Kia wants to make a statement with this new Sportage – it’s like a rebel in a vanilla category

Sparkling Hill Resort is a jewel that sits high above Okanagan Lake, just outside of Vernon.

The entire resort is bejeweled with sparkling Swarovski crystals, from the chandeliers, to the furniture; even the people working there have a glow about them thanks to the world famous spa. Kia held its Canadian launch of the all-new 2017 Sportage at this signature location.

There are some parallels to be made here, as Kia wants this new compact crossover to stand out in a crowded market, even the look of the Kia Sportage has a certain jewel like quality, especially the top SX turbo model, thanks to quad LED driving lights embedded into the lower, front spoiler.

Looks

Over the past year, the compact crossovers category has overtaken the compact sedan segment to be the largest in Canada. Just like the sedan market, this small utility space has become rather homogenized. Kia wants to be noticed and the Sportage has a look that helps it stand out.

The front has a tip of the hat to the Porsche Cayenne. Not bad company. All models get alloy wheels and they range in size from 17 to 19-inches on the top turbo model. There are two different front bumpers, a front wheel drive (FWD) version with a lower spoiler and the all wheel drive (AWD) version with a more, off-road ready front design. There are halogen or LED headlamps, plus halogen or LED driving lights. The turbo also bets a dual exhaust system with a sportier exhaust note.
Inside

Putting a touch of sport in the Sportage was a goal and the dashboard reflects this. Most centre consoles are flat with a screen in the centre with easy access for both the driver and passenger.

Kia turns the centre radio, heat and screen towards the driver, giving a slight cockpit design. The cabin has more leg and seat room, plus the cargo area has been adapted to provide a wider rear opening and flatter rear floor for ease of use.

The Sportage can be equipped with as many comfort and convenience features as the budget will allow. It starts with standard heated front seats. The buyer can opt for heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and larger 8-inch navigation screen with Android Auto integration, wireless cellphone charging, plus a massive panoramic sunroof, power real tailgate and more.

Apple Car Play will be introduced at a later time and it will be reverse compatible, meaning the owner can have it installed at the dealer once it is released for the Sportage.
Drive

Kia has a compelling engine and transmission story, plus a good handling chassis and suspension setup. The base engine is a powerful 2.4L unit with a solid 181hp. This can be ordered with FWD or AWD and the power goes through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The top SX model gets many added features starting with a whopping 237hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine and 260lb.-ft. of torque. After driving both across the hills outside of the resort I can easily recommend the base 2.4L engine, it did everything with ease.

The turbo is a statement model; it goes like stink but isn’t necessary for daily use.

Kia keeps the latest advanced safety features to the top model and they include forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane departure wanting and more.

 

Verdict

The Sportage starts at $24,795 for a base FWD model. The first AWD model starts at $26,995 and the EX-Tech will be a solid choice for many buyers who want a power tailgate, larger 8-inch navigation screen, cooled front seats and heated rear seats. This model isn’t cheap at $36,995. The top SX trim is $39,395 but gets the turbo engine and advanced safety features.

One thing that is invaluable is the new handling, ride and refinement of the chassis and suspension on all models. This new Sportage is a contender for any buyer that places secure handling and feedback as a priority. Kia wants to make a statement with this new Sportage; it’s like a rebel in a vanilla category. It has a bold design, as many features as the buyer chooses and power to spare. It isn’t the cheapest in this competitive class but it certainly stands out.

zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

 

The Lowdown

Power: 2.4L 4-cylinder with 181hp or 2.0L turbo with 237hp
Fill-up: 11.3L/9.5L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $24,795-$39,395

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