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First Drive: 2017 Kia Sportage




Kia recently brought us out to San Diego for their 2017 Sportage Ride-N-Drive event, where we got to put the all-new 2017 Kia Sportage through its paces as we drove throughout San Diego and the surrounding areas.

It’s hard to believe, but the Sportage has been sold in the United States since 1994, back when Kia first came to the US. The original car was inexpensive, bland and rather forgettable. But over the years, the CUV has morphed into the stylish, sophisticated vehicle that we see here today.


As you can see, the 2017 Sportage is quite a departure from the car it replaces. Looking to stand apart from the rest of the boring compact crossovers on the market, Kia’s designers gave the new Sportage a stunning, contemporary design that is certain to turn more than a few heads on the streets.

But the Sportage’s beauty isn’t just skin deep. The all-new Sportage’s roomier, more luxurious cabin features an impressive level of craftsmanship, with high-quality, soft-touch materials and a wide range of technologies improving overall comfort, convenience, and connectivity. Updates to the drivetrain provide more efficiency and performance, while changes to the suspension deliver better ride and handling.


The 2017 Sportage proved to be a pleasant and satisfying driver, with a compliant setup that easily absorbed freeway expansion joints and truck ruts, while staying nice and flat in the corners. They’ve also improved the steering response, with good weighting tuned into the wheel.

The Sportage SX that we drove is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that puts out 240HP and 260lb-ft of torque, which is more power than you’ll find in most cars in this segment. The Sportage isn’t jaw-dropping quick, but it’s got plenty of passing power, and it can still get you into trouble if you’re not careful.


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. If you live in an area that gets bad weather, AWD should be a no-brainer.

Kia has loaded the new Sportage with technology as well, elevating the driving experience and keep drivers connected. The SX features an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with the latest version of Kia’s award-winning telematics and infotainment system, UVO3, which makes its debut on the all-new Sportage. Complete with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and UVO eServices, the enhanced system features up to 8GB of music storage and access to Pandora. Navigation is also included, but CarPlay is so good that you don’t really need it.


All Sportages come standard with a 160-watt six-speaker audio system. A powerful 320-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system is optional and features eight speakers including subwoofer, an external amplifier, and Clari-FiTM9 music restoration technology for unrivalled audio quality.

Advanced safety technology features on the new Sportage include forward-collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection (which brings the vehicle to a complete stop if a front collision is deemed imminent), lane departure warning (which triggers an audible warning if you veer out of your lane), blind spot detection (which provides a visual warning on your side mirror if a vehicle is in your blind spot), and rear cross traffic alert (which is really handy when backing out of parking spots and driveways).


Pricing for the 2017 Kia Sportage starts at just $22,990 for an LX (FWD), while the range-topping SX (AWD) comes in at a hefty $34,000. So regardless of your budget, there’s a Sportage that’s just right for you.

Overall, we were really impressed with the 2017 Kia Sportage. It’s a sporty CUV that checks off all the boxes, and it’s sure to steal some customers from the competition. If you’re in the market for a compact crossover, you should definitely head over to your local Kia dealership and check out the new Sportage for yourself!

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, the definitive men's lifestyle blog, and he's one of the biggest car enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

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