Kia Sportage boasts so­phis­ti­cated de­sign, sig­nif­i­cant ride and han­dling im­prove­ments

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - Front Page -

The all-new 2017 Sportage, the fourth gen­er­a­tion of Kia Mo­tors Amer­ica’s long­est-run­ning name­plate, wraps a stun­ning and con­tem­po­rary de­sign around a struc­ture that is both stiffer and more spa­cious than ever 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.

“Sim­ply put, the Sportage is a breed apart in the com­pact CUV seg­ment,” said Orth Hedrick, vice pres­i­dent, prod­uct plan­ning KMA. “In­stead of bland util­ity, the Sportage com­bines dis­tinctly Euro­pean and sporty styling with thought­ful de­sign and func­tion­al­ity, in­clud­ing in­no­va­tive pack­ag­ing, premium ma­te­ri­als, a tur­bocharged en­gine and sur­pris­ing fea­tures. Sales of com­pact CUVs are on a sharply up­ward tra­jec­tory, and the all-new 2017 Sportage hits the sweet spot with ex­pres­sive, dis­tinc­tive styling and enough ver­sa­til­ity to han­dle even the most mul­ti­fac­eted ac­tive lifestyle.”

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 is built at Kia’s pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity in Gwangju, Korea, and is avail­able in three dis­tinct trim lev­els (LX, EX, SX Turbo).


Con­ceived 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 more ag­gres­sive coun­te­nance de­spite the same 73-inch over­all width 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 sig­na­ture Sportage de­sign el­e­ments, while a longer, more aero­dy­namic spoiler and bolder wheel arches give the com­pact CUV a more dy­namic ap­pear­ance. Taste­ful chrome trim sur­rounds the win­dows, giv­ing both the Sportage LX and EX a more up­scale look, while the top-of-the-line SX Turbo model adds new “ice cube” LED fog lamps, HID head­lamps, LED tail lights, satin exterior trim, metal-look skid plates, metal trans­verse trim, 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 in­for- ma­tion to oc­cu­pants via the in­stru­ment panel and new color touch­screen, which is canted 7.2 de­grees to­ward the driver. The lower half, or “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.

Giv­ing the Sportage a more premium feel is the avail­abil­ity of five ex­pres­sive in­te­rior col­ors in­te­grated with met­al­work and soft-touch ma­te­ri­als. 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 cen­ter con­sole, alu­minum 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 1.6inch 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 heated and ven­ti­lated front seats, 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 the hatch. This feel­ing of spa­cious­ness is fur­ther en­hanced with an avail­able panoramic sun­roof with an open­ing 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 than its pre­de­ces­sor, with a co­ef­fi­cient of drag that’s been re­duced from .35 to .33.


The struc­ture of the all-new Sportage is sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved due to the ex­ten­sive use of Ad­vanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). With 51 per­cent of the Sportage’s body-in-white con­sist­ing of AHSS ver­sus the out­go­ing model’s 18 per­cent, tor­sional rigid­ity has im­proved 39 per­cent. Fur­ther­more, the in­creased use of ad­vanced hot-stamped steel im­proves body in­tegrity. The ma­te­rial has been used to re­in­force the A-, B- and C-pil­lars, side sills, roof struc­ture, and wheel arches, while over a football field’s length of struc­tural ad­he­sive re­in­forces the body and quells NVH. As a re­sult of its stronger core, Sportage en­gi­neers are tar­get­ing the com­pact CUV to earn an five-star over­all Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NHTSA) rat­ing and an In­sur­ance In­sti­tute of High­way Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ des­ig­na­tion.

The 2017 Sportage will be avail­able with a wide range of driver as­sis­tance fea­tures1 in­clud­ing:

• For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing Sys­tem (FCWS) and Au­ton­o­mous Emer­gency Brak­ing (AEB) with Pedes­trian De­tec­tion, which can de­tect a po­ten­tial col­li­sion with another ve­hi­cle or pedes­trian and help bring the Sportage to a halt

• Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing Sys­tem (LDWS), which emits an au­di­ble alert when it de­tects the driver stray­ing from the cur­rent lane with­out us­ing a turn sig­nal

• Blind Spot De­tec­tion (BSD) with Lane Change As­sist (LCA), which can mon­i­tor cars up to 230 feet be­hind the Sportage and pro­vide the driver with a vis­ual warn­ing in the door mir­ror when another car en­ters the blind spot

• Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert (RCTA), which can warn the driver if other cars pass be­hind the Sportage while in re­verse

• Front & Rear Park­ing As­sist, which uses sonar sen­sors in­te­grated in the bumpers to warn the driver when near­ing other ve­hi­cles or ob­jects

• Bi-HID head­lights with Dy­namic Bend­ing Light (DBL) and High Beam As­sist (HBA) tech­nol­ogy


The com­pletely re­designed fully in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion achieves a leap for­ward in ride qual­ity. A four-point bush­ing setup de­liv­ers greater sta­bil­ity and a more pre­dictable re­sponse to chang­ing road sur­faces, while stiffer wheel bear­ings and bush­ings re­sult in more pre­cise han­dling. The fully in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion now adopts a dual-mem­ber shock ab­sorber hous­ing, and both AWD and FWD models now ben­e­fit from a dual lower-arm mul­ti­link setup. The SX Turbo has been uniquely tuned with firmer shocks to de­liver sharper han­dling be­fit­ting its ath­letic per­son­al­ity.

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. 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 smoother steer­ing in­puts. With a 32-bit ECU (ver­sus the 16-bit unit of its pre­de­ces­sor) and 25 per­cent less fric­tion than the pre- vi­ous sys­tem, the 2017 Sportage of­fers a more pre­cise steer­ing re­sponse and bet­ter feel.

Ef­fi­ciency and driv­ing per­for­mance were two ma­jor ar­eas of fo­cus when re­tun­ing the GDI engines. The hard-charg­ing 2.0-liter in­line-four turbo found on the FWD SX Turbo makes 240 horse­power (237 on AWD models) 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.


The all-new Sportage fea­tures a num­ber of new and ad­vanced on-board tech­nolo­gies to el­e­vate the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and keep driv­ers con­nected. The LX comes equipped with a stan­dard 5.0-inch color touch­screen that fea­tures Blue­tooth hands-free phone op­er­a­tion and stream­ing au­dio, Sir­iusXM satel­lite ra­dio, and rear-cam­era dis­play.

A move up to the EX brings a 7-inch ca­pac­i­tive touch­screen with the lat­est ver­sion of Kia’s award-win­ning telematics and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, UVO, which is mak­ing its de­but on the all-new Sportage. Com­plete with An­droid Auto, Ap­ple CarPlay, and UVO eSer­vices fea­tur­ing 14 telematics ser­vices, the en­hanced sys­tem fea­tures up to 8 GB of mu­sic stor­age and ac­cess to Pan­dora, though the touch screen. SoundHound is ac­ces­si­ble through a por­ta­ble Wi-Fi hotspot. The SX Turbo fea­tures all of the above, plus an 8-inch ca­pac­i­tive touch­screen and on­board nav­i­ga­tion.

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


Kia Mo­tors Amer­ica (KMA) is the mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion arm of Kia Mo­tors Cor­po­ra­tion

based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA proudly serves as the “Of­fi­cial Au­to­mo­tive Part­ner” of the NBA and LPGA and set an all-time an­nual sales record in 2015, sur­pass­ing the 600,000 unit mark for the first time in com­pany his­tory. KMA of­fers a com­plete line of ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the rear-drive K900 flag­ship sedan, Cadenza premium sedan, Sorento CUV, Soul ur­ban pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle, Soul Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle,

Sportage com­pact CUV, Op­tima mid­size sedan, Op­tima Hy­brid, the Forte com­pact sedan, Forte5 and Forte Koup, Rio and Rio 5-door sub­com­pacts and the Se­dona mini­van, through a net­work of more than 765 deal­ers across the United States. Kia’s U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in West Point, Ga., builds the Op­tima and Sorento and is re­spon­si­ble for the cre­ation of more than 15,000 plant and sup­plier jobs.

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