Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the all-new 2017 Sportage at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The fourth-generation Sportage, KMA’s longest-running nameplate, wraps stunning contemporary design around a structure that is both stiffer and more spacious than before.
“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 by providing an alternative for those seeking to express themselves with a vehicle that’s versatile enough to suit their unique 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 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.
Fortunately, this front will be only for AWD models
Aggressive, Inspired Design
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.
Modern and Refined Interior
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 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 center 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 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 1.6-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.
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.
A Strong Foundation
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. As a result of its stronger core, Sportage engineers are targeting the compact CUV to earn an overall five-star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rating and an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ designation.
The 2017 will be available with a wide range of driver assistance features including:
Refined and Spirited Performance
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 natural 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, while both AWD and FWD models now benefit from a dual lower-arm multi-link setup. The SX Turbo has been uniquely tuned with firmer shock absorbers to deliver sharper handling befitting its athletic personality.
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 T-GDi 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.
Advanced Telematics, Audio and Entertainment
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 (late availability), and UVO eServices featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps such as Pandora and Soundhound and Wi-Fi tethering capability, all free of charge. The SX Turbo features all of the above, plus an 8-inch touchscreen and onboard navigation.
All Sportages come standard with a 160-watt six-speaker audio system, and a powerful 320-watt Harmon Kardon premium audio system is available, featuring eight speakers including subwoofer, an external amplifier, and Clari-Fi music restoration technology for unrivalled audio quality.