can even tow a trailer weighing up to 2,000 pounds.

For those in the market for a compact crossover, the Sportage is a must for the test drive list.


Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.