2017 Kia Sportage

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$23,200–$34,200 MSRP range
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Key Specs

of the 2017 Kia Sportage. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Performance with the turbocharged engine
  • Accurate steering with good feedback
  • Backseat is comfortable for adults
  • Available enormous moonroof
  • Center console ergonomics
  • UVO eServices free for 10 years

The Bad

  • Exterior styling is stubby
  • Adaptive cruise control not offered
  • Price of SX Turbo is high for this class
  • Collision avoidance not offered on on base trim
  • Hesitant acceleration from a standstill with AWD
  • Less cargo room than segment leaders

Notable Features of the 2017 Kia Sportage

  • Completely redesigned for 2017
  • Two four-cylinder engine options
  • Available active safety features
  • Seats five
  • New all-wheel-drive system available
  • Android Auto available (Apple CarPlay in June/July)

2017 Kia Sportage Road Test

Brian Wong

The verdict: Kia’s updates to the redesigned 2017 Sportage touch every part of the compact SUV and leave it much improved.

Versus the competition: The Sportage now is among the top contenders in its class, and to me is the best all-around vehicle of the bunch, combining a (dare I say) fun driving experience, plenty of cargo room and a comfortable interior.

The 2017 Kia Sportage went under the knife for a thorough redesign and emerges primed to take a spot among the most elite compact SUVs. The Sportage is Kia’s longest-running nameplate. This marks its fourth generation — and the best by a landslide. See the differences between the 2017 and 2016 versions of the Sportage here.

Compact SUVs are a big battleground for automakers, with high sales figures and lots of choices for consumers. The Sportage competes against mainstays including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. Compare the updated Sportage against those models here.

There are three Kia Sportage trim levels: LX, EX and SX Turbo. The Kia Sportage LX and EX feature the base four-cylinder engine, while the SX Turbo gets a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder. I spent some time with both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the SX Turbo to see how Kia’s updates shake out on the road.

Exterior and Styling

The exterior styling has changed all around, but most drastically up front where bulbous headlight clusters flank a version of Kia’s “tiger nose” grille. ...

The verdict: Kia’s updates to the redesigned 2017 Sportage touch every part of the compact SUV and leave it much improved.

Versus the competition: The Sportage now is among the top contenders in its class, and to me is the best all-around vehicle of the bunch, combining a (dare I say) fun driving experience, plenty of cargo room and a comfortable interior.

The 2017 Kia Sportage went under the knife for a thorough redesign and emerges primed to take a spot among the most elite compact SUVs. The Sportage is Kia’s longest-running nameplate. This marks its fourth generation — and the best by a landslide. See the differences between the 2017 and 2016 versions of the Sportage here.

Compact SUVs are a big battleground for automakers, with high sales figures and lots of choices for consumers. The Sportage competes against mainstays including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. Compare the updated Sportage against those models here.

There are three Kia Sportage trim levels: LX, EX and SX Turbo. The Kia Sportage LX and EX feature the base four-cylinder engine, while the SX Turbo gets a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder. I spent some time with both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the SX Turbo to see how Kia’s updates shake out on the road.

Exterior and Styling

The exterior styling has changed all around, but most drastically up front where bulbous headlight clusters flank a version of Kia’s “tiger nose” grille. Although the new Sportage actually is longer by 1.6 inches, the changes do make it appear squatter than the previous model. The added stubbiness is not my favorite look, but take a look at our photos and decide for yourself.

There are plenty of standard exterior features, such as LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. EX models add 18-inch alloys, roof rails, foglights and heated side mirrors.

The SX Turbo trim I tested gets the most elaborate exterior styling, with 19-inch alloy wheels, a gloss-black finish on the grille, dual exhaust pipes and metal-finished front and rear skid plates that peek out under each bumper. It also features LED fog lights, bi-xenon headlights that swivel in the direction of a turn and LED taillights.

How It Drives

The 2017 new Kia Sportage has two engine options, both carrying over from last year. The base engine, found in LX and EX models, is a 181-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Our SX Turbo test vehicle came with a more exciting option under the hood: a 240-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (237 hp in all-wheel-drive models). Both engines come only with a six-speed automatic transmission and take regular gas. The turbocharged engine is actually down about 20 horsepower, but it is more fuel-efficient compared with last year’s model. During driving however, I didn’t miss the extra power at all — the Sportage with the turbo is still properly quick.

Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on all three trim levels for $1,500. The AWD includes a 50/50 locking differential that sends equal power to the front and rear axles, as well as torque vectoring, which can move the power to the left or right wheels, whichever have  more traction. To test this, I put both of the passenger-side tires off the road onto gravel with only the two driver-side tires on pavement and then performed a hard launch. The Sportage pulled away quickly with impressive smoothness — there was no detectable wheel slip and no hesitation.

Interestingly, I found the front-wheel-drive version to be the more engaging of the two; the all-wheel-drive version seems to lag a bit when it comes to initial acceleration, but once it gets going it can really scoot as well.

Of course, none of this would really matter if the rest of the 2017 Kia Sportage weren’t sorted well — but thankfully it is. Our editors didn’t like the 2016 model’s steering, but Kia says the suspension and steering were updated with new parts and better tuning. It seems to have worked because I found the steering to be properly tuned and precise at all speeds. The ride was comfortable on straight highway stretches, but offered enough feedback in the bends to give the driver confidence.

Compared with last year’s model, fuel economy figures have improved slightly in some cases and stayed the same in others. The LX gets an estimated 23/30/26 mpg city/highway/combined with FWD and 21/25/22 mpg with AWD. The EX is rated at 22/29/25 mpg with FWD and 21/25/23 mpg with AWD. Lastly, the SX Turbo is estimated at 21/26/23 mpg (FWD) and 20/23/21 mpg (AWD).

Those figures represent a 1-mpg increase in combined mileage ratings for front-wheel-drive models from the 2016 model.

The new all-wheel-drive system lowers highway fuel economy on each trim level but boosts city mpg to give each trim a combined mpg rating that matches last year’s all-wheel-drive models — except for the EX, which increases by 1 mpg combined.

Interior

The SX Turbo trim I tested is on the pricier side of the compact SUV segment, but I also found the materials quality matched the added cost. The front seats are very comfortable, with soft leather and slight bolstering; after a full day of driving I didn’t feel fatigued.

Outward visibility with the old model was a sticking point among our editors, but it has been improved, thanks to thinner A- and C-pillars and more glass all around. Speaking of glass, a massive panoramic moonroof is available, and it was my favorite part of the whole interior. It is 4.1 inches longer than the previous model’s and really opens up the cabin nicely.

The backseat is very roomy, especially in headroom. The interior floor for the second row has dropped by 1.6 inches, and the rear-seat height also was lowered so there is a lot of space between head and ceiling, even with the optional moonroof installed.

Standard features include Bluetooth connectivity (both phone and audio) and a USB port up front. The EX adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a rear USB charge port, push-button start, heated seats and leather upholstery. Jump up to the SX Turbo and the features list lengthens even more, adding standard ventilated front seats, Harman Kardon sound system, navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a heated, flat-bottom steering wheel.

Ergonomics and Electronics

Kia has made a habit of aiming the center control panel toward the driver slightly and the Sportage is no exception. Its center panel is canted by 7.2 degrees to the driver’s side, which makes controls easier to reach, even those on the far right of the screen.

Each of the Kia Sportage’s three trim levels offers a different standard screen. The LX has the smallest, a 5-inch touchscreen, while the EX gets a larger 7-inch touchscreen. The EX also adds standard UVO3, the latest version of Kia’s infotainment system, and UVO eServices telematics. This system will include Android Auto at launch, while Apple CarPlay will be available starting in June/July, Kia says. For owners who bought a 2017 Sportage before that, Kia confirmed that the system can be updated to add CarPlay, either at a dealership or possibly via a flash drive. Upgrading to the multimedia system with navigation (standard on the SX Turbo) bumps you up to an 8-inch touch-screen.

I like the approach Kia has taken with its eServices functions: They are subscription-free for 10 years. The system with a 7-inch screen includes 911 Assist, enhanced roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics, parking location assist, and curfew and speed limit alerts that let parents keep tabs on young drivers. The upgraded system with navigation adds geo-fence (location) alerts and Google Local searches, which can locate points of interest on the screen like a Google Maps search.

Cargo and Storage

There are two added features for the cargo area for 2017: a “smart” power liftgate and a dual-level cargo floor. The power liftgate (standard on SX Turbo, optional on EX) now automatically opens if you stand behind the rear bumper with the key fob for more than three seconds, no kicking required. The dual-level cargo floor can lower the floor to open up more cargo room. Lift up the floor panel, slide it forward, then back and it will settle into a new position about 3 inches lower. I don’t see any particular reason that you would leave the panel in the higher position, unless you wanted the load floor to be perfectly level with the folded backseat.

The 2017 Kia Sportage has 30.7 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, which expands to 60.1 cubic feet with the 60/40-split bench folded down (both figures are with the cargo floor lowered). The rear license plate has been moved to the liftgate instead of the bumper, which Kia says drops the lift-over height for easier loading of cargo.

Compared with the rest of the segment, the Kia Sportage does lag on cargo volume. The CR-V offers 37.2/70.9 cubic feet of storage and the RAV4 even more at 38.4/73.4 cubic feet.

Safety

The redesign also expands the list of available safety technology on the 2017 Sportage, including blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure, and front and rear parking sensors. A forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking also is new; it works at virtually all speeds — from zero to 112 mph, according to Kia — and comes with pedestrian detection as well. These new features are unavailable on LX, optional on EX and standard on the SX Turbo.

A backup camera has been added as standard equipment.

The 2017 Kia Sportage earned the highest possible scores in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crashworthiness and crash avoidance ratings. It is in good company, though: Five other models were rated the same, including the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. A few more share the crash results but had lower-performing crash-avoidance options or lacked them entirely.

As of this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had not tested the 2017 version of the Sportage.

Click here for a full list of safety features.

Value in Its Class

When I first read the Kia Sportage’s price tag, I was taken aback. Even if it’s a stellar compact SUV, it’s an expensive vehicle in SX Turbo form — base price starting at $33,395 (including destination). Want all-wheel-drive? Add another $1,500 to the price and you reach $34,895, which encroaches on midsize SUV territory.

However, if you look at the body-type competition, the Sportage is much more competitively priced than it would seem. If you are looking for the new available safety features mentioned earlier, they can be added to the midlevel EX as a part of the Premium and Technology packages, which bumps the starting price up to $31,095. When I tried building competitors with similar criteria (front-wheel-drive, leather upholstery, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and built-in navigation), I was unable to beat that price. The CR-V offers the advanced safety features only on the Touring trim level, which starts at $32,995. The RAV4 with these features checks in at $33,180  (but also includes a bird’s-eye-view camera), and even the Mazda CX-5 is a lofty $32,125. Only the Forester is analogous at $31,790 with all-wheel-drive standard as well, but the Sportage is a better drive.

For those looking for something a bit more cost-efficient, there is the Kia Sportage LX. Outfitted with the Popular and Cool & Connected packages, which add heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and the upgraded infotainment system with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay among other features, the LX settles in at $25,885 and is probably the one I’d choose.

Kia’s substantial powertrain warranty is also noteworthy, offering 10 years/100,000 miles of coverage.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.


2017 Sportage Video

Kia’s updates to the redesigned 2017 Sportage touch every part of the compact SUV and leave it much improved.

Latest 2017 Sportage Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

What Drivers Are Saying

(2.0)

Disappointed...

by Disappointed lady on August 17, 2018

I previously owned a 2013 Kia Sportage and I LOVED IT, but sadly was involved in an accident and had to get a new car. I purchased the 2017 Sportage thinking I would be just as happy. I have had ... Read full review

(5.0)

I am in love with my New Kia Sportage.

by DivinaPR from CASSELBERRY, FLORIDA on August 10, 2018

I love the feel, it runs quiet and smooth. I am still getting used to everything, from Bluethoot system, the radio, learning about all the details. Love the color, the interiro is spacious. I love the ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Kia Sportage currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Kia Sportage LX

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Kia

Program Benefits

164-point inspection, Carfax vehicle history report, 10-year/unlimited mileage 24-hour roadside assistance including trip-interruption services and lockout assistance

  • Limited Warranty

    10 years / 100,000 miles

    10-year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty; towing/rental/travel breakdown benefits; eligible for additional comprehensive mechanical failure. Comprehensive: 12 months/12,000 miles from date of purchase.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 164 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sportage received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker