The Kia Sportage has long been a value leader in the compact crossover segment, and its design has been steadily improving. With a bold redesign in 2017, Kia looks to take its small people hauler to a new level of awesomeness. So, is it an over-styled flop or a fresh take on an already-successful model?

Pricing and Equipment

As a leader in value, the Kia Sportage checks in with a relatively low price of entry considering its standard features. In its base trim level, the LX, the Sportage checks in at just $23,885 (delivery fees included) and comes with:

  • Seventeen-inch wheels
  • LED running lights
  • Auto headlights
  • Five-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker sound system

Buyers looking for a little something extra will find two additional trim levels: EX ($26,395) and SX Turbo ($33,395). The aforementioned prices are for front-wheel-drive models; all-wheel-drive runs an additional $1,500 across the board.

Performance Pros

BMW 640

With an optional 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, we found the Sportage plenty quick and more refined than ever before.

  • Up to 240 horsepower from turbo four-cylinder delivers plenty of pop for its class
  • Even the 2.4-liter non-turbo delivers a respectable 181 horsepower
  • Advanced all-wheel drive predicts wheel slip for ideal traction

Performance Cons

Though Kia tuned its transmissions and engines for fuel economy, the Sportage still struggles to deliver in this area. We also found that the transmission wasn’t ideal on hilly terrain.

  • Base model is okay at 30 mpg highway, but turbo engine falls short at 26 mpg highway
  • Transmission had issues with hunting for the right gear on hills

Interior Pros

BMW 640

The interior design is a nice contrast to the bold exterior styling since Kia toned things down a bit inside. We also found the cabin roomier than the body’s dimensions led us to believe.

  • Plenty of legroom and headroom in the front and rear
  • The cargo area is ample at a maximum of 30.7 cubes and a low liftover height
  • Loads of features for its price, making it a superior value in its class
  • Plenty of premium options to choose from

Interior Cons

Finding faults inside the 2017 Sportage was tough for us, but we did feel that the rear seats were a little tight in terms of width.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Kia has been working hard on its interior quality, and it hit the nail on the head inside the Sportage. There are plenty of premium features, soft touchpoints, and stylish angles to keep most buyers pleased, plus there are tons of high-end options for more discerning buyers. Kia really created a crossover for the masses in the 2017 Sportage.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Fuel economy is a sore spot for the Sportage as it tops out at just 26 mpg combined. Making matters worse is the 22 mpg combined rating of the 2.4-liter-equipped model with all-wheel drive. While this is not awful relative to its main competitors, there is no thrifty option like the RAV4 and Crosstrek offer with their hybrid models, and the Hyundai Tucson’s Eco trim.

The Bottom Line

The Kia Sportage is an excellent choice for buyers looking for the best bang for their buck without concern for fuel economy. However, those with long commutes will find they are using a lot more fuel than expected in a small crossover like the 2017 Sportage.