Published on January 31st, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
2017 Kia Sportage Revealed in the US
Kia Motors unveiled the all-new 2017 Sportage at the Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this month. The fourth-generation Sportage, one of Kia’s longest-running nameplates, wraps stunning contemporary design around a structure that is both stiffer and more spacious than before. 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.
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 will be built at Kia’s production facility in Gwangju, Korea, and be available in three distinct trim levels (LX, EX, SX Turbo) when it goes on sale next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the Sportage’s on-sale date.
Designed 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 a planted and aggressive stance, though it keeps the same overall width, 73.0 inches, 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 Sportage signatures, while a longer, more aerodynamic spoiler and bolder wheel arches give the compact CUV a more dynamic appearance. Tasteful chrome touches surround the windows, giving the Sportage LX and EX a more upscale look, while the top-of-the-line SX Turbo model adds more visual interest with new “ice cube” LED fog lamps, HID headlamps, LED tail lights, satin exterior trim, metal-look skid plates, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
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 colour touchscreen, which is canted 10 degrees toward the driver. The lower half, or the “control” zone, features easily identifiable switchgear to operate the available dual-zone climate system, audio and secondary controls. Similar to the touchscreen, the centre console has been angled to face the driver.
Giving the Sportage a more premium feel is the availability of either a single-tone (black) or two-tone (Dark and Light Grey or Black and Beige) cabin, while metalwork elements blended with soft-touch materials contribute to a more upscale interior. 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 centre console, aluminium 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 front seat heaters, 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 hatch. This feeling of spaciousness is further enhanced with an available panoramic sunroof that is 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, with a coefficient of drag that’s been reduced from .37 cd to .35 cd.
The 2017 Sportage is offered in front or all-wheel-drive, both coupled with a six-speed Sportmatic transmission. The 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 better weight distribution. With 25 percent less friction than the previous unit, the 2017 Sportage offers smoother and more precise steering inputs and better feel.
Efficiency and driving performance were two major areas of focus when retuning the engines. The hard-charging 2.0-liter inline-four turbo found on the SX Turbo makes 241 horsepower 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.