Test Drive Results 2017 Kia Sportage

Donned the family crossover, the 2017 Kia Sportage SUV was the most efficient one from in the model. Of course had it been a hybrid, plugin hybrid or electric would have been more MPG. I look forward to those days. Until then, it's still the most efficient SUV on the lot from the brand. Starting at $23,200, this SUV has a new fin looking like Porsche Cayenne and an interior for the cost quite impressive.

The front end of this vehicle did get a second glance for its newer front end shows Kia Motors is here to say. The new Sportage has elongated headlights sweep back gracefully into the body, perched above a distinctive wide grille and available quad LED fog lights that invite adventure.

The fully-loaded $32,500 Sportage SX Turbo has a rated MPG of 21 city / 26 highway, with an ECO MODE. Of course as the Green Living Guy I go ECO. This SUV had a strong but standard with a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that gave 29 highway and 26 in the City. The SX Turbo also included larger front brakes, and sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, satin exterior trim, dual exhaust pipes, front and rear metal-look skid plates, unique grille design, bi-Xenon HID headlights (why Not LED?!) with Dynamic Bending Light (DBL), “ice cube” LED fog lights, LED tail lights, 4.2-inch color LCD instrument cluster, gloss black interior trim, metal pedals, D-shaped steering wheel, paddle shifters, metal scuff plates, authentic dashboard stitching, and a choice of five expressive interior colors.

“In 2015, the final year of production for the outgoing Sportage model, sales were up 25 percent, which speaks to the appeal and staying power of that vehicle, and with our aggressive pricing strategy for the all-new 2017 model, we’re looking to continue that momentum,” said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer and EVP, KMA. “In a segment that’s primarily known for utility, we see the Sportage as a very compelling offer to those looking for stand-out design, intelligent packaging and engaging driving dynamics.”

All New, Inside and Out

Kia’s president and chief design officer, Peter Schreyer commented that the 2017 Sportage’s exterior juxtaposes smooth curves with sharp creases. It's got a lower, wider front – enlarged to provide greater engine cooling, plus it adds visual volume to the lower half of the Sportage’s face. This created a tougher look with 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.

“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 color touchscreen, which is canted 7.2 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 center console has been angled to face the driver.”

However, as Car and Driver added:

Secretly quick cars are fun, but the outgoing Sportage SX had its share of shortcomings outside of its rowdy engine. The suspension was downright harsh, the interior simply was there, and it returned middling fuel economy. For the latest SX, the sportiest Sportage in the lineup, Kia retained the hot-rod-in-disguise aspect while improving nearly everything else. The crossover’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine pushes 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft (that’s a 59-hp and 85 lb-ft bump over the base model’s naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four) shot our front-drive SX to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds and on to an electronically governed 135 mph. Those numbers best everything in the compact-crossover melee excepting the Subaru Forester 2.0XT, which comes only in all-wheel-drive form.

The problem with lowper MPG without even a hybrid drive was summed up by Automotive Magazine. Unfortunately, the extra size (and the increased level of equipment on board) has pushed weight up considerably on all trim levels, with curb weights now ranging from 3,305 pounds to a beefy 3,996 pounds depending on options. This weight gain comes even though Kia has dramatically increased the use of high-strength steels from 18 to 55 percent. It’s also disappointing when nearly every other new car, from the Chevrolet Cruze up to the Audi Q7, has lost weight when it was redesigned.

Better luck next time is all I can say. If I were to get a version it would be the LX because at least it gets 30 MPG rated in highway. Yet, when I do plan on buying a car it's now going to wow me alone on looks and tech. MPG is the name of the game folks. Please understand or continue to kid yourself.

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